The previous post provided an example of a case wherein the insurance company admitted that its insured was 100% at fault, yet was quibbling over the amount of damages which would adequately compensate him. However, we often encounter cases wherein the insurance company is denying liability on the part of its insured from the outset.
The following letter was submitted to an insurance company which vociferously denied that its insured was at-fault in a car wreck. Our client was traveling southbound on Wetmore Road, and the at-fault driver (of a large bus) turned in front of us from a private driveway.
Although the case sounds straightforward, especially with the unanimous support of multiple independent witnesses, the insurance company (Liberty Mutual) still had the audacity to deny any and all fault on the part of its insured. However, you will notice that our client's own insurance company (Progressive) provided us with some key information -- in the form of a recorded statement from one of the witnesses -- which aided us in preparing our case against Liberty Mutual and the at-fault driver. This variation on the old "good cop, bad cop" routine illustrates an important point. To wit, under Texas law, your own insurance company has a duty of good faith and fair dealing to you as its insured, while the other driver's insurance company is under no such duty to you. Accordingly, scenarios such as this -- wherein one's own insurance company provides valuable assistance in asserting a claim, while the other driver's insurance company wrongly denies fault/liability -- are all too common.
If you are facing a similar situation, against an unreasonably stubborn insurance company, call the attorneys here at at Dreyer & Mazaheri. We boldly stand up to the bullying tactics of these insurance companies, and gladly go the extra mile in seeking justice for our clients.
VIA FACSIMILE TRANSMISSION
LIBERTY MUTUAL FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY
P.O. Box 7214
London, KY 40742-7214
Re: Our Client: Xxxxxx Xxxx
Your Insured: Xxxxx Xxxxxxxxx, L.P.
Claim Number: AB949-252168-01
Date of Accident: 08/10/2012
Dear Ms. Xxxxxxx:
At the outset, please allow me to be perfectly candid in telling you that I am befuddled by Liberty Mutual's failure to accept liability on behalf of Xxxxx Xxxxxxxxx and her employer, Xxxxxx Xxxxxxxxxx, L.P., in connection with the above-referenced claim. Accordingly, the purpose of this letter is to provide a succinct, cogent, and accurate summary of the facts and Texas law, in the event they have somehow been misrepresented to you.
1. Ms. Xxxx held the right-of-way under the Texas Transportation Code. The Texas
Transportation Code is abundantly clear regarding the duties devolving upon Ms. Xxxxxxxxx. To wit, Section 545.155 provides as follows:
VEHICLE ENTERING HIGHWAY FROM PRIVATE ROAD OR DRIVEWAY. An operator about to enter or cross a highway [FN1] from an alley, building, or private road or driveway shall yield the right-of-way to a vehicle approaching on the highway to be entered.
Based upon the foregoing, I am sure you will agree with me that Ms. Xxxxxxxxx had a duty to yield the right-of-way to Ms. Xxxx. Simply stated, Ms. Xxxx was traveling upon a busy and heavily-trafficked, 4-lane road adjacent to the airport, which carries a speed limit of 45 miles per hour. Meanwhile, Ms. Xxxxxxxxx was attempting to maneuver a large, plodding bus – not exactly the fleetest or most nimble of vehicles – into the flow of oncoming traffic on this busy roadway. A reasonable and prudent driver in the position of Ms. Xxxxxxxxx would never have attempted to enter the roadway with multiple vehicles approaching from her left, and I can think of no set of circumstances which would justify this conduct, aside from some sort of emergency situation – of which there was none.
So that you may more fully appreciate and visualize the location of this accident, I have enclosed two aerial views of the site, marked as Exhibits A-1 and A-2, as well as a street-level view from the perspective of Ms. Xxxx, marked as Exhibit B.
2. Three unbiased eyewitnesses place 100% liability on Ms. Xxxxxxxxx. Enclosed herewith,
and marked as Exhibits C, D, and E, respectively, are the handwritten eyewitness statements of Xxxxxxx Xxxxxxx, Xxxxxx Xxxxxxxx, and Xxxxxx Xxxxxxx. These statements speak for themselves, and as you can see, all three eyewitnesses are not only unanimous but also unabashed in their condemnation of Ms. Xxxxxxxxx's driving.
I invite you to contact all these individuals, and listen to their accounts firsthand. [FN2] I assure you that a jury will find them all to be extremely credible, as they are well spoken and articulate, and have no interest whatsoever in this case aside from their desire that the truth be told and that justice be served. In addition, we are in the process of obtaining eyewitness statements from two of the passengers on the bus – Xxxx Xxxxxxx and Xxx Xxxxxxx, both of whom reside in Guatemala City, Guatemala. It is our understanding that their statements will mirror those of Mr. and Mrs. Xxxxxxxx and Mr. Xxxxxxx, and if necessary, it will be quite easy to take their depositions telephonically in the event their testimony is needed at trial.
In sum, this is a very simple case. Ms. Xxxxxxxxx pulled out of a driveway onto a busy street, in front of a stream of cars lawfully traveling at approximately 45 miles per hour, when she had no right to do so. There is no doubt in my mind that a Bexar County jury will assess 100% liability on Ms. Xxxxxxxxx, and the only issue will be the extent of her damages. While I understand that Liberty Mutual has a duty to fully investigate this claim, my client refuses to be “hung out to dry,” and she has instructed us to file a lawsuit by the end of next week if these negotiations continue to languish.
Please advise us as to your intentions as soon as possible. You may contact me at (210) 472-1400 or [email protected] to discuss the claim more fully.
Very truly yours,
Dain A. Dreyer
[FN1] Wetmore Road indeed qualifies as a highway, as Section 221.001(1) provides: “‘Highway' includes a tolled or nontolled public road or part of a tolled or nontolled public road and a bridge, culvert, building, or other necessary structure related to a public road.”
[FN2]It is my understanding that Mrs. Xxxxxxxxx has attempted to contact your office in order to provide a recorded statement, but apparently she was rebuffed on the grounds that the police report does not mention her. If true, this is preposterous, as I assure you she will be allowed to testify in front of a jury, regardless of whether the investigating officer elected to include witness names in his report or not.
Nevertheless, Ms. Xxxx's own insurance carrier, Progressive, was interested in fully investigating the facts of this case – and obtained a recorded statement from Mrs. Xxxxxxxx shortly after the accident occurred. Progressive was kind enough to provide us with a transcript of the statement, and I have included it as Exhibit F.