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Old 10-14-2005, 01:45 AM   #1
Aeteocles
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Need help dealing with Ins. and DMV.

Okay, I got in an accident 15 months ago.

I was not at fault.

It was never in question I was at fault.

I was immediately paid for damage for my bike.

My lawyer had at them for over a year, and I got a settlement out of them.

I have 3 written statements from non-interested 3rd parties.

No police officer arrived on scene at the time of the accident. I was rushed to the ER, and the officer did not interview me until some 5 hours later when I was in the recovery room.

My bike was towed and impounded at my request by the PD, and I picked it up the next morning without issue. The fees for impound were included in my property settlement.

I have a copy of my police report. No indication of fault. On the front page, I am listed, by default, as "Party 1" but the written notes by the officer only indicate the damage sustained, the location of the accident, and the parties involved. There is nothing on record showing what actually "occured."


Everything looks pretty good? Right?

Well, about 6 months ago I was reinsuring my cars and the insurance agent said that I had an "at fault injury accident" on my record and that my rates were to increase by some absurd 4 digit number.

I immediately requested a copy of my DMV record from the DMV, got it in person, and indeed, listed under the date of my accident is a bunch of gibberish that looks like this:

Type of ACC CODE: 5 SOBRIETY CODE: 5
FATALITY CODE : 0 INJURY CODE: 1

Every adminstrative bureau has been utterly unhelpful, although polite throughout the entire dealing.

Local DMV cannot tell me anything or do anything about the discrepancy.

Local Police Department has a copy of my record on file, but I can't get to it--I have to file an official request with sacramento. I got the copy of the front cover sheet, and the officer said that the rest of my record didn't indicate fault anyway.

Called Sacremento about the discrepancy: All inqueries have to be made in writing.

I wrote a letter, included copies of everything relevant, and sat on my hands for 6 weeks. Got a response, that all requests need to be accompanied by a full police report.

Called them up, noted the response from my letter, said that I had to get a full police report.

Sent in a request for a police report 3 months ago. They even deposited my check for the request. Still no full police report from them.

I got a copy of a full police report from my insurance company via my attorney. The state is useless.

Someone, please, anyone, find someone with SOME AUTHORITY for me to yell at. I need this fixed NOW. It's pissing me off so much.



I also want to know if the opposing insurance company had anything to do with this discrepancy. I already hate dealing with Mercury insurance, because every person who's ever been involved with an accident with me has been insured by them and they freakin suck to deal with.

If this is their doing, by GOD they are going to have some wrath the reckon with. I will freakin' send a written complaint to the state every freakin week if I have to.

Last edited by Aeteocles; 10-14-2005 at 01:53 AM.
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Old 10-14-2005, 01:49 AM   #2
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damn bro, sorry to hear about ur situation....sorry i cant help you at all man
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Old 10-14-2005, 01:58 AM   #3
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who determined the other party was at fault? If ...
Quote:
I was not at fault.

It was never in question I was at fault.
but...
Quote:
I have a copy of my police report. No indication of fault.

there has to be something that indicates the other party was at fault. I would think that would go a long way to prove you werent at fault to the DMV/Ins.
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Old 10-14-2005, 02:06 AM   #4
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sounds like a big mess man and sorry i can't help... might be worth it to get a lawyer on this.. and good luck..
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Old 10-14-2005, 02:29 AM   #5
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Dude, that's the thing: I had a lawyer throughout the entire thing.

There is no indication of fault on the police report: if the police can't determine fault, they leave that blank. They're not just going to make something up.

Normally, police will contact your witnesses, follow up, and complete the paperwork after. He didn't.

I do have written affidavits by 2 pedestrian and 1 vehicular witnesses who saw the lady hit me and wrote in their own words and wrote holographically (ie, in their own hand writing) that they saw the lady hit me, and that she was at fault, and that there was no contributory negligence on my part that would have led to an accident. The police officer SHOULD have used this to amend the police report.

The other ins. company settled out and gave me the maximum of her policy limits. I was even able to get personal assets from her as well. This, as well, should also be an indicator that between the two parties, she was at fault.


I just don't understand what the DMV wants me to do. The DMV wants me to show them a copy of a police report that says someone is at fault. I don't have that. My police report says NOTHING.

I want them to amend my police report: nope, won't/can't do it.

What should I do? Is there someone with higher bureucratic authority I can complain to? I have no shortage of lawyers to consult with as I'm at law school, but I don't wanna go asking for help without knowing specifically what I'm asking for. If this was an insurance company playing me, I'd complain to the insurance regulators board....should I straight start sending the govornator emails everyday or what? councilman? mayor?

Last edited by Aeteocles; 10-14-2005 at 02:38 AM.
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Old 10-14-2005, 02:34 AM   #6
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Sorry to break it to you, but being the 1 Party on the report is usually the person at fault.
At least that is how it works in NV. There is now specific thing that you check of as the person at fault. Most police departments list the 1 st person as the person at fault.

That might be your problem.
As far as the accident and sobriety codes go I have no clue.

You will have to chase down your insurance and your dmv to get that off your record. I do not know how that works, but I would imagine that it is going to be a pain in the ass, since everything in CA is a pain in the ass.

