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What can I do about this incorrect statement in the police report?


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#1 valady76

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 07:50 AM

Had an accident last month where I was in the left lane of 2 lanes going in my direction. The other driver was coming out of a parking lot area on the right side. There were cars in the right lane either slowing down or someone turning into the parking area. I was driving straight in the left lane and as I was getting ready to pass the parking lot opening the driver tried to come across the 2 lanes so she could make a left turn and head in the opposite direction. I could not even stop as she came out so fast. She obviously did not know I was in the left lane so we hit.

 

Her insurance company immediately admitted fault and were going to reimburse me for lost wages, deductible, inconvenience fee. They sent me 2 checks and told me to fax the ambulance and any other med bills I get from the day of the accident. Well I just got the med bills and when I called her insurance company the adjuster said to not cash the first 2 checks as there had been a change. According to the police report, the officer who came on the scene after me and the other driver were at the hospital put in the report I was in the right lane and got over in the left lane at the last minute. Her insurance now says I contributed to the accident so they will not reimburse my insurance company for fixing my vehicle and not pay my medical bills.

 

I am shocked. I immediately called this officer and he stated the info about me changing lanes could have come from a witness. I don't understand that as I was NEVER in the right lane. He went on to say there may have been other witnesses he did not follow up with but based on the information he had the other driver was at fault as I had the right of way and she should have been given a citation.  

 

My insurance company will try for arbitration and I and going to try and get the officer to amend the report if needed so that it clearly states who was at fault. I DO NOT want to have to pay for my med bills and lost wages because of this driver. What should I do? When will be the time I should consider suing the driver? Thank you!



#2 LegalwriterOne

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 09:00 AM

Well you can't make the officer change his report.  Unless he saw the accident, it's nothing more than saying what he observed regarding the position of the cars & any physical evidence he noted when he got there and what others told him.  You are always entitled to sue the driver yourself regardless of what their insurance company does.  Consult local counsel. 



#3 adjusterjack

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 10:55 AM

Even if you had gone from the right lane to the left lane, she had no business pulling out of the driveway until all of the traffic went by and left her a clear route across all lanes of traffic.

 

That being said, are there any witnesses listed in the police report.

 

If there are, then your insurance company should send an investigator to get their comprehensive statements.

 

If there aren't, you have the option of getting a personal injury attorney and suing for all of your damages.

 

Without independent witnesses the police officer's testimony is inadmissable.

 

A word of caution. Is it arbitration or mediation? Important distinction. Arbitration is binding, mediation is not.

 

If it's arbitration you need to know that arbitrators tend to split their decision down the middle if there are conflicting stories.

 

I would avoid arbitration if it's binding because then you could be stuck with a decision made by somebody who is likely not a lawyer or a judge, and could end up paying a good part of your own damages and your insurance company would end up paying a good part of the other driver's damages and the accident would result in a surcharge on your policy.


Warning: Legal issues are complicated. Explanations and comments here are simplified and might not fully explain the ramifications of your particular issue. I am not a lawyer. I do not give legal advice. I make comments based on my knowledge and experience. I guarantee nothing. If you act on my comments without the advice of an attorney, you do so at your own risk.


#4 valady76

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 05:14 PM

I do believe there are other witnesses. I am waiting to receive my copy. Am I allowed to contact witnesses in a police report myself to ask questions? 

 

The adjuster told me arbitration. My insurance company has already fixed my vehicle and they were expecting to be reimbursed.



#5 LegalwriterOne

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 06:00 PM

Better to have an independent third party interview the witnesses. 



#6 valady76

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 12:41 PM

Just got off the phone with my insurance. They took the other driver statement today. She says a car had stopped to let her out into the traffic. I actually believe that part because she thought no one was coming in the left lane. She then says it was a 1 lane road and I got out from the right lane to go around and didn't let her clear. I am fuming mad. My adjuster says oh we will file "no at fault". I asked the adjuster you actually believe what this lady said? There are 2 lanes in my direction and 2 lanes on the other side in the opposite direction with no medium. Once I point this out she looks it up on google map and says oh yeah we will deny her injury liability. I bet her statement from the day of the accident says nothing about me being in the right lane either.

 

I am getting screwed here.



