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CalAttorney2
CalAttorney2, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  Civil litigation attorney for individuals and businesses.
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I have a question regarding a car accident that happened 2

Customer Question

I have a question regarding a car accident that happened 2 weeks ago. I am here in Los Angeles... I don't understand very well what is going on with the insurance and what I should do
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 10 months ago.
Dear Customer,I would recommend starting here: http://www.insurance.ca.gov/01-consumers/105-type/95-guides/01-auto/hadaccident.cfmIt is the California Department of Insurance website which walks you through what to expect following an accident.2 weeks following the accident is too early to have any substantial issues with your carrier (it is unlikely they have actually had time to process and/or reach a decision, let alone deny your claim), but the publication above will give you a good idea of what to expect, and what your remedies are in the event something like that were to happen. The vast majority of insurance claims are rather uneventful, and the carrier simply makes their investigation, and settles the claim.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
They actually sent me 2 emails tonight one of them saying that I am 51% liable and the second one says they are denying 15% of the other person claim because he was speeding.... even though he was using the antigridlock lane after hours. I dont know what to do... I have never been in an accident, besides my premium increasing what else can happen...
the other guy did not show a driver license, he showed an ID ... but apparently this is not relevant... If you are 51% what can happen? I am a single mother with 2 daughters...
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 10 months ago.
The insurance carrier's appraisal of liability is only their way of determining how much they are going to pay. It is not the same as a court determination of liability, and it is not the same as any finding of criminal liability (such as the other driver operating a vehicle without a valid driver's license - a CA ID is not a valid driver's license, and is issued in lieu of a Driver's license, so if that is what he showed you, he was an unlicensed driver, and was therefore breaking the law).You can appeal the insurance carrier's initial determination by filing an appeal with the carrier. Ask the insurance carrier for their appeal process, then follow it exactly (they will have a way to file a written appeal (do not rely on phone calls or informal emails), and make certain you file within the deadline (it will be a number of days, most give you 60 days, others will only give you 30). There are usually multiple levels of appeal.(Again, I do recommend reading the link I provided above all the way through, if you reach the end of the appeals process, you can ultimately file a claim with the Insurance Commission against the insurance carrier).You can also sue the other driver in court. Make sure you coordinate with the insurance carrier as there is an issue called "subrogation" that you have to deal with, and you may want to retain a local attorney, but if your insurance compensation is for less than the full value of your claim, you can consider suing to recover the balance.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
They did send me the Subrogation letter saying that they are not going to go after the other guy. I really dont want either... I am just concerned if he can sue me and what I can do... I have high coverage limits with my insurance and he doesnt know because I refused to disclosed those, I am just worried... is there any way I can protect myself... that is all I care
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 10 months ago.
There really isn't anything for you to do proactively to prevent him from making a claim (there is no procedure that allows you to stop a person from exercising their access to the courts).However, if all you are concerned about is an unlicensed driver trying to sue you for a vehicle accident, the chances of that actually happening are pretty small. By simply operating their vehicle on the roadway they are in violation of the California Vehicle Code, and this acts as a defense to any claim they may potentially try to make. Even if they were to try to get past that point (which your insurance is most likely going to be obligated to provide you with a defense on - most auto insurance policies cover "indemnity and defense" (meaning they both pay for the claim amount and pay for an attorney to represent you if you are sued), the other guy still would have to prove that it was your fault that the accident occurred (or at least a significant portion of it), and you would have an opportunity to show that they were responsible for it as well (in addition you could file what is called a "cross complaint" where you seek damages against him for your own property damage).So while it is not possible to prevent a civil suit, in the circumstances you identify, the chances of one happening are not very likely.

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