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At fault drivers insurance delaying paying

#1
new jersey
I was hit by a woman while making a left turn onto a busy 4 lane road. I had a green arrow and she went through the light and broad sided me in the drivers door. She was issued two tickets. One for running a red light and one for failure to yield. Her insurance company won't settle yet. They are saying that THEIR client said she had a yellow light and had the right to clear the intersection. If her tickets don't hold up in court am I screwed? Obviously we both can't be right, but they will take her word because they don't want to pay. Do I have any recourse such as suing her in small claims court? Help!
 


#2
No, you aren't screwed. The standard of proof will be lower in civil court than for the ticket.

And yes you can sue in small claims or other civil court. There is no requirement you wait until the ticket case is finished.
 

ALawyer

Senior Member
#4
First, assuming no one was injured -- or claims to have been injured -- in the accident, from the viewpoint of the other driver's insurance company it's just a minor claim involving who will bear the cost to repair one or both of the cars, and perhaps cover the cost of a temporary rental car or two. That's small potatoes, unless you were driving a relatively new or expensive car, in which case you'd probably have had collision coverage, and let your insurance company handle things..

Second, the other driver's insurance company doesn't know who to believe and while the issuance of a ticket to its driver is a factor, unless the officer saw the event it's unlikely to ultimately be dispositive.

Third, the other driver's insurer would be really concerned (as would your own insurance company -- so I hope you reported the accident your own carrier on a timely basis) if there were a meaningful possibility of a personal injury claim. That you didn't retain a lawyer -- and during those "how are you?" conversations with its claims adjuster you probably repeatedly acknowledged that neither you nor anyone in your car was injured -- suggests to them that that the worst that would happen is you'd bring the claim in small claims court where it would be your word against the other driver's. And it also knows that if you go to small claims court on your own, if it can have its counsel appear (and whether it can or not depends on your state's laws) to represent its insured the odds would be strongly in its favor.

Fourth, it also knows few if any lawyers would take on a mere property damage claim. That's why having collision insurance makes sense, as you'd simply file the claim with your own insurance company and it would pay to make repairs (less the deductible). It would then seek payment from the other driver's insurer, and in that insurer to insurer matter, the fact that the other driver received a ticket would be more persuasive. Your carrier might even recover the deductible and refund that to you as well.
 
#5
The disposition of the tickets won't necessarily help or hurt you.
I disagree. If the courts determine she in fact had a yellow light or was not guilty of running a red light, op is screwed.


Dezelsky1. In this traffic light situstion, do the green turn lights come after the straight through traffic’s row has ended or are you talking about cross traffic?
 

doucar

Junior Member
#6
I disagree. The court will not determine whether the light was red or yellow. It will only determine if there is enough evidence that the light was red.
 
#7
I disagree. The court will not determine whether the light was red or yellow. It will only determine if there is enough evidence that the light was red.
Which plays into the other party’s claim they didn’t run a red light

A plaintiff is required to prove their case. The defendant simply needs to defend asserted claims. Unless the op can prove the other party ran a red light or it was more likely than not they did, op cannot prevail in court.

If the other party is found guilty of the tickets, op has a slam dunk case. If the other party prevails in defending the tickets, it becomes that much harder for op to prove their case. Granted nobody is deemed innnocent, having a court state there is not evidence to find them guilty means proof of op’s claim is very limited.

Without witnesses or something other than op’s word, op is going to lose their case in court.
 
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