What are the best steps to take when the at-fault’s insurer doesn’t seem to want to take responsibility?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What are the best steps to take when the at-fault’s insurer doesn’t seem to want to take responsibility?

A lady veered into my car while doing a lane change and hit my left back tire. You can see where she hit me and her car barely has any damage and at first my car felt fine but now it occasionally vibrates almost like a massage chair. It’s been about 3 weeks since the accident. A week ago, I talked to my adjuster and he mentioned that the lady who me did accept she was at fault and that I should expect a call from her insurance. A call I still have not received. I called my adjuster again yesterday and he said that they were still seeing about liability and that he would call them which I doubt will happen. He also said I could take care of my car through my insurance but why should I have to pay the deductible or anything at all when I was not the one at fault? How can I get the at-fault party’s insurance to speed up the process and take care of things as they should?

Asked on April 11, 2019 under Accident Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The only way to get the "at-fault party's insurance to speed up the process and take care of things" is to sue the at-fault driver--you sue the driver, not her insurer--and hopefully they will then offer you a settlement; or if they don't settle, if you prove in court that the other driver was at fault, you will get a judgment in your favor, at which point the other driver and/or her insurer should pay.
The at-fault driver's insurer is HER insurer, after all, not yours: it has no obligation or duty to you whatsoever. It's only duty is to defend its driver in court and/or pay any amounts which she is orderd to pay. They may, and frequently do, offer to settle--to pay for repairs--without a lawsuit, such as if they feel it is more cost effective for them to do so--but they don't have to: they are free to refuse to pay unless and until a court finds their driver to be at fault and orders payment. 
Your options are:
1) Sue the other driver, and see if that causes a settlement to be offered, or, if not, go to trial and prove their fault; or 
2) Put in a claim to your own insurer, let them pay for most of the repairs or costs, then sue the other driver in small claims court to recover any amounts, like the deductible, which your insurer does not pay, if you deem doing so worth your time and effort.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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