Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Nov 14, 2011

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Insurance Question from North Valley Stream, NY

Asked on 11/14/2011

How much more am I liable for? In June, I was involved in a fender bender. The dent didn't look severe, so, at first, I agreed to pay for it out of pocket. When the claimant took his car to the collision center, the estimate was way more than I thought it would be, so I decided to file a claim with my insurance company. They serveyed the damage and offered the claimant 50% of the settlement? Why would the insurance company only offer half? And am I on the hook to pay for the other half of the settlement cost out of pocket? Please advise.

Answer given on November 16, 2011

When you are involved in an auto accident that turns out to be your fault, you should always let the insurance company handle the claim. Trying to settle it on your own could result in problems when the damages are more extensive than originally thought. You were lucky your insurance company agreed to assume liability, since you had jeopardized their standing in the claim.The adjuster took your statement and the other party’s statement. Since the insurance company is only willing to pay for 50% of the damages makes it seem that the company thinks the other party may be partially at fault. The other party can try to discuss this with your company, or may go through their insurance for the repairss and have their company try to subrogate against your company for the full cost of damages. No matter how it settles out, you are not responsible for any payment not made by your insurance company. If the other party or their insurance contacts you directly for payment, refer them to your insurance company.


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