How do I dispute car insurance liability decisions?

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Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Mar 2, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...
  • Supporting documents and pictures can help you win your case in disputing fault after an accident
  • If you don’t get anywhere with your adjuster, you should ask to speak with the supervisor
  • A lawyer can help guide you through the dispute process
  • If you feel that the insurance company is not acting in good faith, you can file a complaint

Having to dispute car insurance liability decisions can feel like rubbing salt in wounds sustained during a car accident.

If you have been found at-fault in an accident but believe that you are not, in fact, responsible, you will have to go through a painful dispute process as you work to convince the car insurance company to reverse its decision.

The more organized and motivated you are, the more likely it is that you will be able to influence a car insurance liability decision in your favor.

Read on to learn some tips for disputing auto insurance liability decisions and then enter your ZIP above to start comparing car insurance!

Supply Evidence in Writing


The first step in disputing a car insurance liability decision is to write a letter that outlines all the details of the case and explains why you think an error was made in assigning liability.

While you will also want to speak to an adjuster over the phone or in person, writing a letter first will help you gather your thoughts in a clear and thorough manner.

This letter should include all evidence in your favor, including:

  1. Documentation – Be sure to attach copies of all paperwork acquired. Making a statement in your letter is one thing, but being able to back it up with documentation adds credibility. Police reports, renderings of the scene, and statements from the driver of the other vehicle are examples of such documentation.
  2. PhotosPhotos could help your case tremendously. Photos of the damage and the overall scene help the insurance companies understand what happened. Getting close to the damage with photographs of the details is a good idea, as is snapping pictures of larger sections of the scene so that all those details can be put in context.
  3. Witnesses – It can bode well for your case if you are able to give the name and contact information of an impartial witness to the accident who can vouch for you.

Speak with the Adjuster

Once you are able to relate your story in a clear and substantiated way, contact the adjuster who assessed responsibility to you. The adjuster should listen to your side of the story and review his or her own records of the accident.

If the decision does not change in your favor, you should speak with the adjuster’s superiors. A new set of ears to listen to your story may be just what you need to get the decision overturned.

Get a Lawyer

If you have not done so already, it would be wise to employ the services of a legal professional who has experience in the area of car accidents.

A lawyer will be able to guide you through the maze of car insurance that you may not otherwise be able to find your way out of. A lawyer will also be necessary if you decide to sue the car insurance company, which may be your last hope when it comes to disputing a liability decision.

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Good Faith

You should be aware that there are many protections instituted by insurance providers, states, and the national government to guard against unfair liability decisions.

Insurance companies are required to decide claims in a fair and timely manner and, most importantly, in good faith.


If things still don’t go your way, you can take your complaint to the state body that oversees all insurance matters. Most insurance departments require that you make your complaint in writing.

You should receive a letter confirming receipt of your complaint and an update as to its review status.

Pay close attention to the investigator’s name and the file number assigned to your case, as you will be asked for that information every time you get in touch with the insurance department regarding this matter.

Once the insurance department’s investigator hears back from the car insurance company involved in the dispute, he or she will evaluate all the information and decide how best to proceed.

Finding the Best Car Insurance

The key to avoiding hassles related to the dispute of car insurance liability decisions is finding a trustworthy car insurance company. Good faith starts with knowing that you can trust a company even before you sign a contract.

To find a car insurance provider with a solid reputation and a proven record, try our online quote comparison tool. Just enter your ZIP in the box below!

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