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Rebuttal to Denial Letter from Opposing (State Farm) Insurance Company

Discussion in 'Auto Accidents, Injuries' started by PR660, May 15, 2022.

  1. PR660

    PR660 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    California
    No major damage, no injuries, but is just plain untrue and doesn't hold water.

    Can anyone please examine my rebuttal to the denial letter and give your opinion.

    Also, if possible please state you experience with this sort of thing and any credentials that may apply.

    Thank you.[​IMG]

    4-2022 Xterra Crash.jpg
     
  2. flyingron

    flyingron Well-Known Member

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    You can rebut all you want, but they're going to ignore you. Time to file the lawsuit (unless you have an insurer to duke it out for you).
     
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  3. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    If you have auto insurance, why isn't your insurer defending you?

    In addition, before you submit any written documents to anyone, it is prudent to spell and grammar check every word.

    Once you've done that, do it more rigorously two more times.
     
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  4. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Let's start with my credentials: 35 years in the insurance industry, 9 years as a claim rep.

    You're right about one thing. A driver making a left turn must yield to oncoming vehicles. That you hit him creates a presumption that he didn't yield. Had he yielded, he wouldn't have been hit. Failing to yield is negligence.

    Unfortunately, having stop signs involved makes things more complicated, especially if both of you had stop signs. You note that you did, did the other driver?

    It would help if I could see an aerial view of the intersection from Google Maps.

    Your comment about no turn signals in the photos is not helpful. The turn signals could have shut off on impact, been shut off by the driver when he turned off the car or defaulted to the off position when the car was turned off. Your photos only show that the turn signals were off AFTER the collision. They are not evidence that the signals weren't being used prior to the collision.

    Army Judge makes a good point. Is JBR Marine making a claim against your insurance for the damage to its vehicle? If yes, talk to your company's liability claim rep to see if your company is raising a defense for you. That might give you a better idea on how to approach the denial.

    As for who had control of the intersection, no, your photos don't show that. They only show the position of the vehicles after the collision, not who did what just prior to the collision.

    Aside from the presumption that the other driver was supposed to yield to oncoming vehicles, your rebuttal is weak because it doesn't show who was doing what BEFORE the impact.

    It can't hurt to present your rebuttal to the other driver's insurance company. If you still get denied, you have the option of suing the other driver, using your collision coverage, or fixing your own damage with your own money.
     
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  5. PR660

    PR660 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thx. Xlnt vehicle, but it's an old 2002 Xterra, inherited from my late best friend. I don't have collision coverage, just liability. Will do on the multi proofreading!
     
  6. PR660

    PR660 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Both vehicles had stop signs. Other party insurance is NOT making a claim against me. Vehicle is a wonderful vehicle I inherited from my late best friend, but it's old-- a 2002 Xterra and I'm not carrying collision coverage.

    OVERHEAD VIEW

    overhead view.jpg
     
  7. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Just as a side note, a properly functioning turn signal indicator doesn't flash at 3x per second. They are designed to flash 1-2 times per second.
     
  8. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Penny wise, pound foolish.

    You-might-be-penny-wise-and-pound-foolish.jpg
     
  9. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    That complicates things.

    Here are the applicable statutes:

    CVC 21801.
    (a) The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left or to complete a U-turn upon a highway, or to turn left into public or private property, or an alley, shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching from the opposite direction which are close enough to constitute a hazard at any time during the turning movement, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to the approaching vehicles until the left turn or U-turn can be made with reasonable safety.

    (b) A driver having yielded as prescribed in subdivision (a), and having given a signal when and as required by this code, may turn left or complete a U-turn, and the drivers of vehicles approaching the intersection or the entrance to the property or alley from the opposite direction shall yield the right-of-way to the turning vehicle.


    Law section (ca.gov)

    I think the key here is this. If he signaled, you're at fault.

    If he didn't signal you could be partially at fault.

    Using Google Street View I stopped at your stop sign and I could clearly see the left turn lane ahead. A car sitting in that left turn lane would have clearly been manifesting an intent to turn left. A case could be made that you proceeded without making sure it was safe to do so.

