If there is a car accident with another vehicle, can that other vehicle’s insurer solely determine which driver was at fault?

UPDATED: Mar 4, 2015

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If there is a car accident with another vehicle, can that other vehicle’s insurer solely determine which driver was at fault?

My girlfriend was involved in a car accident a year ago wherein the insurance companies at the time could not determine who was at fault. At the time of the accident, she did not have insurance so the state DOT required her to pay $2,000 in damages to the other vehicle owner since he had obtained a lawyer, which she did pay. We received notice that since she paid the $2,000 to the DOT, if the other party’s lawyer accepted the $2,000, no further action would be taken. Today we received notice from the other insurance company stating that they had determined during their investigation that she was 100% at fault and they are requiring her to pay an additional $3,600 in reimbursement for what they paid their client in damages. Is this right?

Asked on March 4, 2015 under Accident Law, Iowa


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Ok she needs to go and seek legel consultation with all the documentation especially if there was a release signed.  The issue is what the release states and if the insurance company  - who is allowed to subrogate the claim (step in to the shoes of the person who owned the car if they paid out for damages) is bound by the documents that she has.  An insurer can determine anything they want.  What happens now if that you have to shoot holes in their reports and theory of the accident.  Good luck.

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