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Dawson and Rosenthal
Dawson and Rosenthal

What happens when my auto insurance won’t pay?

Question: I was in a car accident. A car in front of my overshot a driveway and then backed up to try and get into it. I tried to get out of their way, but they ended up hitting me and then lying and said I hit them. I had a witness, but the insurance companies said it doesn’t matter—they say she changed her story. What can I do?

Answer: Your policy with your auto insurance company is a legal contract. As such, there are things you are required to do—for example pay your premiums on time, etc., and in return the company is required to honor their part of the contract—which is to pay your claims.

Arizona is a comparative fault state, meaning that both you and the person who hit you could be at fault. For example, your insurance company could determine you were 20 percent liable simply because you did not get out of the way fast enough to avoid the other driver hitting you.

Normally, in your situation, your insurance company would work with the other driver’s insurance company through a process called subrogation. In a nutshell, this means that they would pay your bills and then go after the other company for reimbursement.

You don’t say whether the company simply won’t pay any bills or whether they are only paying a portion. In an auto accident case, you are entitled to sue for damage to your vehicle, medical bills, pain and suffering and lost wages.

A statute of limitations applies in Arizona, so be aware that you only have two years from the date of the accident to file any claim. If your insurance company is not cooperating, it might be wise to involve an attorney to speed the process along.