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An accident happened to my son. He proceeded through a yellow light in an SUV pulling a trailer going 35 mph. An approaching vehicle attempted to make a left turn and struck his SUV on the side. The initial claims adjuster was persuaded by an eye witness' testimony that (a) the light turned yellow 30 feet from the intersection, and (b) the light was red by the time my son's vehicle entered the intersection.

My math says a car traveling 35 mph is travelling 51.3 feet per second. We just timed the traffic light. The yellow lasts more than a full 4 seconds.

In my opinion the initial claims adjuster should lose his job. My son has a perfect driving record. Started at 15-1/2. He turns 22 in September. He has also worked as a part-time pizza delivery driver. He is very proud of his consistent daily driving and is always alert to it. You can imagine how wounded he is emotionally by this.

Driver rams him while he is confident he had had the right of way. Eye witness says he ran a red light when he is certain he didn't. And mathematically he would have to have been going a lot less than 51.3 feet per second to not have entered the intersection from 30 feet away in 4 seconds.

On the one hand, we can't help feeling that this claims adjuster should be fired. It's not even high school math and he just accepted an eye witness' impossible testimony instead of standing up for a customer. How many other customers has he done the same thing to? A guy like that could do millions of dollars of damage to customers who were not at fault but the adjuster found them at fault. Should we try to open up his past adjustment history? What about the way the rates go up after an (unjust) finding of at fault? Is this a CFPB claim against the insurance company for doing business this way?

How can I find out more about this? Specific Google search string suggestions!?

Poll

I think you have a good case against the insurance company

60%21 votes
34%12 votes
5%2 votes

| 35 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  What does the police report say? (14+ / 0-)

    "Privatize to Profitize" explains every single Republican economic, social and governing philosophy. Take every taxpayer dollar from defense, education, health care, public lands, retirement - privatize it, and profit from it.

    by mumtaznepal on Thu Jul 03, 2014 at 08:10:57 PM PDT

  •  Yes Depending on the Company (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    philipmerrill, cosette, susans

    When the car hauler damaged our vehicle, our rates went up for a long time because of it. It happened 1500 miles away from our control.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Jul 03, 2014 at 08:39:24 PM PDT

    •  Good example, but that's not an at fault (0+ / 0-)

      I understand the desire to recoup any outlay. Putting it all on the customer can be iccky. But in this case what I expect there would be more of is accepting at fault claims against customers too readily. Not that they should fight on and on no matter what. But why would they just rubber stamp something mathematically impossible?

  •  insurance cos do what they want (9+ / 0-)

    one time I was passed on the right while making a right-hand lane change. No damage to the pick-up-driving-asshole, but my wife's new car got quite smashed on the door. We had to write a check for the $1000 deductible, which really hurt. When the insurance adjuster was looking at the car, I said to her "does that look like I ran into the other car?" That's all I said, and she didn't say a word.

    A couple months later we got a check for $1000.

    This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson, written by Dorothy Fields

    by Karl Rover on Thu Jul 03, 2014 at 09:09:34 PM PDT

  •  I was just rear-ended while sitting at a red light (4+ / 0-)

    The other driver was ticketed and my insurance company was terrific. They had an adjuster come to my home to check out the minor auto damage. They set up an appointment at a body shop of my choice, paid 100%, gave me a loner car while mine was being repaired, called twice to make sure everything was okay and then finally sent a nice letter with a survey for me to fill out about how I was treated.  If you son was not ticketed, your insurance company should do the same.   My rates have not gone up as a result of this accident.

    Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love. - Einstein

    by moose67 on Thu Jul 03, 2014 at 09:10:36 PM PDT

    •  I too have gotten good service from an ins. co. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      susans

      Not the insurance company that is in this case, but I HAVE gotten excellent service in the past. That's why this seems like a negligence matter to me. Don't find a customer at fault because a witness says they saw a flying pig (an impossibility). Stick with facts or alleged facts that are possible.

  •  Although any court officer will tell you that (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, philipmerrill, Hannibal, FG, susans

    the most unreliable evidence is that given by an "eye witness", it's also the sort that seems to trump any logical counter.
    I'm sorry to say that your son is likely screwed.
    Damned shame, phillipmerrill.
    (Any chance it occurred at one of those Pasadena intersections that try to nab red light violators? Lack of a ticket would seem to be proof of innocence in that event.)

