Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Car was 'T-Boned' While Crossing Traffic: Advice From Any Attorneys, Pretend or Otherwise, Would be Very Much Appreciated...

I always curse the "youngsters" for over-sharing online. I feel like the old man telling the kids to get off of his digital lawn.

But, what is the point of having a virtual salon or bar if you can't reach out for advice and insight from the good folks who frequent it?

Bad news inevitably comes at least according to Benjamin Sisko on Star Trek's Deep Space Nine. Perhaps I am an outlier as my bad news calls me in the mid to late afternoon and early evening. I found out that my father died at about 7:53 pm during the season finale of the Sopranos in 2004--the phone rang, I knew what the call was, as I watched Tony run away from John Sacrimoni's house when the Feds were raiding it.

My mother called me yesterday afternoon.

Her: Hello
Me: What is wrong? [her voice is transparent and obvious]
Her: I had a car accident
Me: Goodness. Are you okay?
Her: I got hit, my poor little car is all messed up [sobs, panicked voice, upsetness]
Me: What happened. Again? [exasperation]

My most important concern is for her safety. I am embarrassed to admit this, but I am a practical person and those of you who are the only children (or the only responsible children) of an older parent, my second thought was "how much is this mess going to cost of my rather limited funds to fix?"

There is no resentment in that question, just frustration at life choices which did not allow me to have a money tree growing in the backyard, how I need to rectify those choices, and the weight that comes with knowing that most of those transactions from the children of the poor and working classes who manage to be strivers is in one direction only. So be it.

Thus, my question and advice seeking from the diverse range of folks here at WARN who may be online this weekend.

As I understand it, my mother was crossing traffic on a road that runs North and South and was "T-Boned", i.e. hit on the drivers side of her car (again, I am glad she is okay and the phone call wasn't that she was hurt or worse). Her story is that she checked the traffic, the other person's car was far away, and it was safe to proceed. She is hit in the second lane near the yellow line. Witnesses said they thought she must have been seriously injured from the impact because car seemed like it was going to tip over.

The car suffered moderate damage. The car dealer says the doors will need to be replaced and the frame is not bent. The windows didn't break. The airbags did not deploy. This makes me wonder about the speed of the other vehicle as he must have slowed down--was he distracted? slow to react? mechanical failure? How can a car get hit that way and not suffer even more damage?

[I had to suppress my annoyed tone with those questions as my mother recounted her version of events.

I don't understand how one can get hit crossing traffic if they are doing the classic "left, right, left, right, left again, head on a swivel, eyes on the road in the direction you are going routine". My driving teacher was a sadist. Phil's Driving School is no joke.]

The brass tacks: no ticket was issued to either party.

How is culpability determined in a T-Bone accident for the party who is hit? Does a lack of a ticket preclude a civil claim for bodily harm? Does the other party have grounds for a claim too? The accident occurred in one of the few that does not have a "no fault" insurance law.

I am not a lawyer--clearly--but from what I figured out, the party who is turning across traffic has an added burden of caution as the other drivers have the right of way. However, the party which is not turning has the obligation to not hit vehicles in front of them, and to operate the vehicle in a manner that would allow them to avoid obstacles and to yield if need be.

I have read conflicting material about the practical culpability of the person who hits a vehicle in a T-Bone type collision.

On my insistence, my mother will be going to see a very good attorney who has helped her in the past.

Any folks with experience in these matters? What should we expect?


Myshkin the Idiot said...

I'm glad your mother is safe and well, that's a scary phone call.

About a year ago my mother in law was in an accident. She was stopped and turning left, with her signal on, and was rear ended by a young woman in a nicer car. My mother in law's car was totaled, but the other driver's insurance company didn't cover anything. I think they offered her a couple thousand dollars for her emergency room visit and cost of getting a new car.

I remember reading something about how in auto 'accidents' (in quotes because usually they are due to at least one person's negligence) no one is usually prosecuted or held accountable for any misdeed because it is assumed it was unintentional.

chauncey devega said...

Thank you for the kind words and energy. I am not worried about prosecution and more of her ability to pursue a civil claim for injury and having the deductible paid. There is lots going on out here in the streets though regarding car scams where people hit/or get hit intentionally so they can pursue claims.

Myshkin the Idiot said...

My wife's grandfather was rear ended and prosecuted a few years ago. He was stopped and the other party was clearly trying to scam him because he is older, they had sufficient evidence to prove he was not at fault, but there was a whole trial for it and everything.

I cannot stand cars and driving, it's scary that an auto accident can take someone's life instantly... I don't like cities and suburbs for this reason.

By the way, anytime anything happens in our house we think about the financial repercussions. It is a Very important part if everyday life and emergency situations.

Learning IS Eternal said...

So true about car scams.

