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sna1221

Officers declared "no fault" but insurance is charging me 100% liable

7 posts in this topic

I live in North Carolina, which is a Pure Contributory Negligence state. If a driver is even 1% negligent, the other insurance owes nothing.

 

I was in an accident last week. I was waiting to turn left at an intersection on college campus that does NOT have traffic lights. I was picking my daughters up from school. They attend an early college high school on that campus. The road I was waiting on is directly in front of the parking lot in which the public school busses pick up and drop off children who attend the early college high school. The road I needed to turn onto is a 4 lane road divided by a median. A school bus cannot turn onto the road to get into the parking lot if any car is waiting -- the road is too narrow. The bus must also swing into the left-hand lane on the 4-lane road because it's radius is large. Most drivers know this and stop in the right-hand lane (much as you would if a semi were trying to turn). 

 

So the bus came to a complete stop at the intersection, and all of the cars behind it stopped as well. The bus could not complete its turn if I did not make mine. I inched forward to see out around the bus. My 15 and 17 yo daughters looked, I looked, the bus checked his mirrors. All cars in the right-hand lane were stopped, and the left-hand lane was clear, as were both lanes in the other direction. I preceded to make my turn.

As I began that turn, a car behind the bus decided it did not want to wait, changed lanes (from a complete stop), and accelerated quickly. She t-boned me never even attempting to apply her brakes. The impact moved my car 20 or more feet, deployed my airbags, bent my frame. In a word, my car is totaled. 

The campus police, who are city police officers assigned to the college campus, were on scene within 3 minutes. They very quickly declared the accident no-fault as I did not fail to ensure my turn could be made safely and 5 people could verify that the other lanes were clear and the bus completly stopped. The other driver admitted she changed lanes from a complete stop to get out from behind the school bus. The bus driver came back around after picking up the students and corroborated my statement; there were no cars when I began that turn, and she came from the right-hand lane as I was turning. The only thing I could have done differently is to never make the turn at all. While the other driver could legally change lanes and proceed straight, she could clearly see that no other cars were attempting that. The officers did not feel I was at fault, but could not cite her for anything necessarily illegal.

My insurance company has found me 100% liable for this accident because it was a left-hand turn. This means they will be able to assess me insurance points and increase my premium by 120% due to the NC SDIP law. They were always incentivized to find me at fault. My question is how they can charge me 100% with an accident when the police officers felt this was a no-fault situation? What recourse do I have? The NC Inusrance Commission will not assist with this matter as they say they do not intervene with situations of liability. I feel that since it was no-fault, this means she is liable as well and the Pure Contributory Negligence law should apply.

Am I automatically 100% at fault because this was a left-hand turn no matter what I do? Would a judge really find that she didn't contribute even 1% to this accident?

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1 hour ago, sna1221 said:

My question is how they can charge me 100% with an accident when the police officers felt this was a no-fault situation?

 

The opinion of a police officer who didn't witness the accident is legally meaningless.  Your insurer is entitled to reach its own conclusion.

 

 

1 hour ago, sna1221 said:

What recourse do I have?

 

I'm confident that your policy contains information about the insurer's determination of a claim.  You can also submit a complaint to the state department of insurance.

 

 

1 hour ago, sna1221 said:

Am I automatically 100% at fault because this was a left-hand turn no matter what I do?

 

No.

 

 

1 hour ago, sna1221 said:

Would a judge really find that she didn't contribute even 1% to this accident?

 

Attempting to predict what a judge (or, more likely, jury) would decide based on a one-sided description of what happened would be foolish.

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Thanks for the response. 

 

That's interesting -- the insurance doesn't have to comply with the findings of people who were actually at the scene examining the evidence and taking witness statements? Because the adjuster certainly wasn't there and it seems to me that the LEO determination is far more likely to be accurate than that of an adjuster whose company monetarily benefits from jacking up my rates. 

 

Insurance commission won't help. I already stated that. Insurance company just politely takes complaints and files them in the round file, as the insurance commission won't intervene in matters of liability or at-fault determination.

 

I have the police report which contains an unbaised  witness statement (the bus driver), and the other driver admitted that this is what happened. It isn't "one sided." She left a stopped lane of traffic for the other lane, to go around the stopped traffic, at the same time as I began my turn, and collided with me. I don't expect to be found 0% liable. I am trying to ascetain if there's any hope of being found less than 100% liable.

 

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2 minutes ago, sna1221 said:

Thanks for the response. 

 

That's interesting -- the insurance doesn't have to comply with the findings of people who were actually at the scene examining the evidence and taking witness statements?

 

 

Nope that is what courts are for.

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1 hour ago, sna1221 said:

I am trying to ascetain if there's any hope of being found less than 100% liable.

 

Generally, a driver making a left turn must yield to oncoming traffic. Getting hit is prima facie (google it) evidence that you didn't yield and that makes you the cause of the accident.

 

It's a "presumption" that the adjuster has a right to make based on negligence law, and not on what the police (who didn't witness the accident) say.

 

If you want to challenge the adjuster's decision you will have to sue the other driver and get a judgment that says that the other driver is 100% at fault. If you can't or won't do that you are stuck with the decision and its consequences.

 

 

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2 hours ago, sna1221 said:

That's interesting -- the insurance doesn't have to comply with the findings of people who were actually at the scene examining the evidence and taking witness statements?

 

I'm not sure what "comply with the findings" means.  The police report should explain the officers' observations, but the officers are no more competent than anyone else to interpret witnesses' statements.  In any event, as I said before, conclusions reached by officers who didn't witness the accident are legally meaningless, and the insurer is entitled to reach its own conclusions.

 

 

2 hours ago, sna1221 said:

Because the adjuster certainly wasn't there and it seems to me that the LEO determination is far more likely to be accurate than that of an adjuster whose company monetarily benefits from jacking up my rates.

 

There's no "right" or "wrong" when it comes to assessing liability.  If the officer(s) on the scene have done their job properly, then the insurer can reach a conclusion that is equally as informed as that of the officer(s).

 

 

2 hours ago, sna1221 said:

I am trying to ascetain if there's any hope of being found less than 100% liable.

 

Your insurer has reached the conclusion that you were 100% at fault.  Presumably, and on that basis, your insurer has paid or is in the process of paying the other driver's third-party claim.  If you want to prevent that, you can file an action against your insurer for declaratory and injunctive relief, but you'll need to act quickly.  Suing the other driver would not appear to have any value given your state's archaic negligence laws.

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