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RONB-ESQ
RONB-ESQ, Lawyer
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 357
Experience:  Right of Way Manager at Access Midstream Partners, LP
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Ron, I was a witness to an accident where I saw a man

Customer Question

Hi Ron, I was a witness to an accident where I saw a man pulling out of Plaid Pantry driveway, the cars that were in the right lane had yielded so he could drive out (it was at an intersection), he looked both ways several times and cautiously pulled out, I witnessed another vehicle crossing the lane into the clear lane, not paying attention, he was looking down so I saw the back of his head, he was going fast for that intersection and he smashed into the car pulling out. The car pulling out was totaled and the guy who hit him turns out he was in a company car and worked for Travelers Insurance company. The guy who was hit, filed a claim since he had just bought the car a day before and it was now totaled. I told him I could be a witness. The insurance company called me on Friday and I returned their call today. The guy I talked to was rude, said it was the guys fault pulling out, said I could not prove the guy was going fast but it was clear since it was an employee and company car that they were not handling the claim like they would any other one. Basically, they said get an attorney. I told them that I was just a witness and why were they arguing with me especially since they hadn't even investigated anything, they didn't see the vehicle, they didn't see the intersection, they were rude to me, the only witness who clearly saw EVERYTHING. The guy refused to give me his name and told me to contact the guy who was hit. So rude. I feel bad for the young guy since he has no car now and the insurance company is not going to replace it, his car is totaled. This happened in Oregon. Does the guy who was hit, have any rights to sue the guy for replacement of his car since he has a witness that the other driver was not paying attention and went into the other lane and 2) could the guy also sue the Travelors Insurance company for mismanagement of a legitimate claim?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Traffic Law
Expert:  RONB-ESQ replied 1 year ago.

Hello my name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney. I welcome you to JustAnswer. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. The question and response may be viewed by other parties as noted in JA’s terms of service. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

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You should be able to view my answer just below this response as we continue….

I don't know if I am the Ron you are looking for but I feel comfortable answering your question.

Expert:  RONB-ESQ replied 1 year ago.

I am sorry you got caught up in dealing with the insurance company when it does not sound like they wanted to do much of an investigation anyway? If the driver of the vehicle that was pulling out has insurance then he will likely want to make a claim with them. I understand that typically we want to avoid claims when they are not our fault so we don't get increases. In this case that is probably where he needs to start. At that point his insurance would likely investigate and if they find it to be the other driver's fault they would make demand on his insurance to pay or they may file suit on behalf of driver that pulled out against the Travelers insurance employee.

In the event the driver that pulled out does not have insurance then yes he could file suit to recover for all damages he suffered. He would likely name the driver and his company in the lawsuit.

You need to note that if the driver that pulled out makes a claim against his own insurance then he should probably leave any lawsuit in the hands of his insurance company. If his insurance pays and he sues he can't recover double damages, by that I mean that if his insurance pays then he can't recover that amount from the Travelers employee. His insurance could seek to recover reimbursement if they believe the Travelers employee was at fault and after making demand the Travelers insurance company does not reimburse them for all expenses.

As a witness you can be of most help simply to provide your name and contact info to the driver that pulled out and in the event he has to file suit he may need you as a witness of the events.

Does that answer your question? It is my goal to provide excellent customer service and in return I would just ask that you give me positive feedback so I am compensated for the time I spend answering questions. Do note that even after providing feedback you are welcome to reply here with followup questions related to your original question for free. Do note that I am going to step away from my computer from about 3:00 PM CST until 8:00 PM CST but I will be happy to respond to any additional questions or clarification needed at that time.

