Q: My husband was recently in an accident with a brinks truck . We live in Florida , but the accident happened in Houston
Our insurance company wants to have us sign papers to release the title for the vehicle . It is being totaled . The accident was not his fault , and the company’s insurance hasn’t claimed fault for it . I don’t feel like our insurance company should get hit with this , also Lexis nexus is reporting at fault . What am I to do , my husband needs to get home in Florida and this is an absolute nightmare
A: Fortunately, you have insurance and one benefit of insurance is the assistance you receive in an incident like this. Your insurance company can deal with the insurance for the Brinks truck though inter-agency arbitration. But in the meantime, if your insurance will fairly cover your loss, you can make arrangements to move forward.
Check with your adjuster to assure that their willingness to cover the loss of your vehicle does not assume any inference of liability on your husband's part, nor will it result in an increase of premiums. When your husband gets home, you should contact a local attorney if you have not been fully compensated for the value of your vehicle, or if your husband has any injuries or lost income as a result of the collision.
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A: Retain counsel for contingency fee representation which means you don’t pay anything unless your husband wins the case.
A: First, stop talking with the insurance companies and immediately hire a personal injury attorney if your husband was injured at all. You can hire a Florida attorney and they can work on the case and maybe co-counsel with a Texas lawyer down the road, if necessary. You can also hire a Houston attorney if you want, but your husband will likely be treating here in Florida so it is typically best to hire a local attorney who knows all the medical providers here.
With regards to the property damage specifically, most PI attorneys will assist you with that for free. I know I do. If the at-fault company is disputing liability, then you have several options. You can use your own collision coverage and pay your deductible (if any) to get the car totaled out and get a check. If you do this, make sure you are getting the market value of the vehicle. There are several ways to determine that amount I have a specific way I do mine and I almost always get my clients more than they were offered by the insurance company prior to my representation.
Another option would be to file a lawsuit immediately against the at-fault for property damage and bodily injury. However, this does not typically result in them accepting liability immediately and paying for the total loss of the vehicle. So, you will be in the long haul for that option.
It is also possible once you get an attorney involved they can argue liability for the property damage without filing suit and get Brinks to reverse their determination. Hopefully you have a police report, pictures and other physical evidence that can be used by the attorney to get that result.
Wish you both the best of luck.
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