What happens if I’m at fault for a car accident

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Did you cause a car crash and wondered what happens if I’m at fault for a car accident? I am Chicago personal injury lawyer Barry Zlotowicz. Welcome to the LawFull Channel.

As a personal injury attorney, I normally do videos on what happens if you’re not at fault for a car accident. Today though I’m going to answer the question of what happens if you caused an accident. What is going to happen to you and what can you recover and what can’t you?

If you caused the accident, you are the “at-fault” party and when the injured party files a claim against you with your insurance company or files a lawsuit against you, you will be the “defendant.” You are defending yourself against the claim of another person.

The first think you should do is file a claim with your insurance company. This is the reason you purchased insurance in the first place right. Turn it over to Geico or Allstate or whoever you use and let them run with it.

Be advised, per your insurance contract, you have an obligation to work with your insurance company after a claim is filed. That normally means giving a recorded statement, getting your car inspected, providing them pictures etc. If you don’t cooperate with your insurance company, they could deny the victim’s claim against you which could require the victim to file a lawsuit against you to get you to act and you don’t want to deal with that believe me.

So what are the practical ramifications of hitting someone? Well, they could include:

Increased auto insurance rates. That’s what everyone dreads and we’re all concerned about right? Listen, the accident happened, it happens, and an increase in your rates is just a fact of life. Look at it this way, if you didn’t have insurance, how much would it cost you to fix the other guy’s car and pay for their medical bills and compensate them for their pain and suffering? A lot more than the increase in your rates that’s for sure.

Second, chances are there’s damage to your car as well. Hopefully you have what’s called collision coverage on your vehicle. If you don’t have collision coverage you should get it. If you caused the accident, this insurance will cover the repairs to your own vehicle. Though you will likely have to pay your deductible.

I’ve had several people call me saying they caused an accident and want to collect for their pain and suffering. If you caused the accident, you will not collect anything for your pain and suffering or for your medical bills. One exception on the medical bills, you may have what’s called a medpay policy. You can add it to your insurance policy and it will cover your meds after an accident up to $2500 or $5k regardless of fault.

Another thing people ask about is collecting for their lost wages – again if you caused the accident, you are not going to collect for lost wages generally speaking though people with PIP or personal injury protection insurance may be able to collect for lost wages.
Finally, you might want to get a rental car while your car is in the shop. But this depends on the terms of your auto insurance policy. So if you get in an accident, make sure you request to see a copy of your policy.

A couple other thoughts about being a defendant in an auto accident that I want to share with you. First, you may not be 100% at fault for the accident. Most states recognize some form of “comparative negligence” where fault for the accident can be apportioned between the parties. For example, in my home state of Illinois if you can prove that the other party was more than 50% responsible for the accident, that person is barred from recovering.

Second, just for the sake of mentioning it, it is possible that you could get hit with what’s called an “excess judgment.” This does not happen that often. But what it means is so for example, you’ve got a $25k insurance policy. Meaning that your Geico insurance is only on the hook for the first $25k in damages you cause. But what if the victim’s case is worth $500k or whatever. Geico is not going to pay that extra $475k. Now can you pay that, no, you will more than likely have to file bankruptcy if that happens. That’s why I recommend getting as much insurance as you can. Increasing your limits from $25k to $250k is much cheaper than you would think.

One final point, what if you caused an accident and don’t have auto insurance? Well, you’ll get cited by the police and you are on the hook to pay the victim’s damages out of your own pocket.

If you caused an auto accident and want to talk to an injury attorney about what comes next, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected]

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law What happens if I’m at fault for a car accident Fault for car accident Chicago personal injury lawyer What happens if I caused an accident Car insurance Insurance rates Car accident Personal injury attorney Fault Negligence Comparative negligence I caused a traffic accident At fault party Defendant Defendant in a lawsuit Recorded statement File a claim with your insurance company Obligation to work with your insurance company Will my insurance rates go up?

