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Rear ended and suing the driver

Discussion in 'Auto Accidents, Injuries' started by sqwerl, Mar 27, 2012.

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  1. sqwerl

    sqwerl Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Last fall I was driving through a construction zone during heavy rain and a lady in a minivan with two children inside rear ended me spinning me off the road. After she struck me, we separated for a few seconds, skidded about 100 feet or so, and I struck a tree which caved in one side of my small convertible. She proceeded behind me practically in the same skid tracks and struck me again, pushing me further into the tree and doing further damage to both vehicles.

    I had no one in the vehicle with me and no one stopped so I could ask for their contact information. I called the police so a police officer and tow truck arrived. The tow truck winched her vehicle off mine and moved it several hundred feet away and it was still driveable. The officer had missed several places of damage on the rear of my vehicle. Luckily, my husband arrived and pointed out more damages which he finally noted. The policeman walked to her van while we were near my vehicle, he briefly spoke to her, and she entered her van and started it to leave. By the time the officer had walked back to my vehicle my husband had walked to her vehicle, noticed the damage, and snapped a photo as she began to leave.

    She then stopped her van, got out, and began yelling at my husband. He remained calm and simply told her he had the right to take a photo. The policeman, being several hundred feet away near my vehicle and tow truck, heard the noise and blamed my husband for starting the "altercation." At this time my husband insisted the policeman walk over to look at her vehicle and he finally noted her damages. She left while the tow truck was towing my vehicle since I couldn't drive it. The tow company blamed my husband by using the argument from the policeman that he started the altercation with the woman even though they were also several hundred feet away. They said since she left before they could get her information, we were responsible for her winching fees as well.

    She had been stating the entire time that there was no damage to her vehicle, not to worry, etc. She was also wearing an EMT jacket which seemed to make the policeman act more favorably toward her. The policeman said since he didn't find any remains in the interstate from the collision that he couldn't determine fault. I explained to him that when it was raining that hard, it's very easy for a large minivan to push a small convertible off the road without causing major damage on impact.

    Her side of the events were two different stories. First, she claimed she was only pulling off the road to help me when she skidded out of control. That is what the officer noted on the report. I explained that was nonsense since if she was only pulling to the side of the interstate why did she slide so far and in my exact skid path? She also claimed at one point that a yellow truck swerved causing me to swerve and slide off the road. I know that to be completely false. The policeman didn't write that part of her statement on the report.

    He basically told me not to worry that the insurance could determine what happened regardless of there being no evidence in the highway. I took that to mean that it would be apparent that she had rear ended me. He asked for our insurance information by word of mouth only which unfortunately mine had recently expired. He took her on her word that she had insurance with company X policy Y and didn't ask for a card which I thought he was bound by law to do in Alabama.

    I had severe neck and back pains so went to the ER. Fortunately the X rays didn't reveal any broken bones and the doctor only noted whiplash. It took my husband two days to wait on the police report, verify the lady didn't have insurance, and convince the towing company to take her winching fees off my bill since she didn't have insurance so we could pay to get the car out and tow it home.

    I haven't gotten a repair estimate but I plan on suing her for damages and the ER bill either in Large Claims District Court with a form C88 or it would seem better to me to sue in Circuit Court with a form C93 for Motor Vehicle Negligence. What is my best option? Is there a statute of limitations? The courthouse wouldn't tell me even though I asked about each form/case type specifically.

    Should I subpoena the police officer? I don't want his testimony to negatively affect my case and I don't know that he wouldn't just repeat what he said on the report. I feel like I should bring up the fact that he didn't at least ask for her insurance card but that may be pointless and at the same time I don't want him to turn against me.

    This is a bad situation all around and I do realize that it's very important to have current insurance which I do now so I'll ask nicely for no lectures.

    Thank you in advance for any help.
     
  2. disagreeable

    disagreeable Well-Known Member

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    You have no insurance company to represent you. You have no witnesses she caused more than minor damage to your vehicle. She has no insurance and is likely poor and uncollectable. You can't prove beyond a reasonable doubt what, if any, damages she caused to you. I think suing her will be the equivalent of watching a monkey f*** a football. Or, in the words of a buddy of mine from AR, "Sorry bout yer luck". I would just count my loses, unless you can put together a reasonable case, with a potentially profitable outcome.
     
  3. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    You could probably get a judgment for partial damages, but unless the other party has the means to pay you will be wasting time in court.
    The statute of limitations for this is likely one year.
    You have learned an expensive lesson about maintaining insurance!
     
  4. sqwerl

    sqwerl Law Topic Starter New Member

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    From what I understand, she works as a paramedic so at least she has income. I just hope she can't or won't file BK.
     
  5. SoniaR

    SoniaR Banned

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    get an attorney as soon as possible
     

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