Any lawyers in TFW? I need advice

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by AngusDF, Apr 22, 2008.

  1. AngusDF

    AngusDF Well-Known Member

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    If you are not a lawyer, feel free to offer me advice too! In fact, any word of support is more than welcome.

    Long story short:

    - guy hits my car, agrees to pay, then decides to use his insurance.
    - his insurance tells me they are going to pay only 50% of the damages because he told them it had been my fault.
    - i talk to the guy in-person, and he tells me he never told the insurance company it had been my fault, but that he didn't say it had been his fault either.
    - i talk to the manager, and he assures me the guy did say it had been my fault. he says they have his recorded statement, but refuses to let me listen to it. they are going to try to reach him, and see what he says this time.

    So what do I do? Sue the guy? Sue his insurance company?

    I didn't get anything in writing, because the guy is a professor at the university and all, so I thought he would hold to his word. But, I do have a witness, that did not see the accident, but did see the debris on the floor, and did see him saying he would pay for the damages.

    Also, most important question. Let's suppose I recorded our conversation where the guy says he never told the insurance company it had been my fault. Would it be legal to tell the insurance company I have the recording? Would it be legal to give them a transcript? Would it be legal to give them the actual recording? Would it be legal to use it in court?

    I am in California.

    Thank you guys for reading. I can write a more detailed version of the story if anyone is curious.

    EDIT: I don't have coverage, only liability insurance. My insurance company is the same as his: AAA.
     
  2. Emperor Mengde

    Emperor Mengde Instrumentalist

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    Do you have collision coverage? If so it'll probably be the cheapest way out, and even if it isn't there's this wonderful thing called subrogation where you essentially surrender claims to your insurance company. If you don't have collision you could sue, but you have to balance the cost of a lawsuit and how long it will take against the potential gains.
     
  3. Bryan

    Bryan ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

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    CALL YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY.

    Do it now. They'll fight the claim for you.

    But probably you're screwed and should consider yourself lucky you're even getting 50%. His company knows what they're doing and they're attempting to limit their costs.

    Lesson here is ALWAYS CALL THE COPS. Always. Unless it's your fault and you can talk the other guy out of calling the cops, thus avoiding a ticket.
     
  4. AngusDF

    AngusDF Well-Known Member

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    I don't have coverage, I only have liability insurance.

    Both my insurance company and his insurance company are AAA.

    My adjuster immediately decided to claim 0% liability based on my statement.
    His adjuster decided, after 40 days "investigating", to pay only 50%.

    Lessons heard:
    - always call the cops
    - always get things in writing

    I should know better. I thought the guy was trustworthy, because he is a doctor, and a professor, and everything. Stupid me, I guess.
     
  5. ShortCircuit

    ShortCircuit Decepticon

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    Ok, with all the adrenaline pumping when you have an accident, its hard to remember what was said immediately after.

    Not like you woudlve flipped your phone open and hit "record" anyway....but maybe someone in the world did.

    Rule #1. DO NOT sign anything HIS or YOUR insurance company shows you.

    Rule #2. DO NOT rush to a complete the claim immediately. There MAY BE damage unnoticed by the eyeball estimate after they remove parts to fix. Go to the most EXPENSIVE body shop in town, or surrounding area. Split the difference between thier estimate and his insurance company if you like to.

    Rule #3. The 50% percentage HIS insurance agency will pay is NEGOTIABLE. He says 50%.... you say 99 NO Less. DO NOT give in. If you want to take this all the way and hit a home run, and get 100% of damages. A lawyer may be needed and WILL BE paid for by YOUR insurance company, no matter what coverage you have. A court mediator will determine the fault percentage. You may win, or you may lose going this route.

    However your best bet is to negotiate with HIS Insurance company for at least 80% or so if that will make you happy, If you do not want to wait for a trail and hearing and yadda yadda.....

    Rule #4. DO NOT go to "thier" auto body shop. Go to a plave YOU are comfortable with.

    Ultimately, no I do not believe a recorded telephone convo is admissable in court in cali if he didnt know he was being recorded, but Im sure the Judge would "listen" to it.
     
  6. meetoblivion

    meetoblivion aka chazzy

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    Note: I'm not a lawyer, I've just dealt with crappy collissions before.

    You're screwed if you didn't get a police report. Even if you get it, they might screw you over. A woman hit me (not trying to be sexist, I would say man if it was a man). My car had some dings, the bumper was off, etc. Her front end was smashed up real bad. She's trying to talk to me, talk me out of calling the police. Police show up. They take my statement and her statement. They put down on the report that I started to go on a green light then stopped, causing her to hit me - even though the light was red. Either way, she's still marked as at fault - but the ticket's easier for her to fight. They were supposed to issue me a summons to appear, never did. Lovely. I assume she got off scott free (other than the damage to her car). I call up her insurance. Apparently she canceled the policy.

