Legal Question in Insurance Law in Virginia

I was in a horrible car accident that left my vehicle totaled, and after many long thorough investigations by VA state police and the both insurance companies investigation teams it had been determined/proven the other driver/vehicle was at fauit and cause of the accident due to not having the right of way onto the road. Since the other vehicles driver/owner was found as the negligent party, there insurance company accepted and took 100% responsibility/liability for the entire accident and all damages incurred. The incident took place on August 29 of 2017, it was not untill November 21 that the insurance company taking full responsibility finally contacted me by phone. At this time I was finally being informed that they were definitely taking 100% full responsibility for the accident and would be providing me with a rental vehicle temporarily until settlement/arrangements for my car at the tow yard were made. I had no option but to wait and make due while I was out of a vehicle and had been doing without a vehicle that entire time. My only choice was to rely and depend on others to get me wherever I was needing to go, having to arrange for others to provide me with any/all transportation during the time period of 8/29-11/21 was not easy or free. When picking up the rental, on the same day after hearing from the insurance company for the first time during everything, I was told ditectly by the rental companies employee everything had been set up with them through the insurance company for me so I could get into the rental vehicle that day. Also, I was told nothing extra was needed or asked of/from me by the rental company nor did the insurance company inform me of anything about the agreement made or different from the rental company prior to arriving to pick the rental up. Nothing was asked of/from me nor told to me to have for the rental company upon pick up reguarding my personal insurance information or policy by either the insurance or rental companies. Nothing had been told/asked from me nor been said/made clear to me about an agreement that had been made prior to my knowledge and/or involvement with the vehicle between the two companies. Also neither of the two companies read, discussed or went over any of the information within the agreement prior to pick up or during the time I was at the rentals office. From my standpoint and understanding of the situation I was being completely put under the impression and had been lead to believe that the insurance company did in fact take care of everything properly with the rental company as far as fair, legal, and appropriate terms in the agreement/policy went with me as the registered/approved driver. With the lack of important information given to me prior or during pick up and even more important options/services not

offered or even mentioned I feel as if I was mistreated, seen as an unimportant or unwanted customer, and neglected to be informed of the proper information by both of the companies/parties involved. There was no mention from either company about any types of additional "insurance or coverage" policies that could have been added to the vehicle during the rental duration. I was completely unaware and uninformed about the extra insurance/coverage not being on the rental nor that the insurance company declined to pay for any of the extra coverage. I was told and will quote what was said to me by the rental company employee I was "all set and good to go, everything's been set up and covered through the insurance company. I asked the employee of the rental company, more then once, other the the $1 that was charged to my debit card did I need to pay, sign up for, or add anything to the agreement policy out of my pocket before leaving the rental company office.... The employee said no I was all set to go once again, and reassured me the insurance company had taken care of everything. All that was asked of me before leaving the rental company with the vehicle was to sign and initial a small tablet (not even actual paper forms/contracts) that now I know was the agreement made prior to my arrival between the two company's. The rental company employee told me what I was signing was for being charged $1 so they would have my information in the event I kept the vehicle past the date the insurance company was paying for it or if i smoked in the vehicle there was additional clean up charges I would have to pay out of pocket. After initializing that I understood those two potential out of pocket charges I was asked to sign my name for the purpose that I was whom I claimed to be and I was the appropriate/only person the insurance company was paying/providing the rental car to. Almost a month later right before the rental was due back I hit a deer. I called the police and had a proper report done for the rental company and insurance as well. This is where it gets complicated..... I only have a Liability policy with my personal insurance company, they told me the other company was responsible & required to check on what type of coverage I have and if my policy doesn't have collision they were responsible for paying the extra coverage to the rental company. Obviously they didn't look at my policy nor did the pay the extra to the rental company when they set up the rental agreement. However, in the fine print of the agreement the rental company sent via email it says if something occurs to a vehicle & the extra coverage options are not offered it falls back on the rental company to pay for the repairs. Bottom line is I dont feel as if i should have to pay or be held responsible to pay the rental company for the damage caused from the deer hit. I am aware I was the one driving and it was rented to me by another insurance company, but from what my personal insurance company said in VA in a situation like this where the other parties at fault and there company takes 100% responsibility either they should have to pay for the repairs (since i would never even been in the rental had there client not caused the initial accident & caused my vehicle to get totaled) or the rental company is responsible since the also neglected to check my personal policy nor offered or even mentioned any kind of additional coverage through them or had i been informed i could had added collision to my policy temporarily while in the rental & it would have been covered through my policy. What are your personal & professional thoughts, opinion's, and suggestion's on what i can legally do and whom is ultimately responsible to pay the repairs in this type of situation??? I know it probably sounds confusing but this aint even 1/4 of the entire mess of a situation. My "personal injury lawyer" is not much help.... Really wishing i would have chosen another, better law firm for the entire case, still haven't settled for the loss of my vehicle.... Just a bit of advice to others with questions that come across this, be very careful & picky when you make a choice on car insurance companies and legal representatives. Thank you to the ones who take the time to read this and send/respond with advice and suggestion's, any & all is greatly appreciated

Asked on 1/14/18, 1:12 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Michael Hendrickson Law Office Michael E. Hendrickson

I would recommend that you follow the advice that your "personal insurance company said in VA in a situation like this", and stick with it.

Office Tel. (703) 838-5577

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Answered on 1/16/18, 8:08 am

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