Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Do you want to know what makes Los Angeles the coolest city in North America? Nothing is ever your fault. Or anyone else’s fault, for that matter. Did you drive drunk and go the wrong direction down a one way street, only to hit someone? It’s their fault for not having seen you first and moving out of the way. Did you crash into someone because you were you too busy texting your friend to pay attention to the road? Oh well, it’s either your friend’s fault for texting you while you were driving or better yet, the other driver’s fault for assuming you were actually watching the road.
Yes, my post oozes for sarcasm, which definitely can go over a lot of people’s heads since here on the west coast we don’t speak “sarcasm”. But yes, in our area of law, we’ve seen every excuse in the book from reckless and negligent drivers who injure our clients. While I’ve grown used to the nonsensical excuses these offending drivers give for having almost killed some of our clients, what surprises me more these days is how their insurance adjusters try to justify their behaviors.
Recently we had a case where one of my clients was stopped on Ventura Blvd., as the car ahead of her was reversing to parallel park into a space at the side of the road. She had been stopped for a good 10 seconds so there was nothing abrupt about the incident. Another girl came along and rear-ended her at full speed, hard. Her lack of attempt to even slow down illustrated she had not been paying any attention to the road. The offending driver agreed it was her fault, and gave my client only her phone number. My client was quite shaken up and in her haze did not force the issue of getting the insurance info on the spot, thinking the other girl would be true to her word of agreeing to exchange over the phone. Bad choice.
As happens quite regularly here in Los Angeles, the offending driver goes home, probably smokes some (more) weed, and then decides to change their tune. “Wasn’t my fault!” In the above example, the offending party refused to answer her phone after the accident. She ended up returning one text, but then wouldn’t give her information. While my client ended up sustaining injuries, after about a week it was clear the other girl was not going to cooperate. Fortunately, we helped our client contact the local police, filed a police report, and had the officer at the station contact the girl in question. Funny how she was suddenly talking after the police contacted her!
You can guess what happened next. Offending girl is now scared and finally ends up suddenly contacting my client via phone and text, complaining that she was going to call her back eventually and she was angry the police got involved. We finally opened a claim with her insurance company and you can guess where this is headed – offending girl now tells her insurance company that our client reversed into her and that it is our client’s fault. Welcome to LA where nothing is anyone’s fault!
Fortunately everything worked out fine and we were able to illustrate the facts about what a massive liar their insured was. While the adjuster put up a short-lived fight about how it was possible our client reversed into theirs, it became clear that no one reverses at 30mph on Ventura Blvd, nor does someone go to the police in an attempt to track down the poor person they hit.
What’s the point of this post? Simple things can become very complicated when you’re dealing with untruthful people. Given that this is a big city, there is definitely a survival of the fittest, and often survival of the dumbest, factor in play here. People will do and say anything to get out of assuming liability. As such, it is important that you follow procedures when you’re involved in an accident.
Many at-fault parties will try to get you to bypass the system to avoid having their insurance premiums go up. An example of this is where you’re rear ended, and the other person doesn’t want you to go through insurance and report the accident. Instead, the at-fault driver wants to pay you directly for your vehicle damage out of his own pocket to avoid the insurance process. In some cases, this can work if you know who you are dealing with. More often than not however, this can be a bad idea. Once the other driver realizes the actual cost of fixing your car, the additional cost of covering your rental car, and the fact that you may have medical bills, that agreement to “pay for everything” may suddenly evaporate.
Things to think about. If you’re ever in an accident and unsure about what to do, always exchange insurance information on the spot and document everything you can, including taking pictures of the cars with your cell phone, including the other driver’s license plate.
Don’t hesitate to call us if you have any questions or desire a free consultation. We are happy to help! 888.552.6272
at 8:48 PM