If a drunk driver who hit me is lying and saying I pulled in front of him and hit him, can the insurer deny my claim?

I was passing a disabled vehicle but I was all the way in the lane when the oncoming car hit me. The insurer says that I did not maintain a proper look out. The guy was drunk and on medication to combat nightmares. I overheard him telling the cop this as he got arrested. The police report has me as being a little over 3/4 in the lane but definately he hit me. Can the insurer really be this conflicted in their interests and get away with not doing their duty in paying my damages?

Asked on November 30, 2011 under Accident Law, Virginia

Answers:

L.P., Member, Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Thank you for submitting your question regarding your insurance company’s duty to fairly handle a claim for an auto accident.  After you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident and you have contacted your insurance company, a representative from your insurance company will begin investigating your claim.  Often determining liability of an accident is based off of all drivers’ statements and the likelihood that the accident occurred in the manner that the drivers are relating to the insurance company.  While you may have some concerns, it is in the best interest of the insurance company to defend their insured, because the insurance company does not want to lose money by paying out for claims where their insured was not at-fault. 

However, the insurance representative has a duty to fully investigate the claim and make a determination based on the evidence provided by all parties.  In your case, the insurance company had your statement, the other driver’s statement, and the police report.  Insurance adjusters do not always agree with the police officer’s determination of the accident, unless the officer was a witness to the accident.  After all, it is the adjuster’s job to assess liability, not the police officer’s duty.  However, the adjuster will take into consideration the officer’s opinion and also consider any traffic citations that were given to either driver. 

You stated that the other driver was drunk and on medication, but your statement alone may not be sufficient for insurance company.  Since an officer was called to the scene, it is expected that the officer would have noted if the other driver was intoxicated.  If you are still having difficulties with the manner in which your insurance company handled your claim, you can contact your insurance agent for assistance or contact your state’s insurance commissioner for further guidance. 

 


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