Withholding payout for repairs

My son was in a car accident. The police report and ticket found other driver at fault for pulling out in front of my son. The other driver’s insurance company has failed to fix my car because their insured has refused to return their calls. Can they legally withhold from fixing my car due to their insured not returning their call to give her side of the story even though she was ticketed and the police report states she is at fault?

Asked on January 15, 2019 under Accident Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Until and unless you (your son, if his an adult; you on his behalf if he is minor) sue the other driver and win, any payment by the other driver's insurer is voluntary; no matter what the police thought or whether there were any tickets, any payments made without a court judgment in your favor are voluntary. So the other driver's insurer can refuse to pay at this time, whether because their driver will not cooperate or for any other reason (e.g. simply that they do not want to pay). The only way to compel payment is, as stated, to sue the other driver (not the insurer; the driver) and win (though not infrequently, filing the lawsuit--showing that you are willing to sue and force them to spend money to defend the case--will encourage the other side or their insurer to offer you something). If the amount at stake (e.g. the cost of the damage) is less than the limit for small claims court, suing in small claims as your own attorney ("pro se") is a fast, cost-effective option.


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