Q: Six months ago, a 19 year old girl crossed oncoming traffic & drove into my parallel parked car…
And drove into the car behind me, & the car behind that. She wasn’t injured, nobody was, even though her car ended up on its side. I only have liability insurance. Her insurance put me off for six months, then decided not to pay me out for my totaled car, & the money I’m out on towing, tow yard, rental car, money I’m out taking public transportation. Their excuse is she must’ve had a medical reason, like a seizure, because she blacked out supposedly, therefore through no fault of her own did she plow into my car. Should I get a lawyer? Do you know of a good one? Is this just small claims court?
You can sue in Small Claims court. Her insurance will pay up to its property damage policy limits, if she is liable. Small Claims allows judgments of up to $10k.
However, if the collision was not the result of her voluntary conduct/movements, she is not liable. A potential exception is that if she became unconscious through a condition about which she knew and drove anyway, or failed to take prescribed medication, etc. Ask the insurer to provide medical records of its insured from the date of the incident to establish the nature of the medical emergency. She has the burden of proving that she was unconscious, and that the medical emergency was sudden and unexpected. justia.com/trials-litigation/docs/caci/400/452/.
Also, ask the insurer to obtain the insured's medical records from the prior 5 years before the incident to find out whether she has been previously diagnosed or knew of her propensity to become unconscious. She has tendered her medical condition as a defense to your claims and has, therefore, waived all privilege or privacy objections. (Evidence Code section 996(a)). leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=EVID§ionNum=996.
YES, CONSULT WITH A LOCAL PI ATTORNEY ASAP.
I DON'T KNOW YOUR INJURIES. HOWEVER, I FEEL THAT IF YOUR ATTORNEY MAKES A POLICY LIMITS DEMAND (I ASSUME $15K) THAT THE INS CO WILL BE MORE CAUTIOUS ABOUT JERKING YOU AROUND.
If you want to pursue legal action against the other driver and their insurance company, it may be beneficial to consult with a personal injury attorney who can advise you on your options and help you navigate the legal process. You can search for a qualified attorney through the California State Bar's website.
In terms of the specific legal process, you may be able to file a claim in small claims court if the amount you are seeking is within the jurisdictional limit of the court. However, depending on the circumstances and the amount of damages you are seeking, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit in a higher court. A personal injury attorney can help you determine the best course of action based on the specific facts of your case.
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