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Car wreck, what happens next?

Car wreck, what happens next?

Old Apr 7th 2008, 9:28 pm
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Default Car wreck, what happens next?

Last Thursday night an 18 wheeler ran over the front of my car when it was turning, it's left the front wheels facing different directions so is probably a write off. We did as instructed to on our Geico card and rang them, sent them the police report and waited. Now I see our claim is closed and they said it was the other driver's fault so we need to claim against him. I just assumed that Geico would do all of that. We have the police report but under the insurance company it just says "Georgia IRP" which doesn't really mean much and we have no number to contact them with.

We were hoping to get a rental car sorted but by the looks of this we're going to struggle to even make contact with them.

I'm more than a little pissed off that Geico have pretty much just washed their hands of it already though without them actually doing anything.
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Old Apr 7th 2008, 10:41 pm
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Default Re: Car wreck, what happens next?

It depends upon what kind of coverage you have.

If you only had liability, then you need to pursue the other driver on your own. Liability insurance doesn't cover your own property.

If you had collision coverage, then your insurer should work with you fix or replace your car, and the insurer should then pursue the other driver on your behalf to collect what they paid out to you. You would grant your insurer a "right of subrogation" so that they have the authority to do these things for you.

Rental car is usually an add-on to the policy. If you don't have it, you won't be given a rental car by your insurer.
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Old Apr 7th 2008, 10:52 pm
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Default Re: Car wreck, what happens next?

Originally Posted by SpoogleDrummer View Post
Last Thursday night an 18 wheeler ran over the front of my car when it was turning, it's left the front wheels facing different directions so is probably a write off. We did as instructed to on our Geico card and rang them, sent them the police report and waited. Now I see our claim is closed and they said it was the other driver's fault so we need to claim against him. I just assumed that Geico would do all of that. We have the police report but under the insurance company it just says "Georgia IRP" which doesn't really mean much and we have no number to contact them with.

We were hoping to get a rental car sorted but by the looks of this we're going to struggle to even make contact with them.

I'm more than a little pissed off that Geico have pretty much just washed their hands of it already though without them actually doing anything.
Get a lawyer
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Old Apr 8th 2008, 12:01 am
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Default Re: Car wreck, what happens next?

Originally Posted by Thydney View Post
Get a lawyer

A GOOD ONE

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Old Apr 8th 2008, 12:07 am
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Default Re: Car wreck, what happens next?

Originally Posted by SpoogleDrummer View Post
Last Thursday night an 18 wheeler ran over the front of my car when it was turning, it's left the front wheels facing different directions so is probably a write off. We did as instructed to on our Geico card and rang them, sent them the police report and waited. Now I see our claim is closed and they said it was the other driver's fault so we need to claim against him. I just assumed that Geico would do all of that. We have the police report but under the insurance company it just says "Georgia IRP" which doesn't really mean much and we have no number to contact them with.

We were hoping to get a rental car sorted but by the looks of this we're going to struggle to even make contact with them.

I'm more than a little pissed off that Geico have pretty much just washed their hands of it already though without them actually doing anything.
Per my OH (a claims manager for an insurance co), even if you only have liability insurance, you can still contact Geico for telephone numbers and contact information. The other information you'll want is the 18-wheeler's owners or company, which Geico should be able to provide. If you contact the owners, tell them you want to talk to the dispatcher and present a claim -- they should pass you on to the claims manager.

If you do have collision coverage, then your insurance company should take care of the vehicle. Always remember, you still own the vehicle and if it's at a tow yard, you are still responsible for the daily storage charges.

Finally, make sure you keep good records of who you talk to and when.

Hope this helps.
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Old Apr 8th 2008, 12:22 am
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Default Re: Car wreck, what happens next?

Originally Posted by SpoogleDrummer View Post
I'm more than a little pissed off that Geico have pretty much just washed their hands of it already though without them actually doing anything.

As others have said, it would seem that you don't carry collison on your policy. If that is the case, GEICO is under no obligation to do anything further for you. However, having been a GEICO customer since 1972 and having had several claims over the years, I know that their customer service will assist you as someone else said and they will give you the other person's policy number which you should have taken down at the time of the accident or might well be on the accident report and phone numbers to call. Since you don't have collison renting a car while the adjustment proceeds will be done by the other company.

Last edited by Rete; Apr 8th 2008 at 12:29 am.
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Old Apr 8th 2008, 12:25 am
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Default Re: Car wreck, what happens next?

Originally Posted by SpoogleDrummer View Post
Last Thursday night an 18 wheeler ran over the front of my car when it was turning, it's left the front wheels facing different directions so is probably a write off. We did as instructed to on our Geico card and rang them, sent them the police report and waited. Now I see our claim is closed and they said it was the other driver's fault so we need to claim against him. I just assumed that Geico would do all of that. We have the police report but under the insurance company it just says "Georgia IRP" which doesn't really mean much and we have no number to contact them with.

