What should I do if the other person’s car insurance company doesn’t want to pay for damages to my car?

UPDATED: Aug 24, 2011

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What should I do if the other person’s car insurance company doesn’t want to pay for damages to my car?

I was involved in a car accident where the other person side swiped my car and then left the scene of the accident. I called the police and it took them 3 hours to respond. Since it took them so long, I went down to the police headquarters to make a report the next day. The police never called me to follow up.My mother was in the car with me, she was able to get the other person’s license plate. Since there wasn’t any independent witnesses, the other person’s car insurance won’t pay for the damages to my car. What should I do next?

Asked on August 24, 2011 Ohio


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The first thing you need to do assuming you have not done so, is make a claim with your own insurance company over what happened and send your claims representative the police report. Keep a copy of all correspondence you have with your own carrier.

Assuming that you have your own insurance policy in effect for your car, your carrier will start doing the leg work for you over the incident such as taking photographs of your car, obtaining your and your mother's statements, getting estimates for the car's repair, and having the car repaired.

If you do not have insurance, you will need to do the above leg work. If you do not have insurance to cover the damage to your car, and depending on the amount of repairs needed for your vehicle, you might consider bringing an action in small claims court against the driver and owner of the other vehicle.

Some counties provide a "legal aid" clinic. You should check and see if such a program is available in your community.

Good luck.

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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You filed a police report which is a good thing.  You can consider two tings: either filing a claim with your own insurance company to repair the damage and give them the right to subrogate the claim (sue the other party on your behalf) or to sue the other party directly.  I would, though, speak with an attorney in your area on the matter to be sure of a few things.  First, becuase this is a hit and run how will it be handled in the case of subrogation?  Will your insurance company first do an investigation of the matter before paying for the repairs and subrogation?  These are important questions.  Good luck. 

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