Is there any free way to take action against an insurance company for no payment of a claim?

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Is there any free way to take action against an insurance company for no payment of a claim?

My car was hit, the driver accepted fault, and his insurance company accepted liability. Now they changed their mind and are not paying. My insurance company is covering the repairs but they have a limit on how long I can have a rental car. Now I have to pay for the rental out of pocket, plus a $500 deductible. Is there any way that I can take legal action for free since any legal costs would almost make my case not worth it?

Asked on July 12, 2017 under Insurance Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You can bring a lawsuit on a "pro se" basis--as your own attorney. While it's not quite free (you have to pay a filing fee that's generally around $50 - $60), it's as inexpensive as you are going to get. 
However, you don't sue the other driver's insurer--they don't have any duty or obligation to you, and don't have to offer or pay you money. Rather, their only obligation is to their insured (the other driver), who is their customer and who paid them for insurance coverage. They pay to defend him in court and pay any judgments against him (up to policy limits); they can voluntarily choose to pay you, if they feel that under the facts and circumstances of this case, that is the most cost-effective way to resolve it, but are not required to do so. 
Rather, you sue the other driver: if you can prove in court that he was at fault (using your or other witnesses' testimony, police reports, any written admissions from the other driver, etc.), you can get a court judgment against him, requiring him to pay for you loss (to the extent not paid by your own insurance; you cannot "double collect" for the same costs or losses). Once you do that, he and/or his insurer should pay.


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