I was in a car accident, caused by someone else. My insurance company won't help. What do I do?

Approx 2 weeks ago, i was driving home on the freeway at around 10pm. I was in the slow lane. The car in front of me slammed on his brakes and swerved into the lane to the left. Upon him moving, I noticed that there was something laying across the lane I proceeded to slow down and and realized it was a guardrail laying across my lane. I was unable to get around it due to traffic in the lane next to me, so I hit it (i had slowed down to approx 35mph at the time) I hurt my back and I believe my car is totalled. I drove it down the berm to the next exit on the rim because I was afraid there would be a pile-up. I called the police and they came out. I had my car towed home. I called my insurance company the next morning and talked to an adjuster who seemed to be helpful at the time. He called me back a few days ago and told me that someone had just had an accident before I had gotten there and that's why the guardrail was there. He said there was nothing I could do, I should have avoided it- and he kept mentioning assured cleared distance (which I always have plenty of) I was shocked to think my insurance company was trying to blame me for the for damaging my vehicle. I only have liability and cannot believe the person that originally hit the guardrail is not liable. I have a 5 year old and a 7 month old and no vehicle. I live off of $200 a month and I can't afford a lawyer, and don't even know if I have a case. I just can't believe no one is liable. Please help, any advice would be great. I live in Ohio and the accident occurred in Stark county on I-77. Thanks!

Update:

The other person who hit the guardrail first did report the accident, apparently they had hit it seconds before and were off the road.

11 Answers

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I'm sorry but you are out of luck with your insurance.. You were involved in a one car collision. Since you only have 3rd party liability, there is is no coverage under your policy for this accident. Had you hit another car and they came after you for damages, your policy would have responded to them only. Again they would do nothing for your car. With all that said, You might file a claim against the person who hit the guardrail. They were negligent. They were the one who caused your damage. You have a 3rd party liability claim against them. There is an obscure ruling in the insurance industry regarding an unbroken chain of events which seems to cover your situation.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Running into or over an object in the road would be a collision, and you mention that you don't carry that coverage--just liability-- so you're not covered for hitting something as you did. You could try going after the person who broke the guard rail, or the state for leaving it there, but it would take time and money, and I doubt you'd get anything.

    If you were in the slow lane, you should have been able to move onto the shoulder.

    Wish I could be more helpful, but I believe you're out of luck on this.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I feel bad that you are going through this, but what do you think you can do?? You can't prove who the other person was and that they left the guard rail in the road. They may have moved it to the side, but someone else hit it on the side of the road, causing it to come back out. But, your insurance company can not help you since you don't have the coverage that they could help you with. I am sorry to say that you are out of luck. And, in this case, you could not have had assured cleared distance since you hit something. Good luck - you can try all the lawyers in the state, and I don't think you have a leg to stand on. Also, the free way to get help, if you truly believe your company to be in the wrong is to file a complaint with the state insurance commissioner. They will review the case and make a determination. Good Luck.

    Source(s): Licensed Insurance Producer
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Since you only have liability coverage your insurance company is correct in stating there is nothing they can do. If you were injured you do probably have a small amount of medical payments coverage under your policy that you can use, but as for the damage to your vehicle, your insurance company can't help you. The only thing you can really do is get a lawyer and find out who the driver was who hit the guardrail first and sue them for your damages.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Unfortunately the adjuster is correct. Any time you collide with something in the road it's a negligent accident. How can the other person that had hit the guard rail before you be liable? They weren't even on the scene of the accident. You're 100% liable and if you do not carry collision coverage on your vehicle then there's nothing you can do. It may seem unfair given your current situation but that's how insurance works and no insurance company will change their laws for a parent of two with limited income. Sorry

    Source(s): Insurance Agent
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Write to the insurance company making a formal claim, see if the cops will give you details of the original accident (or you might get it from the local paper).

    It's seems the clear original accident was the direct cause of your problem and the adjuster giving you the "assured clear distance" rigmarole is their way of dodging a pay out (that's their job!).

    Make sure you mention in your claim letter that you HAD assured clear distance but the combination of the car in front swerving at the last moment and traffic filling the lane on your right made it impossible to avoid the obstruction.

    You have to hammer away at these cheapskates, put everything in writing, don't accept anything just be phone.

    Although you can't afford a lawyer check in yellow pages for one that might accept "no win no fee" basis.

    Good luck.

  • 4 years ago

    I assume you don't have full coverage on your car and that you are dealing with "his" insurance. If he's illegal he probably doesn't have a drivers license which is part of the reason insurance won't pay. In the US you must be a legal resident to get a license. Report him to the authorities, both to immigration and to the police. That will at least ruin his day. You should sue him, his wife, and the owner of the car in small claims court. Unfortunately for you you will probably never see any money. What many people don't realize is that the judge in small claims court only issues a ruling about what he thinks is a fair settlement, they don't give you any money. The person losing the case is free to ignore the ruling and nothing will happen to them. You then must go back to court to get a motion to enforce judgment. That allows you to get an order to garnish his salary, to seize any money in his bank accounts and also have a marshal seize any property he owns. You must pay the marshal about $500 up front. The property gets auctioned off and you get the proceeds after paying the auction fees. If he has nothing worth seizing which is probably the case if he's an illegal you end up with nothing other than the satisfaction getting him in trouble with the authorities, and ruining his credit which probably stinks already.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    If you only had liability you are on your own. If you had full coverage the insurance would fix your car minus the deductible. The person who had the accident before was gone obviously the only way you might get some recourse is to blame the roads department for the debris in the road, but that is a long shot.

    Sorry

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    You are indeed 100% liable for this whether you want to believe it or not. You have to have control of your vehicle at ALL TIMES. And if you were going the proper speed and were paying attention you could have completely stopped and avoided this. Since you only have liability there's no coverage for this as you were at fault and damaged your own vehicle (liability pays out to other people, not you or your vehicle) Sorry but you're SOL on this one, should have been paying attention.

    Source(s): Insurance Agent
  • 1 decade ago

    Nothing to add except it's good you asked this question before pursuing legal action. Lawyers almost never help if you remotely think they will...and often don't help even if you strongly believe so.

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