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    Popular Comments:

Jacob Brenner . 2020-02-25
Was involved in a collision last week, my first one. I am at fault, I pulled out of a school after dropping my son off, turning left. I got hit by an oncoming car, which I did not see due to the right turn lane of cars. My biggest fear is that I might be sued, even thought the state trooper and EMT's said the other driver was fine. I do have $25,000 in collision coverage for the other party.
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ryanealon . 2020-02-22
Hi there! Just got into my very first car accident today. I’m a 25 unmarried male, and I own a 09 Honda Civic. I was driving in Hollywood and a driver 2 cars ahead of me swerved out in front of the person in front of me, she slammed on her brakes, and unfortunately I ended up rear-ending her. We filed a claim with our insurances, no police report was filed because damage wasn’t substantial—her bumper will need to be replaced and the front of my car has a small dent. I guess my questions would be
1. How badly will this affect my insurance if I’m named the at-fault party?
2. How long will this accident last on my record in the state of California?
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Gisela Duran . 2020-02-20
I was driving and lost control of my car and hit the contention wall . I don't hit anyone but my back bumper and front got hit . Will insurance cover for the damage or should I fixed outside of my pocket ?
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Amanda Ram . 2020-02-15
hello I just got crashed into today but i’m not sure who’s fault it was i was trying to get out of a no parking zone and a high school and the speed limit is 10 mph and this guy came out of a curve super fast and crashed into me he said that he didn’t see me trying to get out but like i said he was coming fast. He is a student at the high school. I also just got my car a week ago. Who’s fault would it be?
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Leavon Smith . 2020-01-19
I am a lease contractor of a 18 wheeler truck driver a van hit me,should I call to settle not sure how much coverage they have it was in Iowa,before I rack up med bills and they don’t have enough coverage ,am sure lease company with get there’s how about me
121 2 . Reply
Michelle P . 2020-01-17
I scratched a car from behind while we were in traffic but my car has no damage. Will my insurance go up and do I have to file a claim for my car?
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Carlus White . 2020-01-17
Hi I was at fault and I accident I rear ended a guy now he suing for personal injuries it wasn’t my car but is insured but the guy don’t want his insurance to cover it and the only insurance that I have is in my moms name so what should I do
121 2 . Reply
V Montgomery . 2020-01-16
Yesterday I was in my 1st accident and I believe I’m the one at fault. I was exiting my neighborhood hood trying to turn left and it’s a pretty busy street. I looked left first to check for cars and they were a far distance away from me so I looked to the right and no cars so I felt clear to go and let off the gas. All of a sudden a car slammed into me from the left. I feel I’m to blame because I didn’t check left before going when I should’ve. I’m only 18 though and I’m worried they’ll try to sue me for damages. They seemed ok to me though because not even a minute that I got out of my car, the other driver (he was elderly) started taking pictures of my car and that’s that he kept driving a little after hitting my car. The speed limit is 40 there but the way the impact was and how far he had to keep driving to slow down, do you think they were speeding and would that help my case? I am willing to say it’s my fault but if they were speeding could they also be at fault too?
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TayRockets . 2020-01-16
I was stopped at a stop sign on a side street. I was planning to make a left hand turn onto the Main Street. The traffic light at the end of the street was RED. traffic coming from my left stopped to keep the lane clear. They were stopped behind the beginning of side street, with the rest of the traffic stopped on the other side(Traffic was backed up because of the red light). I saw that there was no more traffic coming from the right side of the main street so I proceeded SLOWLY to make my left hand turn passing the STOPPED TRAFFIC. As soon as I passed the stopped traffic I was hit by a car going atleast 35-40 mph WHICH I COULD NOT SEE BEHIND THE STOPPED TRAFFIC, which was headed to the red light, mind you it was RAINING. From my point of view, it looked like the car went around the stopped traffic, to try and pass them

If I could add, I wouldn’t blame either one of us. I feel like there should not be a stop sign on that street! I think a STOPLIGHT would be better in that area.

