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Questions About Auto Insurance and Accidents



  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,703
    The reason lawyers wil represent you on bodily injury but not property damage is simple...our normal fee is 1/3 of anything we recover, as we will not work for free, despite the fact that everyone thinks we should...if we take 1/3 of what your vehicle damage is worth, no one could ever replace their vehicle, as they would only get 2/3 of the offer...the vehicle damage is fairly objective, as the vehicle is worth what it is worth...maybe a little negotiating can raise a little extra money, but really not worth an attorney's time...bodily injury, OTOH, can be worth more depending on the type of injury suffered, and it is also the area where insurance adjusters will attempt to screw you the worst...some companies here in GA, regardless of your medical bills, will offer a flat $500 for meds, pain and suffering, and that is with $3-4,000 in doctor read it could have thousands in ambulance, ER, MD bills, chiropractor bills, physical therapy bills, and the insurance may still only offer you $500.00, take it or leave it...and they call us lawyers sharks???...why are we always the unethical, unscrupulous, underhanded scum of the earth, but when someone feels slighted by the system, that is exactly the kind of lawyer they want, as long as they are unethical, unscrupulous and underhanded for THEIR case, because THEIR case is always "different"...
  • prophet2prophet2 Posts: 372
    A good lawyer is worth the 1/3 contingency fee .... ANYDAY! Medical problems can continue on and on, long after the accident.

    If you get involved in an accident in which there are persistent problems, don't sign ANYTHING, no matter how "minor" these problems seem to be, without seeking competent advice from a qualified attorney.
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,425
    GA insurance companies offering $500 under a take it or leave it presentation?? Haven't the Confederate Carriers ever been successfully sued for "Failure to Bargain in Good Faith"? Where's the Insurance Commissioner's influence in such cases? $500, take it or leave it is egregious.
  • janzjanz Posts: 129
    I agree and it makes complete sense to me because I've been there. But pursuing bodily injury vs. property damage was not my point. I was replying to a previous post where the poster was addressing a lawsuit to recover for Diminished Value.

    My subtle point, was just as you state, that it because the loss was property (not bodily injury), there may not be enough $ to recover to warrant the time and expense to take it to court. Especially since they were offered a grand from the Ins co.
  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,703
    Ah, if only our insurance commissioner had the necessary organs from which testosterone readily flows...he seems more of a figurehead, unlike the Florida commissioner, which, from what I have heard, he will censure an ins co in a heartbeat if they act up...some companies are known for rotten offers (Safeway, Safeco, Integon) and the only way to make it work is to sue them...BUT, if the injuries are minor, but still having some value, say a few thousand dollars, then the expenses of litigation will exceed the value of the case, and it is a rare lawyer who will take a case against one of the above companies, unless your damages are substantial...the ins co knows this, so a lowball offer goes unchecked, unless the ins commissioner steps in, which, as previously stated, is unlikely due to a hyper-excess of Estrogen flowing in his veins...
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    Many people suffer, but damages for each person are not big enough to sue. Looks as a cookbook case for a big class action suit.
  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,703
    Class actions are not as easy as you might think...when it is a bad drug, like Fen-phen, there is one manufacturer but similar injuries from all the people who suffered, like heart auto accidents, you have many ins companies and many different kinds of injuries, so the problem is not as easily defined for the class, if you could find 1000 folks all treated poorly by one company, say State Farm or Allstate, you might have something...then, what bothers me about most class actions is that the vast majority of $$$ goes to the lawyers, with each claimant usually getting $4.32, or some such unreasonable amount...the settlement in the class action always sounds large, often many millions, and the attorneys who obtain the settlement certainly deserve their fee for the work they do...but when you then divide the remaining funds, which still amounts to many millions $$$, if you have hundreds of thousands of claimants, the individual checks never seem to matter to much...but what do I know???...
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    I see. Thanks!
  • sdanahersdanaher Posts: 1
    I was involved in an at-fault accident in my 2004 MINI Cooper S. It was out-of-state and the car was taken to the nearest insurance Co--preferred shop. The initial estimate from the repair shop was "totaled" but the adjuster said otherwise.

    The damage is 14k which includes welding a broken piece of the engine block back on.

    My concern is I checked with MINI and this process being performed will void my 4 year/50000 mile warranty (my car only has 13000 miles)

    Can my insurance company intentionally, with knowing, have my car fixed in a way that will void my warranty?

