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M

mrfaust

Guest
In short:
I was rear ended in October 1999 in California (all parties reside in same county in California). Girl who rear ended me claims I stopped. Her witnesses claim I stopped. She tailgated me for well over a mile. Her insurance company has been hounding me to pay for damages. I did not have the right kind of insurance coverage due to a miscommunication with my insurance company. I was told to request binding arbitration. I did. Her insurance company refused. I sent a letter requesting her insurance company to explain their "theory of liablity", which states CVC Code 22109: "No person shall stop or suddenly decrease the speed of a vehicle on a highway without first giving an appropriate signal in the manner provided in this chapter to the driver of any vehicle immediately to the rear when there is opportunity to give the signal". My questions are:

Does "highway" mean any road or just a freeway, because this happened on a residential street?
I still maintain that I did not brake, but even if I had, wouldn't she be partially responsible to driving at an unsafe speed (according to the police report) and following too closely?

I have asked a few attorneys in my area to help, but no one is willing to take my case. Should I write this insurance company a letter laying out on the line my position, or should I respond with, "Go ahead, take me to court, I'm not paying you a dime!" There has been no lawsuit filed, nor any implied threat of such by this insurance company, they just keep sending me nasty letters demanding money. What should I do when I've done everything suggested up to this point?
 


L

lars coltrane

Guest
Yes, a residential street is a highway.

You have an interesting case. If as you say you did not stop, then both cars were moving at impact; so did the girl sped up and hit you? On the other hand, I agree that if you did stop, the girl should not have been so close as to hit you. (if you were stopped, did you stop at an intersection? or did you stop for a kid about to jay walk? or was it some other reason?)

You have not stated how much the insurance co. wants you to pay. If alot, you may consider hiring a lawyer. If not too much, you may offer to pay some smaller amount just
to get rid of the matter. I know that sounds bad, but sometimes it is better to put something behind and move foward rather than let it drag on, it a much higher cost.

 
M

mrfaust

Guest
First they wanted me to pay $5000. After I requested binding arbitration they said it was too expensive, please pay 75%. I then asked them to cite case/statutory theory of liability, which they quoted that CVC and said please pay 50%. The amount keeps going down. I have consulted with a number of attorneys who do not want to take my case (I don't know why, they won't tell me their reasons). I maintain I did not stop, but her witness in the car says I did and the witness sitting on a porch half a block away (in front of us) says I did. It was not at an intersection. She attempted to go around me (I think she may have sped up, which is what people normally do when they are going to pass someone) and plowed into the back of my car (my damage was $900. I haven't asked them to pay me anything). I want to hire an attorney (I'd rather pay the $1000 retainer for an attorney than give these people a dime) but can't seem to find anyone to talk to me. I do have a local police officer willing to be an expert witness. If I do end up taking this to court, can I countersue to recover for my damages? I realize I had no insurance and I'm not into suing, but I feel that if they are going to play hard ball, then I have nothing to lose.
 
C

Confused about the law

Guest
HI
I'm not a lawyer, I realy do not understand why is your fault anyway, no matter if you stopped or not. It is her fault regardless. I hit a someone in the back and the cop's said it was my fault, which I agree. Could you explain what's the logic behined this.
thanks
 
L

lars coltrane

Guest
There is one thing certain in the law: nothing is absolute. Thus, while generally most people who do the rear-ending are found at fault, it is not always true. If a car makes a lane change into your lane and brakes not leaving you adequete space to stop, the front car is going to be at fault.

One version I see in this story is that the front car's driver was tired of the tailgater, so he slammed on his brakes to shake her loose. It didn't work and instead brought them closer together. If he brakedf or only that reason, he would have some fault. If he is braking for some reason, then the rear car is travelling too close, ect.

What make the law confusing (and interesting at the same time) is that often there are competing code sections. This allows each side to argue and make it sound like the laws are on their side. So, credibility is very important, as are witness statements. (here the witnesses are the girls - does that mean they are her friends or does it mean that they support her side of the story?)

So your confusion is well founded. It applies in most, if not all cases. There are usually facts in dispute or competing code sections.
 
M

mrfaust

Guest
Speaking of competing codes, is there one that would help me having to do with the car behind you adhering to the 2 second rule (or leaving adequate space between cars)? Sure, I braked ... after she hit my car! The only witness I have is my six year old daughter (that will not fly in court). Several blocks before she hit me I tapped my brakes (so the light comes on, but my car did not slow or stop), she backed off, then got right back on my tail. She told the police officer that I stopped this time, too, which was not the case. I was told that the reason I am having a hard time finding an attorney is because there isn't enough money involved (no one was injured). I would like to write the insurance company a letter and whip out some statutes/codes in my favor. Do you know of any I could use for this (case citation would also be nice)? My husband thinks we could beat it sans attorney, but I don't know (I have some legal background- I have an AS in Legal Assistancy). Are my chances very good or should I just take the 50%? 25% of me wants them off my case, 75% of me wants to fight for principle reasons (this girl has not been made to take responsibity for her actions).
 

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