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Wrongfully Found At Fault

Been involved in a traffic accident? Discuss traffic laws here

Wrongfully Found At Fault

Postby Akiva » Mon Nov 28, 2016 4:47 pm

  I am from California. A couple of weeks ago I received an unfavorable arbitration judgement for an accident I was in back in August of 2005. If State Farm would have made any effort on my behalf, it would have never gone to arbitration because there are facts that prove beyond any doubt that the other driver was 100% at fault.   This is what happened. I had a green light and just as I reached the intersection a driver traveling the opposite direction attempted to turn left directly in front of me.  Traveling in the right lane, I slammed on my brakes and veered to the left hoping to miss him. For reasons unknown to me at the time, in the middle of his turn he slowed down almost to a stop which made the accident unavoidable. Just before impact he finally noticed me so he accelerated but by then it was too late. I was stuck in the intersection with my truck , and instead of stopping he continued to accelerate. I watched him drive down the street, suddenly slam on his brakes then drive in reverse for about fifteen feet or so before he pulled over.  He came up to me as did a school teacher who had “heard” the crash.  He apologized and asked if I was okey etc. On my cell I called the police and a toe truck. When the police came we told him what happened, only to find out later that he didn’t write a police report.  WHY?  Because no one asked him to.     When I found out the next day that he changed his story because there was no police report or “eye” witnesses, I went to the accident sight and noticed skid marks from the beginning of the left turn lane ending in the intersection where he slowed down in the middle of his turn. That is when I realized it wasn’t that he slowed down in his turn, he was trying to stop for the red light but didn’t quite make it.  I took pictures of the skid marks, and I spoke to the school teacher who gave him a ride home because his car wouldn’t start.  In the conversation they had he said he was afraid to tell his mother that he ran a red light because she told him not to take the car that day. She is willing to testify to that as well as our conversation to the police.  Also I discovered that the signal light which controls the left turn lane is a controlled light and it is always red.  It only turns green when a car has been waiting there for at least five seconds.     When I spoke to my representative she told me that I couldn’t attend the hearing, so I made sure that she had that information. Several months went by and I heard nothing, so I called and found out that it was postponed. Again I heard nothing so I assured myself that even if she said nothing on my behalf, the law states “under no circumstances is it legal for a driver to pull in to traffic unless it is safe to do so.”     Over a year later I found out that I was considered to be 100% at fault.  Isn’t the judge supposed to make his decision according to the law??  I now have a different Ins. Co., of course, and with an “at fault” accident on my records the premium is much higher.  I was told I could take the other driver to small claims court but first I wanted to get a copy of the arbitration transcripts to see why I was found to be at fault.  The records department didn’t have them because it was a private arb.  and said I would have to go through State Farm to get them. No one there could, or would tell me where or how to get a copy, and on one occasion they told me that I wasn't privileged to that information. I called over a dozen times to ask the person who supposedly represented me but she never answered my messages. Earlier this month, however she did finally send me a copy of the arb. decision six months after the fact. I am not familiar with what information it should include but some of it seemed to be missing. I learn that it was my rep. who asked for the postponement stating that State Farm had not yet concluded the final amount of damages to my truck, awaiting salvage proceeds, and the deferment was granted. That amount had already been determined by both ins. co. long before the case was even filed. Wasn't she supposed to be under oath?    Finally my questions are...What would be the best way to handle this night mare? Should I take the other driver to small claims court to recover the $500 deductible and rental car expenses?  Would I also be able to recover for the premium increase for having an “at fault” accident?  And how can I get a copy of the transcripts?  THANK YOU for taking the time to read this, I feel like I just wrote a book!
Akiva
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2014 2:06 am