    What recourse do I have? I have advised them to NOT START the repairs until I look into this.
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 2,006
    I joined a class action law suit when I had my 1981 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale Broughm Diesel (I bought new). After all was said and done, I received a check for about $9.00. All of the money went to the lawyers. (Marsha7 was right!)

    2010 Land Rover LR4, 2013 Honda CR-V, 2009 Bentley GTC, 1990 MB 500SL, 2001 MB S500, 2007 Lincoln TC, 1964 RR Silver Cloud III, 1995 MB E320 Cab., 2015 Prevost Liberty Coach
  • prophet2prophet2 Posts: 372
    At least you got $9.00.

    There were a number of class action suits filed against many life insurance companies (Prudential, MetLife, New York Life, etc.) for alleged deceptive trade practices in the sales of life insurance and annuities. Most were settled out-of-court. The attorneys got their legal fees and the consumers got the opportunity to have an enhancement (3-6% added to their deposit) IF they bought a new contract. Or, if they retained the original contracts, the enhancement was in the form of a lowered policy loan interest rate.

    I've heard of other cases in which consumers received discount coupons as redress.
  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,703
    to punish the company for bad product or bad behavior, class action will do it, but since the true victims rarely see any adequate compensation for their mistreatment, I just see class action as a way to help a lawyer retire to Tahiti, but get no satisfaction for your own damages/injuries...that is why, IMHO, class action sounds heavy duty, but sometimes the individual lawsuit may be the way to go...BUT (yes, there is always a but), you then have to find an attorney willing to fund the suit (unless you are willing to do so, and there is some mystical law of the universe that says that injured clients never have the $$$ to fund their lawsuits, and yet get indignant when the lawyer is unwilling to take the gamble...damed if you do and damned if you don't.....:):):):):)
  • prophet2prophet2 Posts: 372
    The consumers get taken in by attorneys advertising "no recovery, no fee." They fail to realize that there are expenses to account for beyond the 25-40% contingency fee. It is not uncommon for the plaintiff to deposit $10-20K to take care of these incidentals, which involve each phone call to the attorney, filing fees, copying documents ($1.00 per page), etc.

    The attorneys also have the right to decline cases after an evaluation. The case may not be winnable, recovery may be unlikely, or the dollar value may be too little to be worthwhile. Justice does not get achieved for justice's sake alone.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,077
    let's stick to auto insurance & accidents, not class action lawsuits and the legal profession.


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  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,425
    The car does not have to be repaired by the nearest insurance company preferred shop. That is not a policy term and condition in the contract of insurance. If your warranty is threatened by your insurance company's practice of repair, tow it to where you want it fixed or total it out. You paid a premium for the coverage, but that does not give the company control in case of a claim regarding repair or total. You are the customer, it is your car and all they are obligated to do is pay the cost of repair or total it. If they pay the cost of repair, you don't even have to have the repairs made. You are in control and don't let yourself be led astray by the adjuster. When the law school flunk out says what you don't want to hear or do, demand that he show you where in the policy that he can do that. Be PROACTIVE
  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,703
    If I understand your last post correctly, then I think I must disagree with you...when your vehicle is going to be repaired, you do not have total freedom to choose your own repair shop...for example, State Farm (SF) has "approved" body shops all over Georgia, where they basically give SF a discount on labor in exchange for the repeat business (not unlike an HMO or PPO where the doc discounts the fee in the hopes of higher volume business by being on the panel)...if SF can get your car repaired for $2500, but all other shops would charge $3300, you can demand that your car be repaired anywhere you want, but SF will only pay $2500, you pay the other $800 out of your pocket...they are obligated to repair your car, but no law says you can take the car anywhere at any price and they must pay...if they can get a discount for volume, it is, theoretically, to your advantage, as the less they pay out, the less your premiums should theoretically long as they take it to a reputable shop, you really have no cause to complain...just because you want your brother-in-law to do the repairs at twice the price, no, you do not have that right at all...what you CAN often do is this: if your repairs will cost them $2500, you can often demand the check and do what you want with the money...if your car is driveable, you do not need to get it repaired at all, or if your brother can fix it for $1400, you pay him and pocket the difference...
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,425
    State Farm's "Agreement" with "Approved" repair shops does not apply to the owner of the vehicle as he is not a part of that arrangement prior to the crash.
    It is the duty of State Farm to "work with" ALL body shops including those chosen by the Insured. State Farm, getting a volume discount, may involve generic parts rather than Factory authorized parts, may involve a refinishing process that cuts corners, and after all, why should the Insured lose control over who repairs his vehicle? The insurance contract is to indemnify, not dictate. Where in the policy does it say - "In case of loss, the company shall have the right to chose the repairer?" It doesn't.
  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,703
    after a car is 2 years old, used parts (aka junkyard parts) can be used to repair a vehicle...I still believe (and I am subject to correction) that you cannot dictate where the insurance must fix your car, as tho your pal who works on Rolls Royces, who will fix a $2000 repair for $5000, you just can't demand he fix the car and State Farm (or whoever) will shell out five just will not work that way in real life...
  • prophet2prophet2 Posts: 372
    The claimant is entitled to have the body shop of his choice repatr his vehicle. He cannot be forced to take his car to any of the insurer's "preferred" providers.

