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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 90247
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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Hello, I was recently involved in a car accident on

Customer Question

Hello,

I was recently involved in a car accident on Monday July 15th around 11am. I was just finishing up track and Field practice, and was now on my way to work. As I was pulling out of the parking lot, another vehicle hits me from behind. Note: Being a student at the time of purchasing my car, I was only able to afford liability (yes I know, not so good). On the other hand, the gentleman who hit me was driving a state vehicle, which of course is fully insured. He admitted the entire accident was his fault because he was speeding. Shortly after the police show up, they start talking pictures of the accident, as well as marking the positions of the cars on the floor, while taking down notes for the official police report. One of the officers who had finished speaking to the other gentleman, pulls me aside and tells me the man who hit me admitted fault to the whole accident, but would still like to hear my side of it. I simply told him, I had just finished track practice, and was on my way to work. As I was looking over my shoulder, and slowly letting the wheels roll, I get hit from behind the second my back end was exposed. I tell the officer I'm not at fault because he was going so fast that the impact forced my back end to swing, making my car face a totally different direction.

Insurance information was exchanged, but I did not get the gentleman's insurance info directly from him, instead the officer told me all that information will be available in the police report/case number. All I received from the gentleman was his CDL, and a business card containing his address as well as a phone number. I called my insurance company and told them what had happened. The following morning I had an appraiser visit me at home and take pictures of the damage. He said the cost of repair exceeds the value of the car. Before leaving he told me I will be receiving a phone call from someone from my insurance company who will take an official report, once they get all the data he collected.

The next day I get that call, it was a lady who recorded our conversation, as I was retelling the events of that day. When we finished, she stopped the recorder and asked if I had any questions from her. I told her I've never been in an accident, so I'm not sure where to go from here. She said she will be contacting the gentleman who hit me, and get his side of the story, as well as his insurance information, and then she will get back to me to give me that info, so I can proceed with calling his insurance company to file a claim. I don't know how slow this process is, but I still haven't heard from her, and it's been a week. I do remember one very important detail during our conversation, that is, she told me to expect the finger to be pointed in my direction as well because I was backing out, so I will be blamed for 50% of the accident. Which of course I felt was a bunch of BS because if I had my child in the back seat, and she died, will it still be 50% my fault that the gentleman who was speeding in a parking lot hit me to such a degree, that the impact killed my kid? It was at this very moment I lost any hope in my insurance company backing me up. So now I ask any qualified Lawyer reading this, where should I go from here? I know I need to get in contact with the gentleman's insurance company to file a claim, but that lady still hasn't got back to me. I'm really overwhelmed at this whole situation it's hard for me to think straight at times, which is why I'm reaching out for guidance.


Thank You.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

You need to notify the state agency risk management office and file a complain against the state agency for your damages. They will likely total your vehicle if the vehicle repair cost exceeds the value of the vehicle, which means that they will simply pay you the book value of the vehicle for the damages. You need to go and get a copy of the accident report so you can contact the risk management/insurance department for the state agency, since a claim like this is generally paid within less than 30 days.


I truly aim to please you as a customer, but please keep in mind that I do not know what you already know or don't know, or with what you need help, unless you tell me. Please consider that I am answering the question or question that is posed in your posting based upon my reading of your post and sometimes misunderstandings can occur. If I did not answer the question you thought you were asking, please respond with the specific question you wanted answered.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hello Paul,


 


Thank you very much for your advice. I also apologize for the late reply.


 


I have an update for you on my situation. I finally received a call from that lady I was waiting on. She told me that she had spoke to both the gentleman who hit me, and his insurance company. They came to a settlement, and are blaming me for 50% of the accident because I was backing up. They agreed that the other guy was simply not paying attention, and that I was backing up. That's the BS conclusion these people came to, when it sure as hell was not like that at all. I asked her if she read the police report, because in it, it clearly states that the gentleman not only admitted it was his fault, but he also admitted to 'SPEEDING in a parking lot'. She then tells me she has not read the police report, but she would be happy to take a look at it. I was told to get 2 price quotes, and get back to them. Paul, I'm sure as hell not going to pay for damages to my car when it was 100% (since these people like talking percentages) someone else's fault. I went ahead and gave a call to the officer on the scene to ask how I can get a copy of the police report, but he wasn't there so I ended up speaking to someone else. The lady I spoke to told me the report is waiting supervisor approval, and that it should be ready in about 2 weeks (I'll of course be calling back in one).


 


My question to you is, at this point, should I settle for the low ball offer from the insurance company's? Or should I pursue this knowing it wasn't my fault, and the police report will also back me up on that? My other question is, should I feel pressured in looking for the price quotes, or should I put it off till everyone gets to have a look at the police report?


 


 


Thank You,


 


David


 


PS: I apologize for bothering you with this again. I just really have no one to go to about it, and the one's I do, seem to be on the other gentlemen's side, including my own damn insurance company. So I really appreciate your advice.

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your response.

CA uses pure comparative negligence, which means they can, if they can prove your actions, were some part in the accident, seek to reduce or even eliminate your claim. This means that they can reduce the amount of your damages by the amount of percentage of fault they find you had for causing the accident. This is a frequent trick pulled by insurance companies. You did have a duty to back up safely and look for any oncoming vehicles, just as he had a duty to travel at a safe speed and watch for backing vehicles in the parking lot. As far as the percentage of fault, if you were backing, that is a debatable percentage.

While his statements on the scene can be used as part of your argument, the courts look at actions of both drivers just prior to the impact and under CA law it is an "issue of fact" for the court to determine the percentages of fault in an accident. Thus, if you are disputing your percentage of fault and you were backing out of a space, you are going to have to show how your backing was being done safely and had it not been for him admittedly speeding in the parking lot and not looking out for other cars, the backing would have occurred without any collision.

If the insurance company refuses to change their mind on percentages, you are going to have to sue in court I am afraid to prove that your percentage of fault was much less than 50% to get an award of damages.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 90247
Experience: JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
Law Educator, Esq. and 12 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hey Paul,


 


So I just wanted to give you an update on my situation. Well I wen't out and got my first estimate yesterday, and I'm setting up an appointment for the second.


 


The first place came to a total of $10,000, with the parts and materials alone being $4,500. I honestly cant imagine my second estimate being any cheaper. I spoke to the lady representing the state, and she told me how it works. Basically, I go out and get two estimates. Then they take the lower of the two estimates (go figure) and cover 50% of that.


 


My question to you is, do you think they will cover half of the $10,000? Or only half of the $4,500 (parts and material), and leave me to pay the other half ($2,250) plus the $5,000 of labor? If so, I'm seriously gonna cry Lol.


 


Thanks Paul,


 


David

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your update.

Based on the percentage of fault that is determined on each party is how they will pay. As I said above though, percentage of fault is an issue of fact for judges to decide if you cannot agree with the insurance estimate of fault and there is no way for me to guess at that without reviewing all of the evidence and depositions of the parties.

I would say when dealing with a government agency, most are likely in this situation to go for at the least 75% fault, but again you never know what government attorney you will get to deal with your case. Right now they are willing to go for 50% fault, but they will likely go higher to maybe 75%. They would pay that percentage of the total bill, parts and labor.

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