Good luck and sorry to hear that.
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Old 10-14-2005, 02:43 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StoicDude
Sorry to break it to you, but being the 1 Party on the report is usually the person at fault.
At least that is how it works in NV. There is now specific thing that you check of as the person at fault. Most police departments list the 1 st person as the person at fault.

That might be your problem.
As far as the accident and sobriety codes go I have no clue.

You will have to chase down your insurance and your dmv to get that off your record. I do not know how that works, but I would imagine that it is going to be a pain in the ass, since everything in CA is a pain in the ass.

Good luck and sorry to hear that.
Exactly. That's what I heard, that being listed as party 1 is like the "default" at fault party. That's what pisses me off. Freaking cop showed up 5 hours late, asks me a few questions, doesn't talk to any of my witnesses, and then puts me down as party one without any supporting comments in the report. there's a portion of the form where the officer is supposed to write down a description of the accident, but there's nothing there...just says that he shows up to the hospital and there I was.


GRR. He asks me, "so what happend?"

"She ran a red light to make a left hand turn in front of me."

"Oh, so the light was turning yellow and you sped through the intersection?"

"No. My light was green. Not "still green" or "should have been green." Me, and 200 motorists behind me, were proceeding through the intersection when she just decided to run the red light."

"Okay, that'll be all."

"Thanks officer."

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Old 10-14-2005, 02:46 AM   #8
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my bad about the lawyer comment.. i did see that but didn't pay much attention - time of night... sounds like you have a good case.. just need to do lots of groundwork .. papers and stuff....in any case.. good luck..
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Old 10-14-2005, 02:52 AM   #9
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That is typical case of a cop not doing his job, or being lazy to do it.

Sorry to hear that man.

Although, him listing you as party 1 might just be a default. There should be a report of accident description on it.

In NV if it is a serious accident, usually fatality, prominent person and I believe serious bodily injury, there has to be a detailed report. Here the ART (Accident rconstruction team) ends up doing it if it is a big thing, if not the regular trooper does it.

There are some differences between troopers and police officers. Troopers are trained specifically to handle accidents and they spend a ton of time in the academy on that.

Regular cops do not get that extensive of a course, unless they are on the traffic team i guess.

It might be different in CA.

Good luck man.
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Old 10-14-2005, 03:37 AM   #10
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Sue the police department and the officer for not correctly doing his job. Sue the state of California while you're at it. You might as well put whoever you can on the paperwork. The more people you threaten to sue, and by threaten I mean actually file the paperwork and have them served, the faster your situation will get resolved.
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Old 10-14-2005, 09:57 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madbrown75
Sue the police department and the officer for not correctly doing his job. Sue the state of California while you're at it. You might as well put whoever you can on the paperwork. The more people you threaten to sue, and by threaten I mean actually file the paperwork and have them served, the faster your situation will get resolved.
Yep. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Maybe even just pay your lawyer to write a couple of letters to key people/agencies. You'd be surprised what can happen when your lawyer does the talking for you.

On the insurance front, while the accident being listed as your fault doesn't help, in my experience ANY claim counts against you. In the eyes of the insurance industry a claim is a claim, and if you have one on your record it just means you're more of a liability. Now of course 1 or 2 small claims or a not at fault accident won't necessarily make your rates increase immediately but it all goes on your record and it does get factored in when they determine your rates. By record I mean your CLUE report, which is sort of like an insurance equivalent to a credit report.
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Old 10-14-2005, 10:47 AM   #12
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Step 1) Schedule an appointment with the officers supervisor. Take all of your paperwork and go down to the PD. Show him/her exactly what you have told us and ask the supervisor to have that report ammended. Don't threaten them with a law suit or the doors will close very quickly. You know that.

Step 2) Take the ammended report down to the DMV and have them correct your record. Showing up in person takes more time out of your life but gets faster results then letters.

If step 1 fails, file a complaint against the officer and contact your attorney. Have him/her call or write the PD demanding they correct the discrepiency on your report.
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Old 10-14-2005, 10:51 AM   #13
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Sounds like a good plan! :01_thumbu


Quote:
Originally Posted by NewRedRider
Step 1) Schedule an appointment with the officers supervisor. Take all of your paperwork and go down to the PD. Show him/her exactly what you have told us and ask the supervisor to have that report ammended. Don't threaten them with a law suit or the doors will close very quickly. You know that.

Step 2) Take the ammended report down to the DMV and have them correct your record. Showing up in person takes more time out of your life but gets faster results then letters.

If step 1 fails, file a complaint against the officer and contact your attorney. Have him/her call or write the PD demanding they correct the discrepiency on your report.
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Old 10-14-2005, 10:53 AM   #14
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Yeah, it all hinges on that police report. Nobody is going to move until that gets corrected. Good luck....
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Old 10-14-2005, 01:22 PM   #15
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Ohh I forgot to say what ajax said. He is completely right.
Any claim will count against you for an insurance company, regardless of at fault or not.