We were hoping to get a rental car sorted but by the looks of this we're going to struggle to even make contact with them.

I'm more than a little pissed off that Geico have pretty much just washed their hands of it already though without them actually doing anything.
Mmmm I've heard this sort of comment before about yours and other insurance companies who give you the 'best' quote. You get what you pay for basically. When this is settled...find another insurance company. Good luck with your claim.
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Old Apr 8th 2008, 12:28 am
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Default Re: Car wreck, what happens next?

BTW I looked up Georgia IRP and here is the definition from the Georgia site:

*"IRP" is the abbreviation for the International Registration Plan. IRP is a plan or a registration reciprocity agreement among all U.S. states (except Alaska and Hawaii) and applicable Canadian Providence. IRP allows for the registration of commercial and privately owned vehicles that travel in two (2) or more states or jurisdictions. Under IRP, the base state issues the license plate & cab card & collects & dispenses the registration fees due each member state/jurisdiction in which the vehicle travels.

So apparently Georgia IRP has nothing to do with insurance
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Old Apr 8th 2008, 12:53 am
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Default Re: Car wreck, what happens next?

If you have collision coverage, then you shouldn't need to get a lawyer. Your insurer should take care of it if you give them the right of subrogation. If you aren't trying to get damages that exceed the cost of repairing or replacing the car, then this is the easiest route to take.

If you had only liability, then it may not be easy to get a lawyer, particularly if you weren't injured and the car wasn't worth much. Unless there is a nice award at the end of it, a lawyer won't take your case on contingency, and you certainly don't want to pay for a lawyer by the hour.

If you had no collision coverage, if nobody was hurt and if you had a cheap car, then your easiest thing to do would be to go to small claims court. If the car was worth more than what merits a small claims case, but your case isn't exciting enough to get a lawyer interested in it, then it could be tough because you would have to deal with real courts.

Note: If you file a suit, you sue the owner and the driver of the vehicle, not the insurance companies. Technically speaking, the trucker's insurer owes you nothing, but they do have an obligation to their policyholder to protect them, so the insurer should ultimately be the deep pocket.
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Old Apr 8th 2008, 2:04 am
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Default Re: Car wreck, what happens next?

Originally Posted by SpoogleDrummer View Post

We were hoping to get a rental car sorted but by the looks of this we're going to struggle to even make contact with them.
Hi:

Were you injured in any way? If not, you will probably have difficulty in finding a lawyer since the money is in "personal injury" -- getting the car replaced is ancillary to PI lawyers and is just a client relations tool.

If you were not injured, I can tell you what I have done -- and this was on the advice of friends who do PI.

As others suggested -- get the owner information and insurance information from GEICO -- they should have ascertained it -- simply if they were worried you might be sued.

The IRP simply indicates that the truck was primarily registered in another state, but had a secondary commercial registration in Georgia.

Once you obtain the insurance carrier [or if the company, if self-insured] call them and inform them that you would like to "index" a claim for damage to your vehicle. You will be asked if anyone was hurt -- you say -- "not that we can tell yet, Thank God" and leave it at that. Get a name and address and if they give it to you, a claim number. If the car is totaled -- get the information about year, make, mileage and condition of your car. And then let them know via writing -- certified mail return receipt!

Until they investigate, they will probably not be willing to talk rental car or reimbursement. But they may have already made an internal determination -- so ask "How do I go about getting a rental car?" BTW, unlike rental coverage on one's own policy, if they pay, it will be for a comparable car. For example, if you have a six year old mid-size, you can rent a mid-size car and need not get an econo-box. However, again, please note that they will not pay until they say they will!

I used this once where I got rear-ended on the free-way some years back. When the insurance person went "Oh, shit!" I inquired why he said that -- he informed me that the other driver had had three claims against him in the last year and they had terminated his coverage -- effective at 12:01 a.m. the day after the accident [which was at 9:00 pm]! He instantly authorized a rental car, told me what kind I could rent and what company they dealt with. The whole process was fairly painless. Also, I did have some "soft-tissue" injury, which has never really gone away.

Good luck.
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Old Apr 8th 2008, 2:06 am
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Default Re: Car wreck, what happens next?

Originally Posted by RoadWarriorFromLP View Post
If you have collision coverage, then you shouldn't need to get a lawyer. Your insurer should take care of it if you give them the right of subrogation. If you aren't trying to get damages that exceed the cost of repairing or replacing the car, then this is the easiest route to take.

If you had only liability, then it may not be easy to get a lawyer, particularly if you weren't injured and the car wasn't worth much. Unless there is a nice award at the end of it, a lawyer won't take your case on contingency, and you certainly don't want to pay for a lawyer by the hour.

If you had no collision coverage, if nobody was hurt and if you had a cheap car, then your easiest thing to do would be to go to small claims court. If the car was worth more than what merits a small claims case, but your case isn't exciting enough to get a lawyer interested in it, then it could be tough because you would have to deal with real courts.

