TL:DR, is this insurance company acting in bad faith? Are their actions grounds for a lawsuit? If not, what are the repercussions for what they and their client are doing?
Four months ago, I was sideswiped on the highway. The responding state trooper took statements from both drivers, and upon hearing that they matched and put the other driver at fault, he determined the other driver to be at fault. A visual inspection of damages by the officer put his repair estimate at less than $1,500, which meant the collision was non-reportable and didn't merit a ticket for the other (at fault) driver.
The driver told their insurance (who shall not be named) that I merged into their lane and hit them. This conflicts with what they told the state trooper. At the time, I had liability insurance, and since I was not at fault, my insurance company has refused to touch the claim. I have been dealing with the other insurance company since the day after I was hit, but no matter what evidence arises, they and their client maintain that I hit them.
- I was in traffic moving at what seemed like 30 mph. I was not watching the speedometer when this happened, just maintaining safe distance from the car ahead of me.
- I was travelling in the lane adjacent to the left lane.
- The left lane was in bumper to bumper traffic.
- Suddenly my car was rocked and a loud crunching sound happened. I decelerated, and checked behind me to see a vehicle partially in my lane.
- Since there was a wall of cars on the left, I gestured to the other driver to go to the right shoulder, proceeded there myself, and called the police to send a responder.
Allegedly, their driver has told them that I moved into their lane to cut them off.
Allegedly, their driver maintains this story (as of last week).
Since the damage is on my rear left, they believe that their client is credible as they think it is my blind spot.
- An autobody shop discovered that the impact beam is compromised, and offers no protection anymore. Their estimated repair cost is a minimum of ~$3,700.
- The responding officer maintains that he believes the other driver was at fault. This was based on the statements he heard from both drivers and from his experience of looking at cases like this one.
- The officer has backed this up with notes he took at the scene, which clearly indicate what happened and who is responsible.
- The insurance company reviewed the notes and refused to settle the claim on the grounds that the officer did not witness the crash, and therefore could not have possibly determined the cause.
- The insurance company is downplaying the fact that the officer spoke to both drivers, and is pushing the narrative that it is his opinion based on reviewing damages.
- Despite being told by the officer during a phone call that he spoke to their client as part of his process for determining what happened, the insurance company is now insisting that the officer never spoke to their client. The company is also refusing to make further contact with the officer to clarify once again that he spoke with their client.
- Despite this happening in July, and me generating the claim on the day after the incident, the insurance company took weeks to obtain a statement from their driver.
- It took two months for the insurance company to establish contact with the responding officer. During that time, I had to hound them to reach out to him. They sent 2 emails (one of which had the wrong address and didn't reach him), and made about 3 phone calls where they left voice messages. These calls were made after 4pm, despite me relaying to them multiple times that he works in the morning, and would not be at his desk that late. They said that this was a satisfactory effort on their part to establish communication, and refused any further attempts to reach out. They eventually got in contact because I had to ask the trooper to contact them.
- After speaking with the trooper, the insurance company did not notify me. They also did not answer my phone calls, respond to emails, or respond to voice messages for one month.
- Upon finally getting someone to answer, I was informed that the claims adjuster's boss had spoken with the trooper. I asked them what was said, and they read off their boss's notes that the trooper did not file a report, but did have notes indicating who he thought was at fault. The next day, I got in touch with the boss, and upon asking him what was said during the call, he informed me that there were no notes indicating who the officer thought was at fault. I immediately requested he make a conference call with his employee, who opened the call notes again, and told me for the second time that there was no report, but there were notes. The boss asked the employee what they were reading, to which they replied these were the notes taken by the boss. The boss told her to read it again, to which they read the same thing for the third time. The boss reprimanded her, stating that there were no notes. The employee flatly stated that they had read the transcript incorrectly, and that the trooper had not offered any notes. The trooper later insisted that he had offered the boss his notes from that day, and that the boss had declined to accept them.
- After three months of requesting these notes for myself, I finally obtained them. Upon presenting them to the boss, he claimed that I had never instructed the insurance company to obtain these notes, but that I had requested something else. I have a saved email where I clearly tell them to acquire anything and everything generated by the trooper from that day.
- After the insurance company denied the damage images I sent them, the testimony of the officer, and the personal notes of the officer, I was forced to fill out an FOIA request to obtain audio recordings from the officer's body mic. What I received is unusable (13 seconds of audio while the officer is driving to the scene), as the officer's mic was not functioning.
- This request was delayed because the insurance company promised to fill out the request, but then a week later denied having done so, saying that I had promised to fill it out.
- I save all my emails and record all my phone calls. The two members of the insurance company self identify themselves when I call, so I can prove that I am speaking to them, and that what I tell you they said is what they said.
Grievances against insurance company
- Their lack of effort in establishing initial communication with the state trooper. This led to him remembering the details of the accident less clearly, and having to rely on his notes.
- Their poor attempts at performing an investigation of this claim.
- They refused to contact their client in the aftermath, saying that the client was on vacation.
- They habitually misaddress emails and calls, leading to longer lead times for information.
- They refused my numerous offers to inspect my vehicle.
They refused to peruse the officer's notes, and refused to obtain them when offered by the officer.
The boss at the insurance company says that it is impossible to tell who is at fault from the damages, despite the officer maintaining that the damages show it is the fault of the other driver.
They made no attempts to contact me after speaking with the officer, and did not respond to me for a month.
They habitually claim that people did or said things contrary to what they actually did or said.
They refuse to contact the officer when there are disputes over whether or not the officer told them something.
The boss reprimanded his employee, telling her to change her statement about the existence of notes from the officer. The new statement contradicts what she she told me three times on different days, and what the officer says he told the boss.
After denying all the evidence I and the officer provide them, the insurance company is telling me that they will not settle my claim. They haven't approved or denied it, nor have they contacted my insurance company, despite claiming I am responsible. The boss at the company keeps challenging me to take his client to court. Surely their poor actions in this matter merit some form of repercussion, right? If I do go to court, can I add charges for more than the estimated cost of repairs? Charges for having to jump through all the hoops set up by the company.