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    Crooked Cops and Taken Advantage of?

    Jurisdiction / State: Louisiana

    Took place in: Baton Rouge, Louisiana

    Here's a crazy automobile traffic accident scenario and question - I hope someone can help (Please):

    My mother, who lives in Baton Rouge, LA, got into a car accident yesterday. She was in the left-most lane, and someone from her right merged into her lane and hit her.

    They both pulled off to the side of the road.

    The woman (*we'll just say her name is Jane) who hit my mother's car (my mother says she looked like a college student) got out of the car and told my mother that she was sorry and that she didn't see her. My mother asked her for her license and insurance information. Jane replied with a "I don't know my insurance company. I have to call my step-daddy." My mother, reminded of me when I used to be a college student, completely understood that Jane may have not known her insurance information and let Jane call her "step-daddy" for the information.



    Soon after, a friend of Jane arrives at the scene. Then, after that, three motorcycle policemen show up at the scene. At this point, my mother was on the phone with her insurance company and very confused that all these people suddenly showed up. The police talk with Jane and her friend, get their side of the story, and dismiss them. At this point, Jane + friend have left.

    The police approach my mother and ask her to write a description of the accident and to sign the description form. My mother (a South Korean immigrant) cannot speak English very well, so she asked if she could draw the incident instead. The police apparently replied with a stern "no" and demanded that she write out the description. My mother then asked if she could call a friend who could translate and write the description for her. They gave her some spiel about involving other people, said "no," and again demanded that she quickly write the statement. She did not want to sign the form, yet the police were demanding that she do so. So, somehow in between all that, my mother called her friend to come out and the friend said he'd be there soon. So, my mother, trying to stall, began writing very slowly on the description sheet that the police had given her. As she was writing, the policeman approached her with a ticket that fined her for "failing to yield in lane" and told her to sign it. My mother refused to sign the ticket because she did not understand why she would have to sign a ticket saying that it was her fault when it was plainly not. Soon, my mother received a call from her friend saying he'd be there in one minute. My mother told the officer that her friend would be there in one minute, and as soon as the police heard that her friend was coming, the two other policeman that were there fled the scene. The one that was giving my mother a ticket opened my mother's car door and threw the ticket in and left. Somehow, in the process of all this, the one writing the ticket got a hold of my mother's driver's license and took it with him.

    My mother's friend arrived too late and did not see anything in time except my mother sobbing because of the shock of what had just happened.

    My mother did not see the names of the other two policemen.

    All actions that have been taken up to this point are: called insurance company, called lawyer.

    --------

    What are the chances of winning this case in court? What would be some arguments to point out?

    I do not know much about court law, but with what little I do know, I feel as though we have little chance at all.

    I see Jane + friend (fake eye-witness) + policeman against my mother.

    Please help.

  2. Registered User Samaritan & Scholar
    mightymoose's Avatar
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    Your insurance company will work this out for you.
    Your mother was not obligated to write anything and should have trusted her instincts... though it can be hard when the officer is demanding. There is nothing that officer can do if you simply tell him "no".
    With the citation, it was wise to sign it. Signing the citation is an agreement to appear in court, not an admission of guilt. Refusing to sign a citation (refusing to appear in court) is grounds for arrest.

    Your mother has a good chance of beating the citation. The officer did not witness the accident and appears to be relying totally on the other driver's statement. In court your mother will have benefit of an interpreter to explain the situation and to ask questions of the officer.

    The police should have obtained the other driver's insurance information and put it in the report. Your insurance company will settle things with that insurance company.

    I am not clear if your mother finished writing a statement or not, but whatever she wrote could be used against her... but if her English isn't so great then it may not be of much value to anyone.

    As for the officers, if you feel a complaint is necessary then take the time to stop by the department and write one out. If you do not make a formal written complaint then don't expect any results. A phone call will not do it.

  3. #3
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    Where is the damage on the two cars? The officers may have been relying on both the statements and the evidence at the scene.

    It also depends on what they cited her for? Do you have the statute? It may not have been for anything related to the cause of the crash.
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    Louisiana is a NO FAULT state. Blame is never attributed or assessesd. Speak with your mother, again. Something is missing or incomplete about her tale of woe and abuse!

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    Thank you for all of your responses. They are greatly appreciated.

    @cdwjava - I'm not exactly sure where on the car the damage is because I currently reside in California and have not seen the car. In regards to using both sides as evidence, why did they send the other lady away and not allow my mother to have an interpretor come and translate things for her? The cited ticket was for "failure to yield in lane."

    @armyjudge - I'm not one to blame the justice system in any state, but do you really think that just because LA is a no-fault state, the police there won't help out their friends in a traffic accident and take advantage of someone who can't speak english very well? Like I said, there were three policemen and two fled after hearing a friend was coming. The one remaining opened my mother's car door and threw the ticket in and also zoomed off on his motorcycle.

    I know my mother, and she is not one to lie - especially about something as trivial as a small auto accident.
    Besides the legality of the actual car accident, is there anything that you all find fishy about the attitudes of the woman who hit my mom's car and the policemen?

  6. #6
    Moderator Learned Scholar

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    Quote Originally Posted by army judge View Post
    Louisiana is a NO FAULT state. Blame is never attributed or assessesd. Speak with your mother, again. Something is missing or incomplete about her tale of woe and abuse!
    It may be a no fault state, but if they believe someone violated a traffic code they can still cite for that, apparently. We do not need to apply fault out here in order to cite for the cause of the collision, either.
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  7. #7
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    Louisiana is a different world when it comes to law enforcement. I can't say whether what they did was up to snuff or not.

    Now, as for waiting for someone, they are not required to wait for someone else to arrive at the scene. It helps, but they do no have to remain. If all that you stated can be asserted with some reasonableness in court, she may prevail. But, it's hard to say what the officers might have been acting on, here. And if there was a language barrier, then your mother's account may be missing something in the translation because she may not be completely aware of what transpired.

    She might consider engaging legal counsel to assist her.
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