Los Angeles, CA asked in Car Accidents for California

Q: Auto accident, concern about liability and the current claims process

I was in an auto accident where my insurance found me 80% liable. I was pulling out of a parallel parking space, and the other party was turning right onto my road from another road. I had already started pulling out before he turned on my road (parking space was 20 feet from the intersection), but my insurance states that he still has right of way because he is already moving. It was a low velocity collision, but other side is claiming some medical damages.

1. In this type of case, would it be worth contesting liability?

2. How long should this claim take? It has already taken more than 2 months. Is this typical?

3. My insurance states they can't give me a copy of the other parties' statement unless there is arbitration. Is this reasonable?

4. I have 100,000 in bodily liability coverage, but unclear what the other side will claim. Should I hire a lawyer at this point?

5. I have shared assets with my parents, can these be contested?

Thank you!

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2 Lawyer Answers
Dale S. Gribow
Dale S. Gribow
Answered
  • Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Palm Desert, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: let your auto ins carrier take care of it.

if they said they agreed to 80% it is probably realistic.

they have the same interest as you in paying less, not more money on the claim.

they deal with these cases day in and day out and know what they are doing.

if it is over 50% your rates will no doubt go up.

Dan Rowan Cortright
Dan Rowan Cortright
Answered
  • Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Rohnert Park, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: 1. When you are pulling into the road from parking, you are entering another's right of way, so if the other car was moving in that right of way, then you have violated his right of way. So contesting liability in this case doesn't seem like a winner.

2. Yes, unfortunately these claims do not happen as quickly as we'd like them to.

3. You are entitled to the other person's insurance statement during litigation/arbitration, but they do not have a duty to disclose that to you unless/until suit has been filed.

4. Once you report it to your insurance, they should handle the defense of the other driver's claim, including hiring an attorney to represent you if the other party files suit.

5. The assets will only be vulnerable to judgment IF your $100k policy doesn't cover the claimed damages. And even then, the party who gets an excess (i.e. more than your policy limit) judgment will have to file a lien on any real property asset. That lien will then stand in line behind the mortgage and any other senior (i.e. second/refi mortgage) liens. The only way the judgment creditor could foreclose on its lien to collect is if there is enough equity in the real property to pay off all senior liens in full.

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