Regards,

Ron

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Does this mean the guy who hit him is at fault? That's the confusing part because they say they are not since he pulled out of the driveway into the lane he was traveling and that's when he got hit. But, the part that is confusing is that the guy changed lanes since it was over 10 cars long, and was not paying attention, in doing so the guy pulling out of the driveway was hit as he was driving into the lane. The insurance company said, "you can't prove he was speeding" "nobody comes out of nowhere and the guy pulling out did not have the right of way". Can you provide me some case law or something when it comes to cars changing lanes or not paying attention ? The guy was going fast and there was a witness, me. I feel bad for the guy who was hit cause he just bought this used vehicle a day before, he even had the bill of sale in his car and he had not gotten his insurance yet or registration. Oregon law gives 30 days. He is a young guy and has kids.
Expert:  RONB-ESQ replied 1 year ago.

While I can't provide a legal opinion due to the terms off the website and the requirement to review each and every detail of the event I can provide some general information related to liability. It is true that a vehicle pulling out into traffic generally does not have the right of way and will generally be deemed as the at fault driver. With that said his liability is not absolute. By that I mean that if the moving vehicle (Traveler's) is speeding, changing lanes such that had he not changed lanes he would not have hit your friend and or negligently looking down not forward. These are all factors that could show that the negligence of (Travelers) was the proximate cause of the accident. You also mention that other car's had yielded to allow him to enter traffic. This again is another factor that could lead to a showing that (Travelers) negligence was the actual cause of the accident. Since you mention the driver did not have insurance yet it would be highly recommended that he contact an attorney immediately for a consultation. Most attorney's will provide a free 30 minute consultation to review the facts of the case along with potential legal claims.

Since this is a company vehicle it is more likely that an attorney will take the case and also that Travelers will pay versus just suing the average person that does not have insurance as an example. It is highly unlikely that anything done by the driver will not change the decision by the insurance company. It will likely take direct contact by an attorney and may require him to file suit before they will consider a different response. This is just based on my past experience in dealing with any insurance company.

I am sorry as this usually also means that there will be some time between making demand and actually getting payment. A local attorney could lay out those timelines better, but unfortunately its is not a quick process as it would be if the insurance just agreed to pay.

I don't know the costs involved, but most companies of this size self insure and by that I mean that for the first 1 Million dollars the company pays and then they probably have coverage that kicks in after reaching that amount. I say this just so you know that the company may ultimately be the one making the decision to settle the case. Most times this is better than having the insurance company decide everything as they would for you or I on most personal vehicle insurance. He will never know how the insurance is covered by the company until he files suit and his attorney makes a demand for records, etc as part of the lawsuit.

I am sorry that there is not a quick quote or him citing some case law that would make a difference. At this point I believe he needs to retain an attorney first to fully understand his rights and then if it makes sense then the attorney will know the best process for moving things forward.

Again I am sure this is not the answer you were wanting, but I have an obligation to provide the most accurate information to you as I can and though not an official legal opinion I am basing this answer on my past interaction with insurance companies. Typically I only spoke to clients like driver where the insurance failed to respond and basically they had given up and consulted wiith me and ended up with a settlement. Note I did not typically deal with auto wrecks as that is usually the personal injury guys on TV, but it is very similar for homeowners & commercial policies.

I wish you/him the best and do remember that even after rating my answer you are welcome to reply with additional questions related to your original question for free as long as needed.

Expert:  RONB-ESQ replied 12 months ago.

Hello again,

I wanted to check in with you and confirm that you did not have any further follow up questions for me from the answers I provided to you on the 8th. For some reason, the Experts are not always getting replies or ratings (at the top of the question/answer page you are viewing or in the pop up box for this question), which is how we get credit (paid by the Site) for our work, that the customer thinks have gone through. In your case I have not received a rating. If you are having technical difficulties with reading, replying or rating, please let me know so that I can inform the Site administrator. Please note that Site use works best while using a computer and using either Google Chrome or Firefox.

In any event, it was a pleasure assisting you and I would be glad to attempt to assist you further on this issue, or a new legal issue, if needed. You can go directly to my page for future questions by going here: http://www.justanswer.com/law/expert-ron-b/?rpt=3800

Regards, Ron