Liberty Mutual Insurance Co Complaint - Denied claim when their insured is clearly at fault
IRVING, TEXAS -- My daughter (not yet 18) was returning from a birthday dinner with her classmates on a Friday night October 29, 2010 (dark & after 8pm) and proceeded to make a tight right turn at intersection (Alma & Hedgcoxe bordering Plano and Allen, TX) while light was green to her. She had to and was turning slowly when the light turned yellow & her car got hit on driver side by a truck making left turn (He had "yield on green to make left sign" with no protected left arrow). My daughter's car driver fender got pushed in, driver mirror knocked loose and driver door could not be opened. Driver side light cracked and bumper cracked and came loose by the hit to fender. The truck had damage to passenger side. There was no apparent injuries and other driver apparently called 911 but 911 apparently did not send any help. My daughter knew that she had right of way and did not call us or insist on getting cops come and make a report. She had passengers who witnessed the truck come and hit them. She exchanged insurance info with the truck driver who claimed she turned wide. Being inexperienced and in-shock she did not ask for truck driver's license info and get truck license plate number. Just when she was about to leave the scene (10 to 20 minutes past collision), a woman arrived at the scene and was seen chatting friendly with the truck driver. My daughter came out through passenger door and asked who she was. The woman said she is a witness & placed blame on my daughter and scribbled her name and phone number.
When my daughter came home, we were shocked and went to the scene to understand what had occurred. We went to Allen police who had jurisdiction and were told that they would have come if dispatch had been informed. They asked us to file an accident report with state and deal with insurance companies. We called Liberty Mutual (insurer of other driver) and made a claim same night. Our daughter had back pain and we called Liberty Mutual next day to inform this and that she will see her doctor. My daughter's doctor said pain is muscle spasm from accident and would subside and it did. A claim representative from Liberty Mutual told me to take the car to their body shop (Caliber in Plano) to get pictures of damage taken. I told him vehicle driver door cannot be opened, but he said it would take many days for them to send someone to take pictures. I drove it to their body shop by entering from passenger side and had pictures taken by Caliber. This was Monday after accident. In the meantime Liberty Mutual transferred our claim to a different representative because of the injury report. We tried calling the witness who had scribbled her name and left voice messages. We also called our insurance (Amica) and reported the incident. The insurance said the passengers in our daughter's car are not considered witnesses!!!
The new representative from Liberty Mutual told me that their insured had stopped to make left turn and light turned red and turned left to clear the intersection at which point my daughter hit him. I reiterated that my daughter had green light and was turning when truck hit her car. I also questioned since when it was legal to turn left after light had turned red. The lady just hung up. I informed to both insurance companies that we felt witness is suspected acquaintance of other driver. I called again on Thursday (6 days after accident) to find out status of our claim. She said their insured had not yet taken the truck for pictures and I questioned why it was taking so long when we took our car with driver door stuck day after. Rep said their driver needed time. I told her I will seek a lawyer. I called again on Tuesday (11 days after accident) and got a message that representative was in training until Friday. I spoke with another representative and manager's voicemail requesting expedient handling. On Thursday (13 days after accident) Liberty mutual claims representative called and told me that our daughter had turned wide and hit their insured after he had cleared the intersection, they had a witness to this effect and are basing on pictures taken of damage and they were denying our claim. When I tried to argue, she got upset & said I had not scene the damage to their insured truck and she has seen pictures. I told her we will appeal. She said she will send a letter which we got on following Wednesday (19 days after accident). I decided to take pictures of our car's damage and started repairs from a mobile body shop.
The letter provided claim rep's email to provide additional info and I emailed to both insurance companies many times. First and most important my daughter had right of way. Second no witness could assert wide turn as no lane markers were there for few hundred feet at the collision point especially at night. (I have pictures & video taken during daylight that show no lanes can be seen). Third damage to side our car indicates my daughter's car front did not directly hit the truck side as said by Liberty Mutual. Our insurance Amica told us that they cannot help us with our claim to Liberty mutual as we did not have collision coverage from Amica (car was 6 years old with 132000 miles), but they have claim from truck driver. Amica asked us to get passenger in my daughter's car to call and the passenger called twice and left message. My daughter & passengers involved attend high school. Amica is concerned that if they deny other driver claim there may be a small claims suit. I feel my daughter has no fault and Amica should refuse to pay other drivers claim. Let us see what happens.
We (self, daughter, wife, passengers in car at the time of accident) are shocked at how Liberty Mutual and their insured have denied liability for the collision. We consulted several lawyers who said unless we had more injury they cannot help us on a contingency basis. Liberty Mutual has not responded to our emails questioning their decision and providing info that disputes it.
THIS IS GROSS INJUSTICE. In our 3 decades of driving we never denied admitting fault when we were at fault for any accident and we never had problems with insurance when other driver was at fault, until this one. Liberty Mutual and their insured is taking advantage of situation (no police report, a friendly witness that appeared very late on scene & who has not returned our calls, misinterpretation of pictures to their advantage) when their insured clearly failed to yield right of way and caused the collision. There should be no fault for a driver turning right with green light. We wish the same treatment happens to these fraudulent insurance companies and claims personnel where they get hit when turning on right at green light by someone who ran red light while turning left and they are held at fault by their insurance investigators.
We will sue Liberty Mutual in Collin County Small Claims court for repair costs (quote obtained from Caliber), doctors fees, loss of use of car, pain & suffering.