How long do I have to wait before forcing a decision by my autoinsurer regarding a car accident?

UPDATED: Feb 21, 2012

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How long do I have to wait before forcing a decision by my autoinsurer regarding a car accident?

Had an auto accident which involved 2 other cars. The young lady who was charged with the accident and who hit my car claims, she did so due to the third car hitting her. The third car was not charged either and both insurance company’s are not accepting fault. I have the same insurance company as the lady who hit me and was charged and they have not fixed my car because they said they are trying to figure out how they can do so and not take blame for the accident in an effort not the fix the third party’s car. I have spent $500 out of pocket just to get my car so I can get to work. How long do I have to wait before forcing a decision? Do I need to file lawsuit?

Asked on February 21, 2012 under Accident Law, Virginia


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

There isn't any set time for you to wait before "forcing a decision".  If the insurance companies do not resolve the issue of liability within a reasonable time, proceed with your lawsuit for negligence against the at-fault parties.  You should name the registered owners of the two other vehicles (if different than the drivers) as defendants in your lawsuit.  The registered owner information will be on the police report of the accident.  If there was a police report, does the police report say who caused the accident? The insurance companies rely on the police report and will use it to determine liability.  If this was a rear-end collision, the third car was at fault in the accident because it pushed the second car into you.  If it was not a rear-end collision, then depending on the facts, both of those other cars may be liable for the damage to your car.  If you do file a lawsuit for negligence, name both of the other parties as defendants.  If it is subsequently determined that only the third car is liable, you can dismiss the case against the second car's owner and continue the case against the third car's owner.

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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