With traffic lined up, it was hard for me to see the other lane of traffic. There is no reason for traffic to be lined up behind an intersection for a STOP SIGN! there needs to be a stoplight there on both sides of the street. It is too dangerous
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Bhedger513 . 2020-01-09
Hey I really need to talk to you it's very complicated I'll start off by saying that I only painting company I was in my company truck and I ran into the back of my wife which was in our personal car which is a SUV Suburban I got Geico Insurance when I called them six months ago I asked for a commercial policy well the representative put me under a personal policy which I already had liability coverage being that I was an SR22 driver and plainly stated well they pulled the phone call they said that I was right they said that I asked for commercial insurance so they sent to and just her out to look at the Suburban and they're going to cover that they're also going to cover my wife's medical expenses but being that they never put me under a commercial policy how do they know I wouldn't have got comprehension or Collision and I got a bunch of more questions can you call me at 937-938-0093 please thank you have a good day
121 2 . Reply
Ernest Geh Kenah . 2020-01-04
Hi, I just registered with an insurance company. The same day I hit the back of car because of the slippery road.It was a minor accident with almost no scratches. No injuries, the victim just filed a complaint against my insurance which happens to be the same insurance he is registered to.What can you advise me on this.
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Emily S. . 2020-01-03
My bf rear-ended a woman who then rear-ended another woman in a bottleneck on the freeway in CA (I was not in the car so I did not witness this happen, but he was not drinking or anything; he was driving a standard and did not hit the break in time). The car he was driving was financed and he only had it for 5 months. Luckily he had gap insurance from VW so he did not owe the rest of what was due on his car. It was a total loss.

The woman in front of him was also a total loss, no injuries. I saw her car in the tow yard, it was a mid-2000s Camry.

Apparently the woman in front of this woman was transported to the hospital (I didn't see her car following the accident and don't know what she was driving). Anyway, it seems like Geico (bf's insurance) covered her ambulance and that portion is resolved.

Now, for the cars, one of the women has AAA and the other has Mercury. These insurers have sent letters directly to my bf requesting the money for the cars (AAA wants approx. $12,000 and Mercury wants about $6,000). Their letters CLAIM they have already been in contact with Geico and that Geico will not pay more based on coverage. However, I am finding this hard to believe because we live in California, and for some reason I just have it in my mind that you are required to have high collision/liability due to the area we live in (I also have Geico for my 10 year old car and I pay over $100 a month just for it to sit in my garage -- I hardly drive anywhere but Geico doesn't care - based on my zip code and age I am "higher risk").

I'm trying not to meddle in his situation because it is stressful. I do know that he forwarded the documents he's been receiving from the other insurances to Geico, and Geico says they are in negotiations.

Is it possible that my bf will have to personally pay these women/insurers the requested $18,000? He has not purchased another car following this accident and thankfully does not need one. Are there other options such as declaring bankruptcy? I am stressed about what is to come.
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Mygirlncali . 2020-01-02
Hello! I'm in school and I have to write an essay about a car accident. In the topic, I am at fault and must write a letter to the insurance company. I have to imagine I'm 16 and my parents allowed me to borrow their car for the first time. I stop for lunch in a drive-thru at a taco restaurant and accidentally hit the car in line ahead of me. Any advice on a successful letter?
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Minh Kieu . 2019-12-30
I was at fault for an accident 2 years ago. I had provided my statement to my insurance yet the inspection team did not arrive to estimate my damage, they later denied my claim. Now I’m being threatened by the victim with the lawsuit. I really don’t know what I should do next and need help
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marilou marcial . 2019-12-26
Hi, i was at fault car accident while driving for Lyft. I had two passengers thank god no one was injured. The other driver was ok also and all his airbag went out but none of my airbag went out. My car is totaled and Lyft insurance will only pay cash value of my car. I am injured and no income, however i can't find any attorneys that will take my case. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
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Chee Xiong . 2019-12-13
Flo is a liar Flo is not on my side don't trust Flo
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Lubo D . 2019-11-30
3rd party hit me , rear side fender and passenger door. I do believe he did it intentionally. Have a witness he was sitting the on the side where my car got hit,but because I came from a "give a way" street no one want to deal with my case as everyone believe they cant get their money back. So now I'm guilty without fault. At the moment its going under at fault accident. I think I've discovered a loop whole for insurance frauds.
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Sarah Lee . 2019-11-11
I had a collision with another party. Both of us got fined, no one admitted who's fault it is. I dont have a collision coverage but I file a claim report to my insurance. will insurance still they gonna pay for it?
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moonsmonsters . 2019-11-08
I was found at fault, yes. An 18 wheeler exited the freeway and made a right across two lanes on a one way road. I was right besides him, just a little behind him. He saw me, i asked the officer 3 times because i had barely regained consciousness and needed to make sure. The driver didnt use his turn signal either until he was already making the turn. It all happened so fast yet i remember it vividly. I still get flashbacks. I almost died because of it. I almost lost my arm. I still cant use it 100% i got two hernias in my spine on top of medical bills and stress.
Why? Because he couldnt wait a few seconds for me to pass? Because he couldnt use his turn signal sooner?

