If I was rear-ended by another vehicle but the driver was not an authorized driver on the owner’s insurance policy, what is my recourse since the insurer now won’t honor my claim?

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If I was rear-ended by another vehicle but the driver was not an authorized driver on the owner’s insurance policy, what is my recourse since the insurer now won’t honor my claim?

The person that hit me first claimed not to have insurance(as he was driving his father’s car), but later found out that his father had insurance. He called and said he takes full responsibility for what happened, and will make sure to fix the issue. I just got off the phone with his father’s insurance company and they are saying because the person driving was not the insured, they are not responsible for the damages to my vehicle. What are my options here?

Asked on July 1, 2015 under Accident Law, Arizona

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Your recourse is to file a lawsuit for negligence against the father and son.  The father is liable because he is the registered owner of the vehicle that caused the accident even though he was not present at the scene.  The son is liable because he was the driver.

Your damages (monetary compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit) would be the cost of repairs to your vehicle.  If you need a rental car while your car is being repaired, your damages should also include the rental car cost.  You will need to mitigate (minimize) damages by selecting a rental car with a reasonable rate.  If you were to select the most expensive rental car you could find, you have failed to mitigate damages and your damages will be reduced accordingly.  You will also need to select an auto body repair shop whose fees are comparable to other auto body repair shops in the area.  If you were to select the most expensive auto body repair shop you could find, you have failed to mitigate damages and your damages will be reduced accordingly.

Depending on the amount of your damages, you may be able to file your lawsuit in Small Claims Court.  Your damages should also include the court filing fee and process server fee.  After obtaining a judgment against the at-fault parties, you can enforce the judgment with a wage garnishment.


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