Is this a bad faith insurance claim?

by stephanie G
(san jose, ca. 95127 USA)

I got hit by a car who was stopped for a pedestrian at a shopping center driveway. I was stopped completely on my bike on the sidewalk I waited till he looked in my direction. I then proceeded 2 pedal when i believed we latched eyes next thing I know is my ankle was being smashed by the bumper of his car. It’s a bit foggy until i was picking myself up from the middle of the 1st lane of the street along with my bike.

I was in san jose, ca. which has no law permitting bicyclist from riding on the sidewalk. This happened on dec 14. At first I was plain out denied for riding my bike on the sidewalk but after I tried 2 explain that its not illegal she said she would get back to me. Which she then came up with 50/50 liability for riding my bike illegally going against traffic on a sidewalk which

i have so many emails, proof in articles in the newspapers, court hearings, and even 2 separate emails from the traffic safety of san jose & the official who is in charge of pedestrian & bicycle laws in san jose streets stating in detail that there is no law in san jose that prohibits riding with or against the flow of traffic.

So now its been a month in a half that i've proven without a doubt that i did nothing wrong... in return i would get this our liability 50/50 stands.... i went to explain my side 2 her supervisor who sent me a link with tons of vehicle codes in ca. non 2 which had anything to do with my accident n said u can find what im looking 4 in the link below....

When I asked her 2 provide me with the exact code i violated or which makes it illegal 2 ride a bike on the sidewalk in san jose... i asked over & over for the exact law i broke that determined there reason 4 putting me 50% liable 4 this accident.

All of a sudden my adjuster was out of work 4 the next 4 work days... as the supervisor stated she will be back on the 28th with the exact violation code & specific reason for the 50/50 liability.

Now she comes back stating our liability in this claim stands for any reasonable person would see that a car was trying to move fw into the street and basically wouldn’t have went in front of a motor vehicle coming out of a driveway LIABILITY STANDS…

Now here is my dilemma for over a month and a half i have been stressing everyday emailing & doing everything in my power 2 prove that riding a bicycle on the sidewalk in san jose, ca. was not illegal.

So i wasn’t liable whatsoever n now that i proved it without a doubt she comes back from 4 days off with a completely different reason 4 her decision made a month & a half earlier & cont. until the day the day she left for 4 days.

My question is IS THIS LEGAL? CAN THEY LEGALLY DO THAT PROLONG MY CLAIM and JUST CHANGE the reason so long after? is this a bad faith claim possibly? please help im so stuck

Answer by Guy Parrinello

I am not licensed in California so I can’t provide advice as to the vehicle code. It sounds like you are pretty sure you are right about the sidewalk issue, and kudos to you on all of that research.

What I will say is this: an insurance company’s job is to try to pay you as little as possible, and preferably nothing, when you are in an accident with their insured. In New York state, the insurance company can take any position it wants during claim negotiation and claim any reason it wants to deny or reduce payment on your claim. It may or may not be the same in California, but my guess is that it is.

In my opinion, the best way to deal with this type of problem and relieve yourself of the months of stressing is to find a local accident attorney to handle the claim for you. The insurance company’s “decision” on liability is not law, it is open to argument on both sides.

A good local accident attorney will know all of the law in your area and will know exactly what evidence is needed to prove the fault of the driver crossing the sidewalk. Your stressing can come to an end, and your attorney will worry (and work) on your behalf. Good luck with your claim.

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