I got tickets for unsafe speed but got it dismissed. I have a lawyer but its been about 6 months now. My body still hurts. I already had trouble getting a job before and im even more screwed.

Just trying to stay hopeful
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Damodhar reddy . 2019-11-04
Hi,I had an accident with my frnds car .its my fault and opposite car people got serious injuried .my friend has a third party insurance.now who should pay them .me or my Friend . Does that affect my doing my ms in foreign .my age is 21.help me
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ColdRamen . 2019-10-31
Hello I was not at fault for an accident but a police report claims it was my fault. I’m not sure how to go about fighting this. What should I do?
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Mags rl . 2019-10-23
we live in CA. my son traded in his car when he bought a new one. The dealer was supposed to take care of all the paperwork, sadly, they did not and they actually rented his traded car to someone that had an accident and now, he just got a letter from some lawyers, they are trying to make my son pay $9000 to the car the person crashed. we had no idea this had happened. Is my son liable? please help...
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Ms. Ashleigh . 2019-10-13
I recently hit a car. I didn’t have insurance at the time bc I was going through a bit of a financial crisis. I’m going to call and see if I can settle and set up a payment plan but now I’m afraid it will affect my credit score bc it’s been sent to a collection agency. Will it appear on my credit report? I’ve never been summoned to court or anything and their trying to collect an amount that is tremendously more than what the vehicle is worth! What should I do?
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Karson Million . 2019-10-11
I hit a car, I coudn't see over the car in front of me, so when he went I assumed it was ok to go. It was a red light, so I was hit by a truck. The truck was more or less fine, but the guy driving it didn't own it, he worked at a dealership or car repair shop and was taking the car on a test drive. Could the company sue me? I guess the actual owner couldn't sue me for injury, but what about the guy driving it? Or the company he worked for?
My car was totaled, and I don't think it's going to get fixed by the insurance company. It's sixteen years old.
I have to appear in court, any advice?
121 2 . Reply
Boks Can . 2019-09-20
Hi. I sold a car that got into an accident involving a pedestrian on that same day. Im currently facing a hefty lawsuit as the registered owner at the time of the accident. There was no evidence of sale provided. I only have a police report where the buyer stated that he had just purchased the car minutes before the accident. The car had been removed from my insurance 2 days before the incident. Im not sure if the police report is good enough to get me off the hook when the trial comes. Please help. Thank you.
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Jack Aylward-Williams . 2019-09-18
It’s like a Better Call Saul advert.
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MMA2018 . 2019-09-16
Hello. About a week ago I was involved in a collision, it was raining and i was on a country road going about 45 mph (the speed limit for the area) a car in front of me was turning left, i went to brake and began hydroplaning. I attempted to steer out of the way but was unable to. My front left side hit their back right side. I am 19 years old and have worked as a pizza delivery driver for almost a year. I've been pulled over once in my entire life and that was for loud music(only recieved a warning that day) The cop arrived at the scene, got both sides of the story. He did not give me a ticket. he gave me a court date. Its tomorrow, no one likes going to court, if possible could you give me some sort of summary of what may go down?
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Hyper XD . 2019-09-10
I have a dilemma I am a 17 year old driver and was turning on a green light with a yield on green sign I yield and then went, the car on the other lane had there blinker to turn right but then sped up suddenly into the middle lane with there right blinker on and hit my back right tire scratching the fender and rims. I badly would like to know who’s at fault here. since this is my first accident.
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#YAJAMALU4U . 2019-08-29
How is your fault when the first car stop sunderly? My daughter hit the second car cause it stop going at 50 miles in and intersection. The first car didn't know what way it was going so it jist stop. My daughter said she just look at the time in the car at that moment. Her car is a total lost. No one was injured baddly.
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jenny hernandez . 2019-08-28