    It's a wonderful system.
     
  7. AngusDF

    AngusDF Well-Known Member

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    Actually, I was pretty calm, so I remember everything he said.

    Please, read my last big paragraph above ("most important question").

    They did not ask me to sign anything. They already sent me a check for the 50%, but it had no fine print in it.

    The estimate was taken by an expensive body shop that I chose, that coincidently is a partner with my insurance company, so they agreed to pay me 50% of their estimate. But from what I've been hearing from body shops in the neighborhood, the prices do not seem to be much lower than the estimate from the expensive shop. By the way, the suspension may be damaged, but the body shop won't know until they do an alignment, so they did not include that in the estimate. The insurance company assured me they would pay more cash if it they find out the suspension was damaged (but only 50% of whatever is extra).

    They sent me a check, so I guess I can chose any body shop I want.
     
  8. AngusDF

    AngusDF Well-Known Member

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    Tell me about it. You are required by law to pay for liability insurance. But when you finally need someone's liability insurance to pay for damage that was caused to you, it's up to them to decide whether to pay or not, and you can't do much about it unless you go to court. It's really frustrating.
     
  9. seeker311

    seeker311 The Collector

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    Get the police report, that would either break or make your case on who was at fault to the insurance company.
     
  10. AngusDF

    AngusDF Well-Known Member

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    Can I get a police report now? 7 weeks after the accident?
     
  11. mpdb6

    mpdb6 Active Member

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    I would try calling your insurance adjuster and let them know the differences in percentages. They're supposed to fight for you in cases like this. Granted you don't have collision, but if it's truly not your fault then I think they might still help you. Can't hurt to ask anyway.
     
  12. meetoblivion

    meetoblivion aka chazzy

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    The point (at least by me) of getting a police report is to be able to file claims against the other driver. The advantage of getting it done on the scene, rather than afterwards, is that a police officer can survey the area to determine driving conditions. without that much, it's hearse.

    i think you're pretty much cornered as far as covering the repairs goes, since they already sent you the check. what caused them to send it? your next step is probably going to involve a small claims case, which was my problem, judge dismissed small claims based on the police report. i was lucky though, i only had to pay $500 out of pocket (based on deductible).
     
  13. jorod74

    jorod74 Psycholagnist (Ret.)

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    there's a few details from your incident that are missing- and could prove helpful.
    location- was it on a street or in a campus parking lot?
    cops?- why weren't cops automatically summoned by a witness or someone else?
    how bad/what kind of damage?- the fact your suspension was damaged tells me it was major and you shoulda had cops called.

    the only accident i was involved in, I was sitting at a red light and got creamed by a lady who was multitasking-cell, doing paperwork in the passenger seat, etc.- and didn't notice the light was red.
    40mph to 0 in no time and i was thrown across the intersection.
    cops had to show up.

    and are you serious? waiting 7 weeks to get a police report? who's gonna do the report? Mickey Spillane? since no cop was there, how is a cop going to be able to assess or describe an accident? just gonna go to the precinct and pick a guy at random and just tell him what to write?
    it would be like me trying to tell you what really happened 3 days before i was born.

    Cops. Cops. Cops. i don't care what Rappers say, Cops are your best friend at times like these. they are impartial and credible witnesses with almost infallible documentation.

    the only problem i had after the accident was the body shop (i chose it myself) took almost a month to get the parts in for my repairs after i haggled with them over the car being totaled- the frame was out of alignment- and they estimated the car's damage to 50 dollars below the amount for it to be considered totaled.
     
  14. Gears

    Gears buh-buh-body ya Veteran

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    Tell us more about how the accident happened. I always thought in CA if you get rear-ended, then it's 100% the person in the back's fault. Was it a rear end type accident or something else? Describe how the accident unfolded.
     
  15. AngusDF

    AngusDF Well-Known Member

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    Acess ramp of the university hospital parking lot. I was slowly going up on my side of the ramp, he came down fast on the center of the ramp and never saw me (I assume he wasn't looking, probably dialing a cell phone or something like that). I tried to evade and even honked, but he still hit me on the left side. The damage is on the left side of the bumper and on the left fender. It is pretty clear from the damage that I was stopped when he hit me, but the insurance company did not seem to take that into account in their supposed 40-day "investigation" (I prefer to call it a joke).

