Does an insurance company require the paperwork from all parties involved in an accident to proceed with the settlement?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Does an insurance company require the paperwork from all parties involved in an accident to proceed with the settlement?

I was involved in a multi-vehicle
auto accident, where a woman ran a
red light and hit a car head on
which caused that car to hit my
car. In the police report, the
woman admitted to taking her eyes
off the road.I filed a claim with
her insurance company.They claim
my vehicle was a total loss, and
that they are waiting for the
total loss report from the
property damage department.It has
been almost two months and I have
contacted them multiple times. I
finally asked them what the delay
is and they told me that they are
waiting for all the participants
in the accident to fill out their
paperwork.they are telling me that
I am the only person who has done
so, and that if they don’t receive
the paperwork within ninety days
my claim can be denied.Is this
legal.I’m having a hard time
believing that the person she hit
hasn’t filed a claim with his
insurance company.I’m not sure
what to do now.

Asked on March 23, 2017 under Accident Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Don't confuse your insurer with her insurer: their obligations are *very* different. Your insurer (e.g. if you had, and filed a claim under, a collision policy) has a contractual obligation to you, to pay for your loss when the insurance policy (which is a contract) says they should. But her insurer has an obligation only to *her*, not to you. They will voluntarily pay your claim IF they believe it is valid and that if you sue, you'd win--then it makes sense to offer something without being sued, to save the time and cost of litigation. But as stated, they have no obligation directly to you, so it is voluntary for them to pay a claim to you, and they will only do so if satisfied--which includes based on an admission of responsibility from their driver, or at least a statement of facts from her indicating that she was at fault--that their insured was at fault and would lose any lawsuit. If they aren't satisfied according to whatever criteria they choose to apply (since this is voluntary, they can set/choose the criteria, or what it takes to satisfy them that they should pay), they can refuse to offer you anything. That generally means that without their driver giving information that indicates her responsibility/liability, they will not pay.
That does not mean, however, that you do not have recourse: you can sue the other driver for the damage she did. If you can convince a court by a "preponderance of the evidence," or that it is "more likely than not," that she is at fault, you can win a court judgment against her requiring that she pay, at which time she and/or her insurer should pay you (since then, they are paying on her behalf, to fultill their obligation to her).

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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