Hello! I just got into a car accident yesterday, with a commercial trailer to be specific. The office gave us both tickets. He stated that I was not our fault for making wrong turns. The truck driver had progressive insurance and I had insurance too but had no coverage to it. The trailer had no damage but my car was crushed. No injures. Is there anyway I can get a rental car from his insurance?
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Kelly Stormz . 2019-08-18
Hey Yesterday I Was Involved In An Accident In Memphis TN I Was Driving On The Express Way In Going Northbound I Made A Lane Change , An Tractor Trailer Jumped Behind Me At A High High Rate Of Speed , I Proceeded At The Speed Limit The Traffic Suddenly Went Under The Speed Limit Due To Police Presence I Slowed Down Also The Car In Front Of Me Was Braking So I Braked Her Brake Lights Went Off So We Both Proceeded The Out Of No Where She Braked Hard As Ever And There Was No Reason In Front Of Her Too , The PST Officers Arrived She Was Cited For Suspended License And I Was Cited For Following To Closely And Expired Insurance It Expired Two Days Prior I Didn’t Know I’m A Truck Driver I Had Just Gotten Home The Night Before How Can I Keep This From Going On My Driving Record
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Jason Hernandez . 2019-07-31
Hello; I was at fault for an accident and I’m an excluded driver; the other driver is going to file a claim and I plan on doing so as well; she didn’t require medical assistance immediately and said she was fine. There were no witnesses; I do believe that she is at fault too however because the line for the turn on the highway was moving and she was not and by the time I realized that she wasn’t moving I hit my brakes and there was loose gravel on the highway; my car slid and bumped her vehicle. There are no serious injuries or even serious car damages. The worst part of the accident is part of her fender came undone but she had also let me know that while in Florida with her husband that she was involved in another accident where she wasn’t at fault but didn’t report.
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CeballoZ EriC . 2019-07-30
Hello, I was not at fault of my accident on June 24th this year I had my Vehicle for less than 30 days fresh off the lot. Due to me having 0 credit I put a $4000 down payment to take the car off the lot, I made my first car payment 1 week after the crash I didnt have rental coverage so I ended up losing my job an im negative currently. What should I do? her insurance didnt have enough coverage to pay for my car so I ended up going through my insurance but it was a total loss... So I lost my car basically $4000 an my job. Really need help been stressing alot
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javier barajas . 2019-07-20
Hi so I was at fault for hiring a car on the freeway and now the person almost 4 years later is filing a lawsuit against me asking for over 350,000 dollars for injuries and future injuries there was also a police report on this and I notified my insurance which is farmers. He denied our insurance settlement because he wants more .
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SwiftGmx Swift . 2019-07-18
But you Loose your 2-3 years NCB
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mario vasquez . 2019-07-13
I was hit twice and I contacted the police. One on the rear right then after rear ended. The other driver took off after exchanging info. The police arrived and I gave my statement. I’d contacted my insurance they told me to contact the other driver’s insurance since he had hit me. Shortly after I’d hired an attorney. The police report came back saying that I was at fault. Now my attorney doesn’t want to pursue it. I’m just baffled as to why. Any advice??
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-.- . 2019-07-10
hi i recently crashed my moms car as I was making a left turn. can I get my own insurance or would I have to pay it out of pocket. I also dont know what to do pls help. she has insurance but im not sure if they would help
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MrJ Canada . 2019-06-23
Hi i hit a parked car by accident truck had minor scratches owner is not filling a case...my car took most of the damage, but also when my car was left on the street overnight someone vandalized my car Scratching it all over ...will my insurance cover the damage I have comprehensive coverage coverage ?
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Oscar Sedano . 2019-06-19
Hello, so two years ago i was at fault of an accident in California, the settlement for property damage was token care of and now (two years later) im being demanded 15k for bodily injuries. State farm says i have coverage for 25k property damage and 15k for each persons injuries. I no longer have this vehicle insured with them so would state farm cover this in case the suit goes trough?
