Without knowing more details and reviewing the relevant insurance policies, it’s impossible for me to accurately answer this question.
Generally speaking, the driver (you) will be responsible for paying any damages that you cause. However, there are a couple of insurance policies that might cover the damages:
- Your personal auto insurance policy might cover damages to the rental car.
- The auto insurance policy that the trucking school purchased from the rental car company (if any) might cover the damages (this is usually dependent on whether the coverage includes your person, your belongings, the vehicle itself, or all three).
- Your credit card might provide coverage for damage to the rental car.
I would recommend reviewing the relevant policies and contacting the insurance adjusters to determine coverage. If you’re still not clear about coverage, you can meet with an attorney in your area.
I am so sorry for your loss.
As you know, in Missouri, a tier system is used to determine who can file a wrongful death lawsuit. As the mother or father of the deceased, you fall into tier 1. Tier 1 includes the deceased’s surviving spouse, parents, children, or, if the children are deceased, the children’s descendants (i.e., grandchildren).
The jury is tasked with awarding the survivors or the estate damages as they deem “fair and just.” Factors the jury may consider include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical bills
- The value of wages and benefits the deceased would likely have earned if she had lived (If the deceased was a child, the value of “lost wages” is based on the earnings of the child’s parent or parents), and
- The reasonable value of the services, consortium, companionship, comfort, instruction, guidance, counsel, training, and support the deceased person would have provided to surviving family members
In order to hold your husband liable for her injuries, the motorcyclist needs to prove that your husband created an unreasonable risk of harm. More specifically, she needs to establish negligence by proving 3 elements:
- Duty. The motorcyclist must prove that your husband owed her a duty of care. In general, people owe a duty to adhere to a standard of reasonable care while performing acts that could foreseeably harm others. For example, drivers owe all others on the road the duty to exercise reasonable care to avoid harming them.
- Breach. The motorcyclist must prove that your husband breached the standard of care.
- Causation. The motorcyclist must prove that her injury was caused by your husband’s breach of the standard of care.
In this case, it doesn’t sound like your husband acted unreasonably. He looked before he backed up and stopped before he made contact with the woman. Although the woman certainly has a right to sue your husband, I think she would have a very difficult time proving that your husband was negligent.
It wouldn’t hurt to obtain the security footage and the contact information for any witnesses, but it’s hard for me to say how likely it is the woman will file a lawsuit without knowing more.
I’m sorry this happened to you.
When an insurance company “totals” a vehicle, they pay you the vehicle’s actual cash value in the form of a check. Generally, the insurance company will then take your vehicle to a salvage yard and the insurance company will keep the money it receives from the salvage yard. The insurance company’s rights in this regard are detailed in the auto insurance policy.
You can certainly negotiate with your insurance company. For example, you might ask your insurance company to provide you with the fair market value of the truck, less the money the insurance company would likely receive from the salvage yard. In exchange, you would be able to keep the truck.
Assuming you were not at fault for the accident, you have 3 options:
- File an insurance claim with your own insurance company (in which case your insurance company will seek reimbursement from the at-fault driver’s insurance company),
- File a third-party insurance claim directly with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, or
- File a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Keep in mind that there are certain steps you need to take before you can file a personal injury lawsuit against a government agency, and the deadline to file a claim may be shorter. If you choose to go this route, I would strongly recommend meeting with an attorney as soon as possible. You can locate an attorney in your area using our free online directory.
In almost all cases, if you give your friend permission to drive your vehicle and they crash your vehicle, your car insurance will cover the accident. However, in Ohio, your car insurance company can reduce the coverage limits if your friend is not listed on your policy.
If the accident is not covered by your insurance, then your friend (the person responsible for the accident) is liable for any damages to the semi-truck.
To summarize, the situation you’re describing (where the accident wasn’t covered and you owe the insurance company money) doesn’t sound right. I would recommend reaching out to an attorney in your area so they can review your insurance policy and the facts of the case. Most initial consultations are free and the attorney should be able to tell you whether you’re liable for any damages.
Thank you for your question.
You can file a personal injury lawsuit:
- In the state where the accident occured, or
- In the state(s) where the defendant resides.
You didn’t mention where the accident occurred. But if the accident occurred in Delaware, you should hire a lawyer and file suit in Delaware.
Alternatively, you can file a lawsuit where the defendant resides. In this case, the defendant is the company the truck driver was working for when the heating unit totaled your car. A company is considered to reside in the following states: (1) the state where the company is incorporated, and (2) the state where the company primarily performs its business (i.e., the principal place of business). In some cases, you may be able to file a lawsuit in the states where the company does a “substantial amount” of business.
If you need help locating an attorney, consider using our free online directory.
I’m sorry this is happening to you.
Insurance companies are permitted a reasonable amount of time to investigate an insurance claim. In Oregon, insurers have 30 days to acknowledge a claim and another 45 days after that to approve or deny a claim.
Based on the information you provided, it’s not clear whether your insurance company has ultimately accepted or denied your claim. If you believe your insurance company wrongly denied your claim, you can contact an attorney using our free online directory in order to file a bad faith lawsuit.
Most insurance companies provide rental cars while the insured vehicle is being repaired. I would check your auto insurance policy to see if this is an option.