  •  It would seem, if your son ran a red light as (8+ / 0-)

    is being claimed, then the driver would have had plenty of time to stop before hitting him, since your son was very nearly through the intersection before the other driver started through. As evidenced by the rear side of the truck/front end of the car damage.

    Not to mention, when making a left turn, a driver is to wait until the intersection is clear, even if that means the oncoming car is running a red light. If he hit him in the rear, the intersection was certainly not clear when he made his turn.

  •  I'm having a hard time with the math/facts. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    philipmerrill, geekydee

    Since I am the only one mentioning this -- I feel sort of dumb. But, I'm like a small terrier with a knotted washrag when it comes to math, soooo:

    You say:

    ….mathematically he would have to have been going a lot less than 51.3 feet per second to not have entered the intersection from 30 feet away in 4 seconds.
    You also say:
    ...eye witness' testimony that the light turned yellow 30 feet from the intersection….
    Need more info:

    1. Was the eye witness male or female?

    2. What was the SUV hauling?


    ___________
    Conscious evolution is a human right. Demand your rights, today!

    by Pluto on Thu Jul 03, 2014 at 09:23:28 PM PDT

    •  I think I can answer those (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pluto, susans

      I believe 1. is male, a dad who was driving.

      As for 2. the trailer was empty because the task it was used for had been recently completed (load was unloaded). They were just coming home.

      •  An enclosed trailer? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        philipmerrill, FG

        How long was it?

        Was the eyewitness driving in a particular direction during the accident? Or was he stopped? Where?

        Oh, and in answer to your poll -- you can definitely get this finding overturned. All it takes is plenty of money and the most hated (by cops) traffic lawyer in your community.


        ___________
        Conscious evolution is a human right. Demand your rights, today!

        by Pluto on Thu Jul 03, 2014 at 09:45:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  open trailer, long but not super long (0+ / 0-)

          The eyewitness was in the lane to the right of my son. His description was they were pretty neck to neck when the yellow light came on about 30 feet from the intersection and he chose to slow while my son continued to go through on the yellow. It seems to me this eyewitness can't be mentally right about the light turning red given 35 mph, 30 feet from the light, and a 4-second yellow (we just timed it earlier today).

          •  If your son went on the yellow (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            philipmerrill

            How did the other (presumably stopped on HIS red) car get going from the stop and all the way into the intersection in time to hit him?

            •  In California (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              susans, philipmerrill

              what happens is that a car making a left turn enters the intersection on green and stops because of oncoming (through) traffic, which has the right-of-way.  When the light turns red that driver then completes the turn (permitted against a red light when already in the intersection), and cross traffic begins.

              In this case, from the turning driver's perspective, when the light turned red he (she) had the right-of-way to complete the turn, looked right to verify that cross traffic was yielding to that, proceeded to turn, and the oncoming SUV-with-trailer rushing to beat the yellow/ running the red "caused" the accident.  It's not hard to see "fault" in both parties.

              In any case if there was no citation (unlikely anyway in an ambiguous case like this) there is no impact on driving record, and one or the other insurance company will pay damages.  In any case your insurance company is not your attorney, and they have no obligation contractual or otherwise to "argue your case".  Their obligation is to cover the cost of damages, under the terms of the policy.  That's all . . .
               

              Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

              by Deward Hastings on Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 09:05:32 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  and was the witness an acquaintance of either (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      philipmerrill

      litigants/insured/ vehicle owners?

      ''The guarding of military and diplomatic secrets at the expense of informed representative government provides no real security for our Republic.'' - Justice Hugo L. Black of the Supreme Court

      by geekydee on Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 11:45:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I had a whopping problem in 2003 when I was (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    philipmerrill, skohayes, susans

    hit by a drunk driver with MY insurance company (I was not at fault per the police etc.). Probably because the kid was underage, then in a coma, and uninsured... in addition to having been drunk/doing drugs.

    I had to hire an attorney, sue my OWN insurance company... on and on. My brand new 4Runner was a total, though I had to fight FOR that given the company didn't want to do that so I had to hire two separate experts to assess the vehicle's condition, separately.

    It was a freaking nightmare.

    I got on the net and found some insurance forums where I got initial help, then got a recommendation to an attorney.

    I never ever want to go through that again. You have to fight if you are right. But be careful because it can get very expensive IF you lose.