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sammy R . 2019-05-30
Hi I really learned a lot from your video. My current and very first situation I was driving on a major street in a Nissan versa hb model . I was behind a Ford f150 driving up the street on the right lane slowing down planning to take a right turn into a residential street but before I did the person in front of me for no apparent reason at all came to a complete stop where there was no sign or light posted. I Immediately asked if she was injured she replied no than minutes later after I hung up on my insurance and i asked again if she was hurt than she started to say her neck hurts again she drives a big Ford 150 and I'm in my small Nissan versa if anything I should be seriously hurt but no i hit my knee a little and walked it off. So who is at fault
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Hei Lab . 2019-05-21
I am at fault of a car accident, which I thought minor, the person was walkie talkie and car was operable, with dent on driver side. During the year of my car accident, I do have additional private car insurance. The Excess third party liability coverage in excess of primary 200,000 liability is $1,800,000 limits. The primary insurance lawyer stated in the letter they advice I get my own lawyer to best protect my rights. Is this still necessary? Because I did not get one. I chose to keep the provided primary insurance lawyer.
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Milkywayproductions . 2019-05-09
If I was making a left turn from a side street to a busy street and couldn’t see to my left due to parked cars and came out and one car stopped and the other hit me, I’m at fault right? And what should I tell my insurance company if this is the case? Also, what if the other person went to the hospital and called my insurance company already?
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Veer Pandher . 2019-05-09
Hi there please help me out I got involved in accident I am driving semi tractor and trailer I got hit from rear by car and it’s a police report which states that I got struck from rear by vehicle 2 but after that accident my commercial insurance going very high now it’s very hard for me to get job because my insurance going too much high please help me what can I do even it’s not my fault I have police report as well but still my insurance is very high. What is the best way to solve this ?
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AyeGisselLa . 2019-04-13
Hi so its been 8 months since my car accident I was 17 at the time and now she's threatening to sue me and it happened August 28, 2018 and my policy is 15k for each person and 30,000 for each total accident and 10,000 for property damage. Everyone I know is telling she's an ambulance chaser because it's been 8 months and she has no merit. I don't know what to do.
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South Side . 2019-03-29
Hi does anyone know anything about Workman’s comp.
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Elia Flores . 2019-03-28
Hi my son had a car accident on the 17th of March. But my insurance didnt reinstated till the 18 and they dont want to pay. It was his fault but he didn't hurt no one he hit a light post what can I do
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The Ramirez Fam . 2019-03-27
I let someone drive my car and we have car insurance she hit a parked car that was on the side of the road because a other was comimg to fast so she had to get out the way the car drove off what will happen?
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Nicole Moua . 2019-03-25
I need help. I was driving..we slide on black ice and a few of us are hurt. My son was air lifted. Our insurance is okay paying our medical bills. But my question.. is this still condsider my fault even though we didn't know there was black ice on the road? And how does body injury works in cause like this??
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Eli Aquino . 2019-03-21
Hello, Can anyone help me or give me kind words to make me feel better. I was in a car accident about 1-2 months ago and it’s my fault. A week ago i received a letter from a attorney saying that the person that i hit wants my phone or any device during the time of accident to get it inspected. also i think i’m being sued.
My insurance also called me and he said i’m not being sued but i believe he said the expenses exceed the policy and now i’m being taken to court so i can pay it out of my pocket. PLEASE someone help, i live FL
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F.B.I • 69 years ago . 2019-03-14
What if you crash into the rail of a bridge but it was because of ice on the road and you dont have insurance im asking because my brother did this and im worried
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