If an insured refuses to give a statement about an accident, can an insurance company refuse to pay?

I was hit by a truck while I was not moving. Police witnessed the event but left the scene when they saw us exchange information. I made a claim with the driver’s insurance. The accident was confirmed by the driver who is now refusing to call the adjuster and give an additional statement. The adjuster says that if the driver won’t give a statement they will not pay for repairs, stating insufficient proof. Can they do that?

Asked on March 14, 2011 under Accident Law, Minnesota

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

They may be able to do this. An insurance policy is a contract; parties to the contract (the insurer and the insured) have to both honor its terms. So if the policy provides--as I believe is common--that the insured driver must cooperate with the insurer and he or she refuses to do, that would be a breach of the contract that would very likely (depending on the exact terms) allow the insurance company to disclaim its obligations to the driver.

Of course, you can still sue the driver directly; insurance provides a method of payment, and helps make sure that people are paid even if the wrongdoer is insovlent; but there is no law saying only those with insurance may be sued. So if you think this driver was at fault and may have money or assets, you may sue him; if he was employed by someone else and on the job at the time (e.g. he was a driver making a delivery for the company), you may be able to sue his employer, too.


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