I was involved in an accident where I was found not @fault but was still sued, to my surprise, by MY passenger... Who just happen to be my cousin. I hadn't realised that I had been sued (they had already paid him 3 thou-wow) till' I was paying bills an noticed an increase in my insurance. Calling the insurance Co. to say "they did not find me @fault, WTF?" did they inform me of the skullduggery. Calling my cousin to ask "did we not GET HIT by the same car/what accident were you in?"

He told me he did not sue me. He denied he had been paid.

No, we don't talk much anymore.

This is flipside of the coin to the phrase "I'm 'bout to catch a case." This is the pay dirt scheme to come up off someone financially by criminal or civil means as opposed to snap violence.

Have mom be careful in her choice of words when talking to insurance folk over the phone concerning details of the accident. There will be a call. You are being recorded. As much as we'd like to believe our insurance Co. Is working for us, will look for any reason not to pay us while raising monthly costs. All-State, State Farm, all the nationally recognized ones drop you after 2 claims.

Louis Dixon said...

I have no expertise to offer, but I'm glad your moms is alright.

threeoutside said...

Take my comments for what they're worth ($0.00). I've served on two juries, one for an auto rear-ender accident, the other for a situation somewhat similar to your mother's (SO glad she's OK!!!). I've also been *in* a couple of accidents (no injuries) and have learned both from mistakes and from luckily doing things right.

1. Anyone CAN sue anyone else for just about anything. Seriously. That doesn't mean they're going to win, or not have the judge throw it out of court with scathing words, or maybe even lose and end up having to pay court costs themselves in addition to any money to the other party.

2. That the attending police officer did not issue a ticket *may* make it harder for either side to successfully sue. One of my accidents was that way, and what happened was that my insurance company paid for my car, then his and mine went at it over who paid what to whom, without my involvement. My premiums went up *some* for one year afterward. (The accident did not go to court - the ins. co.'s fought it out.)

3. Once her lawyer is on the case, do not EITHER of you talk personally with the other driver or anyone who represents him. If the other driver calls either of you, here is literally what you say or your mom says: "My lawyer's name is ___ and his telephone number is ___," AND THEN YOU HANG UP. (The exception is if you're making a phone deposition, which should be arranged ahead of time - not a cold call.) And make a note of the date and time of the call and anything they might have said before you could cut them off. In fact, you should keep notes on ANY conversation you have with anyone associated with the case. Good, dated, lucid notes are your friends.

4. Maybe her lawyer will take it on a contingency basis? If he loses, he doesn't get paid? I know, but sometimes they'll do that.

5. Bless you for taking care of your Mom. :^)

I hope this wasn't completely off-track from what you were seeking. Good luck!

chauncey devega said...

Thank you. She has gone from upset to angry. Now the issue is getting things fixed.

chauncey devega said...

Very helpful. The attorney works on contingency and from what I have seen pretty good. Monday we will find out. We need to see the accident report to see what was actually written down.

chauncey devega said...

I was w. a friend years ago and she was speeding and switched lanes and cut off the car next to us which she then hit.

Of course they said things were fine--her car was damaged theirs was just dinged on the bumper. I kept telling her to call the cops because they were gonna come up w. some scam. Guess what? The claimed a different car--newer--had been damaged. Her insurance rep showed me the pictures and I laughed because it wasn't the same car.

Here in Chicago the big thing is waiting until people are driving by and pulling out in front of them. I have heard people talking about how to wreck each other's cars to get paid by claiming they were stolen.

kokanee said...

Seems like pretty good advice. $0 is also priceless. ;)

kokanee said...

You seem to have everything under control - I would have been scammed already. Good luck tomorrow. Glad no one was hurt. Maybe we could set up something like kickstarter for donations.

chauncey devega said...

Folks have been so very very kind here on WARN I would not impose on them. Interesting thought though.

OldPolarBear said...

I am sorry to hear about your mom's troubles and glad to hear she is also OK. It is especially difficult for you that she apparently does not live that close and you are trying to help her from a distance.

Most of the advice here seems pretty good. I would only add to threeoutside's comment that you should make sure to check your mom's insurance policy to see if there is any restriction on seeking outside legal counsel. In some policies, this also could vary from state to state, there is a specific provision that you have to let them handle things or at least get their permission if you want to sue or take legal action independently.

The other thing might be more hassle depending on what kind of medical insurance coverage she has and how she feels about doctors, if she has one she likes and it's not hard getting an appointment and so on. It sounds like she feels fine, and there wasn't that much of a high impact to the crash, but if there is the slightest chance that she thinks she might have bumped her head, had her neck thrown around, or if she woke up after a day or two feeling achy or sore someplace, she should have it checked out thoroughly before she officially accepts anything from the insurance company.

These things are such a hassle, even once any scariness is over, getting everything settled. I wish you and your mom the best of luck.