    This is subject to the insurer and the body shop coming to an agreement on the work to be done and the cost. In the event this cannot be done, the insurer will issue a check to the claimant for a full release and the claimant is free to use any shop of his choice who agrees to do the repair for that amount, or to pay the difference.

    The advantage to the claimant who agrees to use the insurer's "preferred" provider is a satisfaction" "guarantee" on the repair work. This won't work in cases where the claimant is a "pill" who may NEVER be satisfied, regardless of who does the work. There is no satisfaction "guarantee" when a "preferred" provider is not elected.

    My "customer from hell" was just like that. The insurance company "totaled" her Chevy Celebrity :sick: , but she refused and opted to take the lesser amount (ACV - salvage) and had the car "repaired" by some guys who could not do the job. Personally, I don't think ANYONE could have "salvaged that car beyond salvage." She ended up trying to sue that shop (the one of her choice).
  • kartooskartoos Posts: 6
    My 2004 Passat got totaled and the insurance offered me $ 21k on it (with 16000 miles and other options taken into account). I just had two questions :
    1. Is that a good price ? My research on KBB and other sites showed this to be close to an equivalent used car price ..just want to make sure.
    2. I was asked to sign a power of attorney to transfer the title of my vehicle to the insurance company before they process my this normal ?

    any advice would be appreciated
  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,703
    After checking KBB and, only you can decide if their offer is fair...when you use KBB, one big variable is when you must check the condition of the car, poor, fair, good, excellent...I would bet that most people overrate their vehicle's condition, so that the value assigned by KBB may be high, and then they feel lowballed by the insurance...what most folks think is excellent condition is really probably only "good" to the dealer, and what most people think is good condition is only "average" to the dealer...hence, folks with a car in "fair" condition, but they think it is "good" or "excellent", when they look up the value, KBB says it is worth, say, $7K, but they are offered $5.5K from insurance...folks need to realistically assess their car's condition (and the ins co should do the same, of course)...

    Signing the power of attorney (POA) is normal here in GA for a totalled car that the carcass is turned over to the ins (so they can sell it to a junkyard for a few hundred $$$)...signing the POA allows them to handle all the paperwork to dispose of the vehicle so you can walk away with your check...assuming it is strictly for property damage only, I would say sign it...but, it may pay to ask a trusted friend, or a lawyer, just to cover your buns...
  • prophet2prophet2 Posts: 372
    My client's son totaled his six-year old 1988 Legend L in 1994. His insurance company offered $11.5K ($12K - 500 ded.), which was blue book. I told him to grab it as the real market value was under $10K - he had a five-speed MT which would not sell. It was a total because the engine block and front end were crushed. The insurer got a few bucks for scrap. I'm sure the salvage yard recovered their cost from the alloy wheels, window glass, and other body parts which were unscathed.

    In 2001, my daughter totaled my 1987 Legend L coupe. GEICO paid $3750 ($4250 - 500) after initially offering $3500. The car was not worth more than $2000-2500 tops in running condition (167K on the clock, cracking leather, though the body was good).

