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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Attorney
Category: Personal Injury Law
Satisfied Customers: 12801
Experience:  Attorney with significant personal injury experience
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Hello I was rear ended in a car accident and have property

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Hello I was rear ended in a car accident and have property damage. (3 car accident) My car and 2 cars behind me.The driver behind me hit me and another car rear ended him. I filed a claim against the car behind me and their insurance company told me the second car was responsible. The police report says the second car was at fault. I couldn't get an attorney (wasn't enough money for an attorney) and I sued the the second car insured with Farmers. Farmers made me get depositions and costs and ran up the costs so high I had to dismiss the suit because I am out of work. Is there a way to sue the the original driver the one who actually hit me (the driver behind me) when the police report states the third driver was at fault?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Personal Injury Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 4 years ago.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you, I will do everything I can to answer your question.

The answer to your question is most likely "yes." Police reports are inadmissible at trial and so is a police officer's testimoy as to who he "believes" is at fault. Liability assessments can only be made by qualified experts, such as accident reconstructionists.

However, liability against the driver behind you can only be established if you contend that he hit you first and was not simply "pushed into you" when he was hit by the third driver. If the latter scenario is how the accident occurred, the driver immediately behind you was not negligent because he was pushed into your vehicle against his will and due to the negligence of the third car.

If, on the other hand, the driver imemdiately behind you rear-ended you without being pushed into your car, he would be the liable party. If that's the case, you can most likely still bring a claim, though you would stil bel subject to the original statute of limitations (2 years from the date of the accident for bodily injury) as you were on the other claim.

Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes to you and thank you so much for coming to Just Answer.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hello I sued a large insurance company because they rear ended my commercial vehicle the damage was only 11000 so since i wasn't injured I sued myself. It was costing me thousands to fight it and I couldn't get an attorney because I wasnt injured and there wasn't enough money involved for a lawyer to take it on. I settle for $200 and signed a right to compromise because I couldn't afford it anymore. I regret it is there anything to do? Is there anything a court can do in a situation like this?
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, settlement agreements are final and binding unless you can show fraud or duress. "Duress" is an extremely high standard (i.e., locking you in a room and refusing to let you leave until you sign).

I'm afraid there is a strong public policy in the enforcement of these agreements. If cases were routinely re-opend, a "settlement" would have no value and it would be that much harder to ever resolve a dispute. I am very sorry.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thanks insurance company claimed that there was another party involved and the other party was responsible for the accident. I sued the second party in small claims and lost because because the judge looked at the police report and said the other side was not at fault.The original party I sued was at fault. Could that be considered fraud?
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 3 years ago.
No, I'm afraid that would not be fraud, just a difference in opinion concerning liability, which always has an inherent element of subjectivity.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hello I sued At and T for putting a negative mark on my credit and didn't remove it. I go to court on Thursday for defamation of character. They admitted to the error and stated they were going to remove it and never did. What might a defense be for them. They sent me emails and left me messages that they it was an error and don't know why it wasn't removed yet it shows on an employment background check. They told me they will be there in court on Thursday. Is there previous law or any cases to cite for defamation when one makes an error but have no excuse for the error? But yet I was damaged from the error.
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 3 years ago.

It's good to hear from you. I am more than happy to answer your question and will do so here, but since this question thread is quite old, if you have any additional inquiries, please be so kind as to start a new question thread and request me by starting the question, "To Patrick..."

As to your question, "innocent motives" or "good faith" are NOT valid defenses to claims for defamation. This is well established in California law. See, e.g. Kirby v. Hal Roach Studios (1942) 53 Cal.App.2d 207, 213 where the court stated: "It is well established that inadvertence or mistake affords no defense to a charge of libel, where the defamatory publication does, in fact, refer to the plaintiff. " See also Fisher v. Larson (1982) 138 Cal.App.3d 627.

The viable defense here is that, although your credit may have been "dinged," you cannot link that to a specific and quantifiable monetary harm. You would need to prove that you were afforded a loan at a higher rate (and the difference in interest between the rate you got and the rate you would have had is your damage), or that you were denied a purchasing opportunity of some kind. Credit damage in itself is meaningless unless it can be linked to something. So, if it's not too late and if you have any documentation of actual financial harm you suffered as a result of the damage to your credit, woudl would want to bring that to court and emphasize it in your argument to the judge.

I hope this helps. If you have any followup questions just let me know, otherwise please don't forget to provide a positive rating of my service.

Best wishes.
Patrick, Esq. and other Personal Injury Law Specialists are ready to help you