Can an at-fault driver settle an accident claim without going through their insurance?

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Can an at-fault driver settle an accident claim without going through their insurance?

I was in a serious accident in March and was declared at fault. My insurer chose to settle all the claims, although I did not think they were fair. Now, I had another minor accident in a parking lot; this time I am sure I was at fault. The truck that I rolled into has damages and the driver who was leaning on the truck hurt his elbow, about $2,500 from the emergency room. I have been trying to pay for this myself, as I am afraid that my insurance will drop me. I am 57 years old with a perfect driving record. What are my rights here? I have to drive to work, or course, and would not want to go with insurance. I am very well insured, although paying this will clear out my savings.

Asked on June 14, 2014 under Accident Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can settle this yourself without having to put it into insurance.: the insurance is there for your benefit after all, and the insurer is generally happy to not have to pay! Just check your policy first: if the policy requires you to report potential claims to the insurer, as policies often do, you'll want to report it to them quickly if you can't settle immediately; a delay in reporting can be held to violate your obligations and let the insurer off the hook (in case you should end up needing them to pay), or worse, give them grounds to terminate the policy for your breach. So if it looks like you can't quickly resolve the matter, you'll probably have to bite the bullet and let your insurer know.  They may decide to drop you owing to claims--but you don't want them to more certainly drop you for violating your obligations.


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