Note: If you file a suit, you sue the owner and the driver of the vehicle, not the insurance companies. Technically speaking, the trucker's insurer owes you nothing, but they do have an obligation to their policyholder to protect them, so the insurer should ultimately be the deep pocket.
Hi:

A good answer IMHO. I think small claims jurisdiction in CA is now up to $25K!
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Old Apr 8th 2008, 2:23 am
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Default Re: Car wreck, what happens next?

Thanks very much. I've found contact information for the the company that owns the 18 wheeler but when my wife called she just got voicemail, it was 5:30 PM their time though so she's just going to call again tomorrow.

There shouldn't be any injuries but my wife is 5 months pregnant and due an ultrasound tomorrow so once we know the baby is fine still then we'll be a lot less stressed about it.
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Old Apr 8th 2008, 4:23 am
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Default Re: Car wreck, what happens next?

Originally Posted by Folinskyinla View Post
I think small claims jurisdiction in CA is now up to $25K!
I see that the OP is in Tennessee. The small claims limit there is $15k or $25k, depending upon the county: http://public.findlaw.com/litigation...ll-claims.html

You should determine the value of your car. To do this for insurance purposes, use the **retail** value from Kelley Blue Book (kbb.com). Be sure to account for the mileage, condition prior to the accident and equipment levels, as this is theoretically what one would have paid a dealer to have bought your car.

Be sure to also add to that figure whatever sales tax that you would have had to pay to purchase the replacement vehicle at the KBB retail price. If you had any recent repairs or maintenance done, add those, too.

If nobody was injured, the total of these amounts, plus the cost of your rental car, should be the value of your claim.

Stand firm on your value. Do not allow an adjuster to try to get you to accept less for the car. Despite what they tell you, the KBB is the industry standard and should be accepted by a court. Generate an online copy of KBB's retail value and print it out for your records as soon as possible, before the values decline, as they will over time.

If you don't use a lawyer and your insurer won't represent you, and if you have no injuries to sweeten the pot enough for you to get your own lawyer, then you will probably need to deal directly with the trucker's insurance company, on your own. Without a lawyer, you can expect a lot of BS, so don't mess around. Take notes and document everything. (You might even want to record the call, without telling them, so that you have better notes for yourself. Just be sure that you don't try to use the recording as evidence if it isn't permitted.)

And be very careful not to say anything that might attribute any blame to you. Even if the police report is on your side, the insurer may try to attack its credibility and look for ways to put at least some responsibility on you. You are not required to give them a statement if you don't choose to.

Make your demands timely and in writing, as it will be expected by the courts that you made a reasonable effort to get compensated before filing a case. But once that point has passed, get your lawsuit filed as soon as possible so that you start the clock and can put pressure on the other side to settle.

If you don't have a lawyer, having a case that qualifies for small claims court really works to your advantage -- your case will be heard quickly, and you won't need fancy lawyerspeak to present your story. If the police report is on your side and the facts of the accident speak for themselves, then your chance of winning is pretty much a done deal, so it is likely that your case will settle before you end up in court.

The courthouse in the county where the accident occurred may have a website that includes a small claims guide written from a layman's perspective. I'd encourage you to locate that and become familiar with it now, so you know what you may have to expect.

You may also find this useful: http://www.nolo.com/resource.cfm/cat...2980C/104/199/ Nolo does a nice, thorough job with self-help law books, and their advice should help you to determine whether you need a lawyer.

Last edited by RoadWarriorFromLP; Apr 8th 2008 at 4:29 am.
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Old Apr 8th 2008, 5:54 pm
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Default Re: Car wreck, what happens next?

Originally Posted by SpoogleDrummer View Post
Thanks very much. I've found contact information for the the company that owns the 18 wheeler but when my wife called she just got voicemail, it was 5:30 PM their time though so she's just going to call again tomorrow.

There shouldn't be any injuries but my wife is 5 months pregnant and due an ultrasound tomorrow so once we know the baby is fine still then we'll be a lot less stressed about it.

Your OP didn't mention that the car was being driven at the time. Sorry to hear that and hope that mom and child are fine.
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Old Apr 8th 2008, 6:35 pm
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Default Re: Car wreck, what happens next?

Sorry to hear that, Spoogle, I hope everything is okay with the baby, I'm sure it is.

Be prepared for it to be a long drawn out process for this to get taken care of. I was rear-ended two years ago (to the day I think) and am *still* dealing with it. There's a trial or something in August. I did get a lawyer because I felt I was being given the run-around by my own insurance company at the time as well. I had only been in the US for about 8 months and wasn't going to deal with the baloney. Turns out it's all still baloney and I still have to deal with it. Maybe the lawyer just sucks. All I want is for them to pay the bills, nothing else, I don't need no damages or anything. What a danged waste of time... all for daring to take a left turn on a quiet road and some idiot picking up his dropped cigarette lighter while going 40 in a 25 zone.
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