    That no turn signal was operating after the collision is not evidence that it wasn't operating before the collision. That wouldn't fly in regular court but it might persuade a judge in small claims court where rules of evidence are relaxed.

    Just speculating here. I have no clue as to how this would play out in court. Go ahead with your rebuttal and if you still get denied, you can have your day in court.

    That's a choice, not an obligation and has nothing to do with determining fault.
     
  10. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Several observations:

    1. It's very hard to make much of your "rebuttal" without having the content of whatever it is you're rebutting.

    2. I can't tell from either of your posts or the photo what was happening right before the impact. The second photo seems to suggest that the Xterra was traveling southwest on Woodview, while the Honda* was traveling northeast. Correct?

    * - The two vehicles shown in the photos are a Nissan Xterra and a Honda Odyssey. The minivan is not a Hyundai Palisade. Doing Google image searches for both vehicles will make that abundantly clear.

    3. Including the company name allows one to look it up on CASOS and identify the president of the company. Is that you? Or is "the [company name] vehicle" the other vehicle? Either way, you might want to ask a moderator to edit that information out of the post.

    4. Your rebuttal to item #1 talks about photos and left turn signals, but I'm at a loss to understand how a photo could show a turn signal. Video? Yes. A photo? No. Did either vehicle have a dash cam that was operational at the time?

    5. Your assertion that your photos "clearly illustrate which vehicle had 'control' of the intersection" is, to be frank, absurd. The photos tell us absolutely nothing about that issue.

    6. Item #3 seems to be the crux of the matter. If it is correct that you were traveling southwest on Woodview and the other car was traveling northeast (and intending to turn onto Peyton), then one of the following is true: (a) if you got there first or simultaneously, you had the right of way; (b) if the other car got their first, then the driver of that car had the right of way. Unless you convince the other driver's insurer that (a) was correct, then your claim is properly denied. Since we don't know what evidence was submitted to the insurer, it's impossible to comment intelligently on the propriety of the decision. However, we can assume that the other driver told the insurer that his/her car got to the stop sign first. What evidence do you have, besides your own testimony, as to who stopped first?

    7. Even if it is true that you treated the situation as if you got there simultaneously, there's no reason a collision should have happened unless you gunned it off the line. You should have had plenty of time to avoid the collision.
     
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  11. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Yep, there's that.

    Even a one or two second wait at the stop sign and it would have been evident that the other driver was beginning a turn.
     
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  12. PR660

    PR660 Law Topic Starter New Member

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  13. PR660

    PR660 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks for all the commentary--Here's an updated version:

    4-2022 Xterra Crash.jpg
     
  14. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Based on your photos, one could argue that you never even stopped at the stop sign, which caused the left-turning vehicle to tighten his turn to avoid your unexpected failure to stop. The fact that the collision occurred past the mid-point of the intersection proves nothing about "control" of the intersection. Without a dash-cam, you have nothing. It was suggested above that you sue, and I have no problem with that suggestion, but it's my belief that you don't have enough evidence to win, even in small claims court (unless, of course, the other driver is completely incapable of presenting a defense).

    As for the turn signal, I'll say it AGAIN (because others have said it). There are myriad reasons why the turn indicator may be off and even more why it might not show as on in a PHOTO.
    I'm going to go with one that I don't think was mentioned above: The other vehicle's wheels are straight in your photo. Since the other driver was turning left, he would have, at some point, turned his wheels to the left. Once he started turning them straight again the signal would have automatically deactivated. It's a feature built in to almost all cars on the road now - it's the reason you don't have to turn your signal off after every single turn you make.

    Did you get a dash cam yet? You should.
     
  15. Red Kayak

    Red Kayak Well-Known Member

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    Too much extra. Cut the opinion and adversarial language. Stick to cold hard facts.

    In particular:
    1) You have been told REPEATEDLY that your pictures lacking on signals are irrelevant. Cut it out. It suffices to say that at the time of the accident the other party wasn't signaling left. Cut the "Show me a picture ---" crap.