    The only hawk I like is the kind that has feathers. My birding blogs: http://thisskysings.wordpress.com/ and canyonbirds.net

    by cany on Thu Jul 03, 2014 at 09:45:50 PM PDT

  •  What about all those data loggers our cars (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    philipmerrill, susans

    supposedly have? That should have confirmation about the speed your son was going before the accident (maybe too late to get now).

  •  Hire a private independent adjuster (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    philipmerrill, susans

    Best advice I can give. Do it now while the evidence is still fresh and before the ins co gets too intrenched.

    Yes, you have to fight your own insurance companies all the time.

    We have three specific cases in our own family alone.

  •  Driving techniques (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    philipmerrill, Deward Hastings

    Yellow after green means STOP, unless it is unsafe to do so e.g. if a large truck is following fairly close behind and would run into the back of your vehicle because they could not stop in time. It does not mean "carry on regardless" or "put your foot down so you miss the red". I note the witness who believes they saw the red light being run had themselves stopped at the light

    Similarly, a yellow after red means "stop but prepare to go" and a good driver will observe the intersection/crossing to make sure they can move off safely. Green does not give you carte blanche to slam your foot to the floor and plow into whatever vehicles or pedestrians are in your way.

    If both drivers had observed these simple principles of defensive driving, the collision would not have happened. .

    As far as the claim is concerned, the son will almost certainly lose any "no claims bonus" reducing their premiums. Both drivers are likely to because the essence is the claim, not blame.

    Sorry to be brutal. Your son was driving in a way to endanger himself and others if he had had passengers, if not actually illegally. That should be your main concern. This may be an opportunity for some sort of advanced driving course rather than expending effort in retrieving a situation in which both drivers share an element of blame. Completing a properly accredited course might reduce the increased premiums you/he will be paying.

    "Come to Sochi, visit the gay clubs and play with the bears" - NOT a Russian advertising slogan.

    by Lib Dem FoP on Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 05:58:47 AM PDT

    •  Well, I'm not getting (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      philipmerrill

      how someone manages to turn left and hit an oncoming car, at the rear of the vehicle, and is not at fault, regardless of who ran what light.

      How does the driver who turned left not see the oncoming vehicle?

      The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

      by dfarrah on Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 08:02:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  see my explanation (0+ / 0-)

        a couple comments above

        there's "fault" all around (and both parties will argue that they had the right-of-way) . . . which is likely why there was no citation given to anyone.

        Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

        by Deward Hastings on Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 09:10:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hence my comment (0+ / 0-)

          I took issue with this in the diary:

          Driver rams him while he is confident he had had the right of way.
          It's not a matter whether he had the right of way in law, a driver should be aware of other road users. As a (former) motorcycle rider in London, you get to assume they are all idiots and look out for situations where their actions could endanger you. On the motorways (freeways) where the rules are different in the UK - you choose the lane according to your speed and the outside one is for overtaking - I always move into the middle lane in case a car barrels into my way joining the road at an intersection. (Equally I move there before the junction in case somebody decides to exit late, tries to overtake and slams into you.

          The author's son was pulling a trailer. This obviously changed the behavior and handling of the SUV. When there were different situations like these - in my case hiring a different bike or carrying a passenger - you need to be alert to these.

          Now these are things most drivers learn with experience. A good school should teach them but I suspect the feeling of invincerablity, by having a large metal box around with various safety devices, lulls many into forgetting them.

          "Come to Sochi, visit the gay clubs and play with the bears" - NOT a Russian advertising slogan.

          by Lib Dem FoP on Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 12:05:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Are you concerned your son will lose his job? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    philipmerrill

    Or his insurance? The job thing depends on the company. Insurance companies don't necessarily drop a customers because of one accident.

    I will skip the long story, but a few years ago I caused a very minor accident and barely tapped a car in front of me while parking. No one was injured and there was no visible damage to either car. In most cases, both parties would have walked away with no follow-up; at least I would have had my car been hit.

    However, the driver of the other turned out to be very strange, made a huge fuss and called the police who were not happy to be involved in a nothing situation. She eventually sued me for supposedly sustaining substantial injuries. My insurance company was wonderful and took care of everything and they did not drop me or raise my rates.

    I guess my point is that yes, there are many horror stories about insurance providers, but sometimes they do the right thing.

    Philip, this really sounds like a he said/he said situation and unfortunately, I suspect that the eyewitness report will prevail, accurate or not. However, I am not a lawyer, so this is obviously not a legal opinion. That being said, if I can do something to help, let me know.

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