What can I do about an accident and not getting my money from the insurance company?

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What can I do about an accident and not getting my money from the insurance company?

I was rear-ended about 4 months ago when I was stopped at a light. The person behind me was hit and then pushed into me. The boy that caused the accident was cited at the scene. He was working for a pizza shop at the time of the accident. He did not have the proper insurance and his personal insurer refused to cover my damages. I filed a claim with my insurance and paid my $500 deductible after being told my insurance company would go after the boy and get the money back. However, now it is giving me the runaround. What can I do legally? I need my money back.

Asked on October 11, 2015 under Accident Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If the insurer is delaying paying the non-deductibe part of your claim the law does not specify a time period in which your claim must be paid, but after a reasonable time--and four months seems reasonable--a failure to pay may be a breach of the insurer's contractual obligations an insurance policy is a contract to pay you for valid claims. You could file a breach of contract lawsuit to force them to honor their obligations and pay you what they are supposed to, though since lawsuits themselves take time and cost money, you'd likely be better off letting the insurer know that you will do so if you have to and are not paid. Try also talking to someone other than the adjuster go "over his head" and talk to his supervisor, someone else at the company, etc.--the problem may be this adjuster not doing his job or dragging his feet for some reason. Note that if you can't afford an attorney, you can file this lawsuit, if necessary, as your own attorney or "pro se."
If the issue is that your insurer has not reimbursed your deductible, by getting the money from the boy or pizza ship, the problem is that you can't force your insurer to try to recover your deductible for you, because this is an amount that you, not the insurer, are legally obligated to pay. Many insurers never get the deductible back from that at-fault party for their insured. Rather, you have the right to sue the at-fault party directly for the money you paid out in the deductible suing in small claims court, as your own attorney, is a good option. You'd sue the driver and the pizza shop both let them fight out who is responsible.


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