    There were no witnesses, as it was at night. I decided not to call the cops or campus security because I thought it was unnecessary. The guy agreed to pay for the damages and seemed trustworthy (he is a doctor at the hospital, and a professor at the university, and was driving a very expensive Mercedes). Now I learned my lesson: always call the cops!

    Bumper and left fender gone. $2000 damage on a $5000 car (a 2001 Saturn SC2). This does not include suspension damage. Althought I suspected it (from driving), I didn't know the suspension was misaligned for sure until I took the car to the bodyshop and the estimator showed it to me. Whether or not the suspension was damaged is not known yet, only after they start working on the car they will know that for sure.

    I was asking myself the same questions when I replied to the guy who told me to do a report.

    Lesson learned.

    Right now I'm hoping that the suspension and the frame were not damaged. That would be really bad. I was about to sell this car, to be honest. My roomate was going to buy it from me, but now he doesn't want it anymore. I'm gonna have to put ads on craig's list and stuff, or just sell it to carmax or some other dealer.
     
  16. Kickback

    Kickback Proud father Administrator Super Mod News Staff

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    No police report? Out of dice. Fight through insurance company.

    Never take anyones' word. Peoples' words these days are complete and total shit. Don't take it in accidents, "promise to pays", or anything of the sort. Get it in writing, get witnesses ... but never take someone's word.
     
  17. Jarodimus

    Jarodimus the guy with that scan Veteran TFW2005 Supporter

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    Which is fine if you get a cop worth a crap.

    Four years ago, an oncoming car turned left in front of me at a light when I had a green. I slammed on the brakes, but still plowed into the back of his car, ripping off his older Caddy's rear bumper and nearly totaling my '96 Nissan Sentra. After I asked if he and his passenger were alright, I said, "I had the green." He said, "I know" -- admission of fault, right there. We exchanged info, but I insisted we call the cops. First, a motorcycle cop arrived, but his only concern was making sure we were fully out of the intersection. A second (in a car) showed several minutes later, and since the other driver and I had already exchanged info and agreed on fault, he WOULD NOT fill out a report. Trying to be a good little citizen, I didn't want to argue with the policeman. Naturally, the guy changed his story when he called his insurance company. I asked my insurance company if I should call the schmuck and find out what his problem was -- they recommended against that, of course. I even posted flyers in the apartment building and school at the intersection, asking for witnessess -- only got one bite, and she wasn't helpful. The whole deal ended up in subrogation and, essentially, a draw. I had to eat my $500 collision deductible plus the $400 for a rental car.

    Sorry AngusDF, sounds like you need to prepare for a hosing, too. :( 
     
  18. Soundwave84

    Soundwave84 Banned

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    I work in insurance why do you only have liability? If you had collision then you would have been completely covered. The insurance company will fight for you..and it is up to you weither to accept the check and cash remember next time to get a police report...
     
  19. Jeremy.B

    Jeremy.B Formerly Leader Blackout TFW2005 Supporter

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    Word.

    Always call cops. Always. I have had two accidents that were not my fault. I went ahead and paid the deductible to get my truck fixed, and after turning the police report into my insurance company, I got reimbursed both times as neither were my fault. One a lady in a mustang swerved from the right turn lane to the left turn lane (across a straight away) with no blinker - in the rain - and essentially cut me off. Slammed on my brakes and skidded, rear ending her. But since she was reckless and caused the accident, her fault.

    Another, I was backing out of my parking space at the hotel, and an older gentleman was backing up down the length of the drive (highly illegal), not watching, and sideslammed me. Dummy was backing up to pick up his wife from the front instead of turning around and coming in properly. He got mad and said as management I should have been more aware of his actions. Stupid guests. I am "yea corporate!" but at this point it was not manager-guest but citizen-citizen. The cop showed up and the guy tried to play the race card against me (he was black, cop was black) but the cop told him to shut up and came over to me talking about how crazy he was.

    It was great.
     
  20. AngusDF

    AngusDF Well-Known Member

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    Because I'm a poor graduate student. It's a $5000 car, and insurance was almost $1000 a year. Not worthy it. If I had paid coverage for all the years I had this car (3), then I would have spent more money with insurance then I will spend to repair it now.

    But it's great you work in insurance. Can you give some advice and/or insights about what is going on? Who do you think is telling the truth here? The insurance says the guy is lying, the guy says the insurance is lying. I have a recording of him saying the insurance is lying, but I'm not sure if I can show it to the insurance company, because I don't know if it is legal to record in-person conversations here in California.
     

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