Wrongfully Found At Fault

Postby Wyth » Thu Dec 01, 2016 6:34 pm

Hi Lynn, I am both appalled and sickened by the slipshod manner that this entire event was handled by State Farm!  I think that no matter what else you do here a letter of complaint has to be sent to the California Dept. of Insurance about it.  From what I can surmise the arbitration was one of "intercompany" and they are mostly handled by adjustors instead of Attorneys and there are no "swearing in" proceedures done unless the actual participants in the accidents are called to testify.  You should be able to obtain a copy of any transcripts from the Arbitration Forum which administered the hearing.  There may not even be a transcript but merely the Arbitrators notes and since you did not file the arbitration request in the first place you may not have any standing for reopening or appealing the hearing and decision.  What a mess!  Even Small Claims Court might be a waste of time because the other driver would turn the Summons over to his insurance company and they would show up with the decision and claim "res judicada" meaning that the matter was already heard and decided against you.  In my opinion your best bet would be to start writing certified letters to the corporate headquarters of State Farm with copies to the local claims office that handled the matter and to the California Ins. Dept. Include your version of the event, your pictures of the accident site, a copy of the decision, the original damage estimates,and anything that you can possibly obtain from the Arbitration Forum.  Please remember to include your claim # on everything.  Your main focus should be on getting that arbitration decision revisited and set aside for a new hearing in which your presence will be guaranteed.  That claims representative handled your case in a careless, slipshod, ramshackle manner and should be fired for incompetence immediately.  It almost seems as if that representative did not even show up at the arbitration at all, which could have been the case!  I personally handled a few cases in which the insurance company dropped the ball and did not appear without asking for an adjournment after several were previously granted and beat them for tons of money.  You may very well have been a victim of such a scenario.  Please let me know if you are successful in fighting this injustice in the future.
Wyth
 
Posts: 39
Joined: Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:08 pm

Wrongfully Found At Fault

Postby Kenzie » Fri Dec 02, 2016 10:23 pm

  I am from California. A couple of weeks ago I received an unfavorable arbitration judgement for an accident I was in back in August of 2005. If State Farm would have made any effort on my behalf, it would have never gone to arbitration because there are facts that prove beyond any doubt that the other driver was 100% at fault.   This is what happened. I had a green light and just as I reached the intersection a driver traveling the opposite direction attempted to turn left directly in front of me.  Traveling in the right lane, I slammed on my brakes and veered to the left hoping to miss him. For reasons unknown to me at the time, in the middle of his turn he slowed down almost to a stop which made the accident unavoidable. Just before impact he finally noticed me so he accelerated but by then it was too late. I was stuck in the intersection with my truck , and instead of stopping he continued to accelerate. I watched him drive down the street, suddenly slam on his brakes then drive in reverse for about fifteen feet or so before he pulled over.  He came up to me as did a school teacher who had “heard” the crash.  He apologized and asked if I was okey etc. On my cell I called the police and a toe truck. When the police came we told him what happened, only to find out later that he didn’t write a police report.  WHY?  Because no one asked him to.     When I found out the next day that he changed his story because there was no police report or “eye” witnesses, I went to the accident sight and noticed skid marks from the beginning of the left turn lane ending in the intersection where he slowed down in the middle of his turn. That is when I realized it wasn’t that he slowed down in his turn, he was trying to stop for the red light but didn’t quite make it.  I took pictures of the skid marks, and I spoke to the school teacher who gave him a ride home because his car wouldn’t start.  In the conversation they had he said he was afraid to tell his mother that he ran a red light because she told him not to take the car that day. She is willing to testify to that as well as our conversation to the police.  Also I discovered that the signal light which controls the left turn lane is a controlled light and it is always red.  It only turns green when a car has been waiting there for at least five seconds.     When I spoke to my representative she told me that I couldn’t attend the hearing, so I made sure that she had that information. Several months went by and I heard nothing, so I called and found out that it was postponed. Again I heard nothing so I assured myself that even if she said nothing on my behalf, the law states “under no circumstances is it legal for a driver to pull in to traffic unless it is safe to do so.”     Over a year later I found out that I was considered to be 100% at fault.  Isn’t the judge supposed to make his decision according to the law??  I now have a different Ins. Co., of course, and with an “at fault” accident on my records the premium is much higher.  I was told I could take the other driver to small claims court but first I wanted to get a copy of the arbitration transcripts to see why I was found to be at fault.  The records department didn’t have them because it was a private arb.  and said I would have to go through State Farm to get them. No one there could, or would tell me where or how to get a copy, and on one occasion they told me that I wasn't privileged to that information. I called over a dozen times to ask the person who supposedly represented me but she never answered my messages. Earlier this month, however she did finally send me a copy of the arb. decision six months after the fact. I am not familiar with what information it should include but some of it seemed to be missing. I learn that it was my rep. who asked for the postponement stating that State Farm had not yet concluded the final amount of damages to my truck, awaiting salvage proceeds, and the deferment was granted. That amount had already been determined by both ins. co. long before the case was even filed. Wasn't she supposed to be under oath?    Finally my questions are...What would be the best way to handle this night mare? Should I take the other driver to small claims court to recover the $500 deductible and rental car expenses?  Would I also be able to recover for the premium increase for having an “at fault” accident?  And how can I get a copy of the transcripts?  THANK YOU for taking the time to read this, I feel like I just wrote a book!
Kenzie
 
Posts: 31
Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2014 5:58 am


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