I had to get my rim and tire replaced on my VW GTI (18 BBS as standard equipment with michelin pilot sports) so I filed a claim because the estimate was just around 1000. This ws from hitting a huge unfixed pothole in NYC, and it still counted against me.
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Old 10-14-2005, 01:55 PM   #16
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No claim was made against my insurance company.

My insurance company in of itself wasn't even contacted or had anything to do with my lawsuit.

It was 100% my lawyer against 80% her insurance company, and then 20% her lawyer.

I mean, she friggen ran a red light. No contest, they weren't gonna try to get my insurance company to fix anything of hers.

The only thing we did was that we let the insurance company know, as a matter of courtesy, that all this was happening and to not disclose any information should her side try to contact them.
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Old 10-14-2005, 01:57 PM   #17
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We used to have full coverage with a zero deductible on our cars through USAA. We had a string of bad luck a few years ago and had to make a handful of comprehensive claims (nothing huge) plus I accidentally bumped some guy waiting to turn (he did not make a claim) and my wife backed into some woman while in line at the cleaners ($600 claim against us). There was also an at fault wreck from a few years prior (wife rearended a truck). I always figured that we pay for the insurance so we should use it since it was a zero deductible. I mean, that's what you pay insurance for, right? After that year our rates almost trippled, made us feel like we had multiple DWIs or something. The only reason we didn't switch insurance companies is because USAA has excellent service and we figured everyone else would give us high rates anyways. Our rates finally dropped back down to what they were after about 2 years. We have a $500 deductible now and we do not plan on ever making a claim unless it's something major.

During the high rate period we got some insight from USAA on how the insurance industry works. ANY claim is a black mark on your record. Some claims weigh more than others as you would expect but too many of any kind within a certain time frame and your rates WILL go up. They even told me that if you had nothing but too many not-at-fault accidents within a certain time frame (like getting rear-ended 3 times in a year, etc) that your rates would still increase because you "attract accidents".
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Old 10-14-2005, 02:05 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StoicDude
Ohh I forgot to say what ajax said. He is completely right.
Any claim will count against you for an insurance company, regardless of at fault or not.

I had to get my rim and tire replaced on my VW GTI (18 BBS as standard equipment with michelin pilot sports) so I filed a claim because the estimate was just around 1000. This ws from hitting a huge unfixed pothole in NYC, and it still counted against me.

I dont know that to be true. if you're in an accident and are not at fault, and no claim is made against YOUR insurance then your insurance has no grounds to raise your rates. then again its insurance, they'll raise rates on a whim since its so hard to get them back down...
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Old 10-14-2005, 02:09 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeteocles
No claim was made against my insurance company.

My insurance company in of itself wasn't even contacted or had anything to do with my lawsuit.

It was 100% my lawyer against 80% her insurance company, and then 20% her lawyer.

I mean, she friggen ran a red light. No contest, they weren't gonna try to get my insurance company to fix anything of hers.

The only thing we did was that we let the insurance company know, as a matter of courtesy, that all this was happening and to not disclose any information should her side try to contact them.
I totally believe your story, but it doesn't matter if you made a claim against your insurance company or not. If your or the other insurance company subscribes to CLUE (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange) which they most likely do then they will find out your claim history. They will then use that info to determine your rates.

Here's a FAQ about CLUE reports:
http://oci.wi.gov/pub_list/pi-207.htm

If the police report is incorrect then like the others said you'll need to get that straightened out. I feel for you brother, dealing with that stuff is a real PITA.

Also, check your policy but you may be required to report any accidents your vehicle is in to your insurance company regardless if any claims are made. USAA told me that we are required to. But frankly I will not because I know that anything that I report works against me, depending on what happened and if the other party doesn't want to make a claim either of course.
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Old 10-14-2005, 02:23 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pantablo
I dont know that to be true. if you're in an accident and are not at fault, and no claim is made against YOUR insurance then your insurance has no grounds to raise your rates. then again its insurance, they'll raise rates on a whim since its so hard to get them back down...
If you asked your insurance company that then they'd probably say that no, your rates won't be affected. Then ask them if your rates would go up if you were involved in 5 not-at-fault accidents in a short time frame. I agree with what you are saying that it shouldn't affect you but this is the insurance industry we're talking about. They are in business to make money, not to pay out claims. Any claim you make means you are that much more of a liability to the insurance industry. Many companies look at your credit rating to determine rates too. Is it fair that you pay more if you have so-so credit but never make any claims? According to the insurance industry they have statistically proven that people with bad credit make more claims so that means you are a liability. Oh yeah, it sucks.
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Old 10-14-2005, 02:46 PM   #21
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Alright....

Game plan:

1) Write a letter to the supervisor explaining my situation: will try to get sympathy out of him--no human being can read this story and not get irritated.

2) Gotta find the statute of limitations. How long do I have after the time of the accident to make amendments to my record?

3) Gather evidence against the Department. I'll draft a complaint and have a professor look over it to make sure it is bullet proof. I also need to request a copy of the cancelled check cashed by the DMV in sacramento showing that I paid for a police report but got none from them.

4) If my complaint doesn't scare them into action, I'll threaten law suit.

5) If threats don't scare em, I'll file a suit.

6) I'm gonna aim for punative damages ontop of damages for the raised insurance rates.
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