If you’ve been damaged by another party in a motor vehicle accident, you will often get “low ball” offers from insurance to restore you.
For example, one caller to my show had a utility trailer destroyed whiled parked outside his home. An intoxicated woman ran into it at high speed.
The drunk’s insurance company offered the guy $1,400 for the total loss of his trailer. Yet he paid more than $5,000 for it. He also said they are currently selling for a minimum of $4,600.
He asked the insurance company for their reasoning on the value, and they refused to talk to him about it.
HE WAS TRAPPED IN THE “BIG BROTHER” SYNDROME. It’s like a school yard wise guy calling you names, then he tells you to fight his big brother. That’s what the drunk woman did. She used her insurance company to beat up the guy with the trailer. But here’s the deal: HE DOESN’T HAVE TO FIGHT HER BIG BROTHER.
The trailer owner does not have a contract with the drunk woman’s insurance company therefore he is under no obligation to deal with them – at all! I told him to go after the drunk woman directly!
He should sue the drunk woman directly for his loss in small claims court since the damage is under $7,500. Then he can go after her with a judgment. When he sues her, she will no doubt have strong words with her insurance company. They may even decide to defend her. But as far as he’s concerned, it doesn’t matter. She is responsible to him for the damage. Either she pays him or she gets her insurance company to pay him – but that part of it is not his battle. His focus should be on fighting her. Even if the insurance company moves it to a higher court, once you’ve filed in small claims court, the relaxed rules of small claims court still prevail. So he can fight it without an attorney if he chooses to do so. And in simple cases like this, where it is pretty clear cut, it will be difficult for him to lose.
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