#7 Fallen

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 01:13 PM

It's unclear how you are "getting screwed" when you've pointed out to the adjuster that there are two lanes in each direction.  (At any rate, I might down the road send a letter to whomever is in charge of claims department and point out that the client/customer shouldn't be the person to point out such things and that, if your policy premiums might be affected by a "no fault" claim that includes this other person's damages, the claims reps need to be more careful in their first-blush assessments.   (Normally, an insurance company will deny a non-client's claims by default if the client denies that they are at fault and there's no police citation or report to the contrary.)

It's unclear why you'd think there's some law against contacting witnesses to ask them X-Y-Z (or providing witness contact info to your insurer), but there is not.

Your situation is a great example that people who have been waved to "come on" by another driver ought not be trusting that said driver has looked through their passenger mirror or rearview to check whether coast is indeed clear.  :)

Let your insurance company know (in writing) the relevant details.  Insurance companies should know that just because the other driver says X and it's in some police report, that doesn't mean it happened the way that person said.


I'll echo PG's advisory "warning" with a twist: (Many) legal issues are complicated. Explanations and comments here might not fully identify or explain the ramifications of your particular problem. I do not give legal advice as such (and such is impermissible here at any rate). Comments are based on personal knowledge and experience and legal info gleaned over a quarter century, and every state has differing laws on and avenues to address most topics.  If you need legal advice, you need to consult (and pay) a professional so that you may have someone to hold accountable.  Acting on personal and informational advice from a stranger on the internet is a bad idea -- at least not without your own thorough due dilience/research and confirmation as it applies to your situation.  :)


#8 valady76

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 06:17 AM

"I was able to ascertain that the accident happened as follows, Vehicle one was attempting to turn left out of the post office parking lot onto South Bound  Plain Road, traffic on Plain Road was backed up due to evening rush hour and the traffic light at Plain  & Drew. The driver sitting in the right North Bound lane of Plain left a gap so that Vehicle 1 could pull out and make her left turn onto South Bound Plain. Vehicle 2 mean while was sitting in the back up in the Right North Bound lane of Plain a few cars back of the vehicle that had left the gap. As vehicle 1 was pulling through the gap, vehicle 2 decided to change lanes to get around the traffic into the left North Bound lane. Vehicle 2 did not see vehicle 1 and they collided."

 

Okay so this is what the police officer put into the report. I was never in the right lane as I turned onto Plain road from another street and came up behind them. This idiot witness never saw me and probably was the one who was telling this lady to go. The witness information is blocked out in the report. I called the police department but they stated it is private information. What do I do now?



#9 adjusterjack

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 07:06 AM

Do about what?

 

Where you cited as causing the accident?


Warning: Legal issues are complicated. Explanations and comments here are simplified and might not fully explain the ramifications of your particular issue. I am not a lawyer. I do not give legal advice. I make comments based on my knowledge and experience. I guarantee nothing. If you act on my comments without the advice of an attorney, you do so at your own risk.


#10 pg1067

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 07:11 AM

You're certainly free to contact the officer who wrote the report, explain your version of the events, and ask that the officer add your version of the events to the report.  But why do you feel you have a need to do something about a police report that you contend is incorrect?



#11 valady76

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 07:41 AM

The other driver insurance denied my claim and not reimbursing my medical bills, lost wages and my insurance company in the costs to fix my vehicle. They told me I contributed to the accident based on this statement by the officer. This is incorrect so what can I do now?



#12 pg1067

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 12:36 PM

The other driver insurance denied my claim and not reimbursing my medical bills, lost wages and my insurance company in the costs to fix my vehicle. They told me I contributed to the accident based on this statement by the officer. This is incorrect so what can I do now?

 

If the other driver's insurer won't pay your damages, your recourse is to sue the other driver.  I'm assuming you stated to the other driver's insurer that you disagree with the facts and conclusions stated in the police report.

 

As for the police report, most police reports are nothing other than a collection of observations made by the officer writing the report and statements made to the officer.  It may also contain conclusions reached by the officer.  Although police reports are often used by insurance companies, they are not admissible in evidence.



#13 FindLaw_Amir

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 11:31 AM

Did you resolve this incident?


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