One Germantown, North Carolina, man is still smarting from the indignity of having to pay for his own car repairs for an accident that he didn't cause even though the other driver had insurance.
In some ways, he is fortunate. Had he been seriously injured in the crash, he would also be facing a mountain of hospital and other medical bills for which he would otherwise have to sue the other driver to get paid.
North Carolina is a state with contributory negligence laws. This means that if the other driver's insurance carrier believes that if you had even 1 percent of responsibility for the accident, they are not responsible for paying a single cent of your damages.
Police reports from the accident indicate that the man's car was stopped at a stop sign when he was hit by the other driver, who allegedly said at the scene, "I didn't see you. Where were you?" This was documented by the officer, whose report reads, "Driver of Vehicle 1 stated he didn't see vehicle 2 while turning."
Incredibly, the insurance company outright denied the claim on the grounds that they were unable to conclude that their insured was 100 percent at fault.
The denial letter goes on to state that there is no independent evidence supporting either drivers' versions. Like many people would be, the man was shocked to discover a police report is not considered to be independent evidence unless the policeman witnessed the accident. Even though the report contains the other driver's admission, the shady insurance company now considers the two drivers' stories to be "conflicting."
Drivers can protect themselves after car accidents by taking a few precautions right at the scene.
-- Grab your smartphone and snap shots of the accident scene.
-- Get the names and contact info of any independent witnesses to the wreck.
-- If at all possible, get a video of the driver admitting fault.
If you get nowhere with your claim and have suffered injuries along with your damages, you may need to retain a North Carolina personal injury attorney to resolve your case.
Source: WFMY, "Why A Driver Can Admit He Hit You - And His Insurance Still Not Pay The Claim" Aug. 27, 2014