    2) Your comments are... not useful. If the dude weren't in the left turn lane, perhaps you might have had a point to make, but saying the left turn lane is irrelevant... is stupid. (What? Your "rebuttal" is a venting, not a rebuttal. You are not making effective points.)

    3) The sentence in red should not be there at all. You're just venting. The rest of that... is contradicted by the outcome. If you executed good judgement, you would realize that avoiding an accident is better than asserting your (perceived) right of way.

    Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying that you were at fault. I'm saying that your rebuttal sucks, and that you should work harder at understanding the constructive criticism that you received.
     
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  16. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Most of the comments from my prior response remain relevant, so I won't repeat them except to emphasize that photos cannot depict a turn signal being lit. Photos depict a particular instant in time. Given that this accident apparently happened in full daylight, I'm guessing the "shutter speed" of the photos was somewhere around 1/1000 of a second. The only one of the three photos that could possibly depict the Honda's left turn signal easily could have been taken at a time when the signal was off.

    Additional comments:

    "Manually turning off the indicator would be tampering with crash scene evidence." Not true at all. "Why would [driver of] the [company name] vehicle turn off the[] indicator after the collision?" Because leaving it on could be annoying. Also, last time I checked, turn signals don't work when the keys are removed, which I assume they were when the driver exited the vehicle.

    Your "Rebuttal to #2" makes no sense (perhaps because we don't have the context of what you're rebutting). Regardless, whether the turning lane is or isn't visible is irrelevant. If the other driver had his signal on and stopped first, then he clearly had the right of way. I'm not sure what your point is about "the path of his turn." Based on the photo, it looks like you were turning right to go the wrong way on Peyton Drive.

    Yup.

    Also, you first posted about this on May 15, and all of the responses were dated that same day or the next. Have you really been sitting on this and doing nothing for three and a half weeks?
     
  17. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    I'm not going to re-analyze the accident. Suffice to say that I agree with the last two posts about the weakness of your position.

    How much is it going to cost to repair your car's damage?

    If it's within your state's small claims limit go ahead and send your rebuttal but attach a copy of the Small Claims form SC-100 (completed, not filed) showing that you are willing to go to court.

    That might convince the claim rep to compromise. Claim rep's don't like to keep small claims open for a long time and they certainly don't like dealing with small claims court.

    Understand that, at the very least, you are partially at fault.
     
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  18. PR660

    PR660 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    1) If the other driver had his signal on and stopped first, then he clearly had the right of way.

    2) Based on the photo, it looks like you were turning right to go the wrong way on Peyton Drive.

    3) Also, you first posted about this on May 15, and all of the responses were dated that same day or the next. Have you really been sitting on this and doing nothing for three and a half weeks?[/QUOTE]

    From the original text on the illustration:

    1) We approached the intersection simultaneously and he did not have left turn indicator on.

    2) I was traveling straight, but turned to the right in an attempt to evade the collision.

    3) In the 3 1/2 weeks, among other things aside from this, I received the repair estimate, have researched and discussed with friends and associates, and have composed the demand letter.

    I think there's a 3 year statute of limitations for property damage here in CA.

    Please let me know if there's anything else I could do...
     
  19. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Prove it. (You can't.)
    Prove it. (You can't.)

    An attempt to evade a collision that would not have been necessary had you fully stopped at the stop sign. (Assuming the other party testifies to something like this.)

    Yep.

    You can roll the dice in small claims court. You might not win on the presentation of the evidence you have, but, rather, on the presentation by the other party. In other words, you might be more believable than the other party.
     
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  20. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    I think we all understand what your position is. We also know that (1) the insurance company denied your claim, (2) the photos don't clearly show that the other driver was liable and don't support rebuttal arguments you have made, and (3) you're focused on things that either don't matter or don't have the significance you think they have. I assume that, if you had better evidence than what you've shown here, you would have shown or mentioned it. I therefore doubt you will be able to convince the insurer to change its conclusion or that, if you sue, you could do any better than a 50/50 split of liability.
     

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