    Same thing here with signing that POA - it allows them to handle the paperwork. Similar to buying a new car - the dealership processes the title and registration paperwork on your behalf. No need for you to stand in line.
  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,703
    the value of a used car can be so variable...I knew a client who totalled an 86 Town Car...9 month earlier he bought it for $1600, and ins offered him $2700...when he called me to ask if he should accept it, I almost lost it...he made $1100 on the car and he was worried that he was getting ripped, a potential client calls and tells me that ins has offered him $2700 for his 1990 Tacoma truck with 160K miles...he has been stalling since the wreck in Oct, because he had put $400 into a new fuel pump, brakes, etc....I could not believe my ears, but I explained that ordinary maintenance items are not reimbursed, even if you installed it the day prior to the wreck...the only exceptions are a new engine or new transmission, if you can produce receipts, you will usually recover about 50% of what you paid...
  • janzjanz Posts: 129
    What I've done recently is check them all, Kelly, Nada and TMV here as well as the local papers and ads. As has been stated this and an appropriate evaluation of the actual condition, Good, Fair Poor, should give you a pretty good idea of where the offer comes in.

    No just only ordinary maintenance, but I believe aftermarket addons like spoilers, stereos and accessories are not commonly covered as well.

    Good Luck!
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,425
    "a client who totalled an 86 Town Car...9 month earlier he bought it for $1600, and ins offered him $2700...when he called me to ask if he should accept it, I almost lost it...he made $1100 on the car and he was worried that he was getting ripped "

    When an Insured gets an exceptional low price on a purchase as your "client" did, perhaps he really didn't make $1100 on the car because the replacement cost at a dealership could be more than $2700 at the time and place of the wreck.

    I understand the law of agency causes the insurance agent to represent his company and the buyer of the policy is not a "client" because the agent does not represent the client in the same way an attorney represents his (customer) client.
    In attempting to upscale the insurance agency level of professionalism, the agents have been adopting "client" rather than "Insured" or "Customer". This leads the public to paint a more "professional" image on the insurance salesman, thus expecting more professional expertise and results in more Errors and Omission claims. "You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear."

    P.S. Even a CPCU is an agent of the company & his policyholders are Insureds.
  • wilson52wilson52 Posts: 2
    I was expecting to receive my renewal contract this month because the current contract ends 5/31/05. Instead, AIG has decided not to renew, citing 2 non-fault accidents in the last 2 years & one minor moving violation a year ago.

    The first accident in April of 2003 was caused by the driver of a rented truck changing lanes (more than 80%) & the deciding to move back into that lane which I moved into after his initial change. The truck's front right cab smashed into the drivers side of my vehicle causing over $2,000.00 damage. I actually did my best to avoid the vehicle by moving back into my original lane but a commuter bus had swung into that lane from a parked positon making that impossible. I avoided hitting the bus only to be hit by this truck that never saw me even though I was honking my horn constantly.
    The 2nd accident was last June, 2004, when I was making a right turn from the extreme right turn & again a truck made a turn after me from an outside lane & smashed into the driver's side door causing over $3,000.00 worth of damage. THis time there was a witness that stayed over an hour to give the police her report of what she saw. She told them that I was not at fault & the truck just plowed into me & there was nothing could do.The cop who showed up made light of her story & said that as long as we both have insurance & no one was hurt-it didn't matter.
    The minor violation happened when I made a right turn on a Saturday morning when there is a sign restricting that turn during certain hours. The police were just waiting for someone there to write an easy ticket. There were no cars around & it was not dangerous at all to make that right at that time. Anyway, I paid that ticket immediately.

    I called AIG & they said that they are blaming me 50% for both accidents. In both incidents the other vehicle had no or little damage. Is there any way I can fight this?
  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    " Is there any way I can fight this? "

    I doubt it. All you can do is appeal to them, which is sounds like you already did. Who paid for the damages to your vehicle? If the other insurance company did, then you have zero at fault accidents, and shouldn't have a problem finding insurance. But if you're company paid anything, then you were at least partially at fault (in the eyes of the insurance company).

    Good luck.
  • janzjanz Posts: 129
  • prophet2prophet2 Posts: 372
    In my case, GEICO covered the balance over my $500 deductible. I declined the 50% offer from AIG and the case went to arbitration. The other driver was found 80% responsible, so I got $400 of the deductible refunded and GEICO likewise recovered 80%.

    This happened about a year ago and I haven't noticed any increases in the two renewals since then for my 20% responsibility.
  • wilson52wilson52 Posts: 2
    Thanks-The 1st accident both insurance companies split payment. The 2nd one appears to be going the same way even though this time there was a witness.
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