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This may not be the right law category as torn between traffic

and personal injury. Had...
This may not be the right law category as torn between traffic and personal injury. Had an auto accident on 4/17 for which the other driver was at fault (ran a 4-way stop sign at 40+ mph), resulting in me broadsiding her rear driver-side door. She was cited for Operating MV in Careless or Negligent Manner by the state trooper and noted that distracted by being inattentive as well as a witness who supported that. I had no citation and had No Contributing Action listed on the report. Where it becomes problematic is that she was not the owner of the vehicle and her insurance (Allstate) is different from the vehicle owner's (State Farm).

I live in FL, which of course being a no-fault state, the medical is responsibility of my insurance (Progressive) with her insurance picking up any excess - already have an attorney for that portion as did suffer injury, but not the issue prompting my question.

State Farm (vehicle owner's insurer) was supposed to be responsible for the damage to my vehicle (granted she had 600K+ on her, but had new engine and significant work 1 week prior to the tune of approximately $3,500, but accept that she will most likely be totaled due to the fact that her speed twisted the whole front unibody from right to left). My question is related to settlement regarding the vehicle damage.

I was informed today that State Farm will be denying the claim due to material misrepresentation on the part of the vehicle owner (although dragged their feet for 3 weeks stating couldn't reach their insured). Will admit that being told that now falls back to Allstate to cover the damage from my understanding (who initially made an offer before they knew that State Farm was vehicle owner's insurance), but won't do anything now until State Farm formally denies.

I've researched some case law around Florida's stance on material misrepresentation, but have not been able to find much that is definitive regarding third-party claims against what appears to be insurance that will be rescinded. I know some states protect third-parties against this as a claim defense, but am unsure if that's the case in FL? Also concerned about the rental car costs while waiting - should I just purchase a new vehicle at this point and just accept that there will probably not be any vehicle amount any time soon? At almost a month, rental is now significant.

Finally, am I facing possible litigation to recover fully? Concern there is that I'm due to move from FL to VA at end of June and would be fiscally difficult to return to FL on a regular basis. Really struggling with the fact that having done nothing wrong, I am now the one having to expend all my resources with no seeming recovery from the person responsible in sight (understand that's just a personal problem).
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5/11/2013
Fran-mod
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Hi, I'm a moderator for this topic. I've been working hard to find a professional to assist you right away, but sometimes finding the right professional can take a little longer than expected.

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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

That's fine if it takes more time - I expected it might be a difficult question to answer as I wasn't finding much in my research that dealt definitively with the issue.


 

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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Thanks for the continued attention, Wendy....appreciate it.

You're very welcome.
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Law Educator, Esq.
Category: Legal
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Experience: JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

Under FL law, the courts hold that material misrepresentation on an insurance policy renders the policy void from the inception (void ab initio as the court says). See: Progressive American Ins. Co. v. Papasodero, 587 So.2d 500 (Fla.App. 2 Dist., 1991). The courts were pretty clear saying this in case law. This means that it is a valid insurance defense in FL and that State Farm can deny the coverage and then it will be up to Allstate to provide coverage, as it was actually their insured who caused the accident.

At this point if you have rental coverage on your policy that is covering the rental you need to check with them, but it is likely to be a minimum of 30 more days for Allstate to reach a decision, so you would really want to consider it time to start looking for a new vehicle.

Allstate has a reputation of fighting most all injury claims, but they are generally quick on paying property damage claims, so as this was their insured who was driving it is likely that once you get the denial from State Farm it will take them less than 30 days on the damage to the property, but you need to be prepared to litigate any injury claims with them because they do take most all of them to trial.




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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Thank you. Confirms what I already suspected. My understanding from my insurer is that Allstate is only excess on the medical due to PIP.


 


I don't have rental coverage, but have been told that Allstate will most likely cover about 10 days of the rental and concur that time to go ahead and purchase new vehicle. Had somewhat anticipated this as have already decided on a vehicle, was just waiting for the State Farm side to be worked out before moving on it. Don't think it will take Allstate long as they initially had made an offer to total before State Farm became involved so a lot of that work should already be in their records.


 


Thank you again - sometimes there's a distinct downside to living in a 'business-friendly' state ;).

Thank you for your follow up.

Allstate does procrastinate many times, but usually not on property damage because the book value of your car and the value of the damage is pretty straight forward and it is on the medical and pain and suffering where they tend to fight.

It is time to go ahead and get your new car and move forward though.
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