Can an insurance company deny liability?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can an insurance company deny liability?

A driver pulled out in front of me from a stop sign and I hit her in the side.

She was ticketed; I was not. The insurance company contends that I should have been able to avoid her. I contend that it was my quick reflexes that avoided hitting and killing us both. The insurance company also mailed the denial a day before the police report was even ready. The roads were wet and the time was 8:00 am. Please advise.

Asked on February 29, 2016 under Accident Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Yes and no.
Yes, in that until and unless you sue, prove the other driver was at fault in court, and win, getting a judgment in your favor forcing them to pay money, the insurer can deny liability; that's because in this case, with no legal obligation (no court detemination) to pay, what them denying liability really means is that they choose to not voluntarily pay you--they feel they can get away without paying. It is just their opinion, and is not legally binding.
No, in that if you don't accept what they say and sue their driver (you sue the driver, not their insurer) and win, then their opinion no longer matters: if the court finds for you and orders payment, they and/or their driver must pay.

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 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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