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Tapped a pedestrian while inching out of a side street- what now?

Discussion in 'Auto Accidents, Injuries' started by raiko, Sep 18, 2013.

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  1. raiko

    raiko Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I accidentally tapped someone while inching out of a one-way side street onto a main road a few months ago. I had come to a stop and was inching forward in broad daylight- residential parking on both sides of the road makes it hard to see until your nose is already halfway into the street. No crosswalk, just a stop sign and a very slight uphill incline at the end of the one-way. As I'm inching forward (foot resting on the brake), I looked left, right, then left again... and an elderly woman walked off the curb, crossed in front of a car parked on the side of the street, and bumped into the front of my car. I watched her grab my bumper, brace herself against it, and then fall down. I immediately got out and went to help her up, cause the two people that were with her booked it the second they saw it happen. She started yelling at me, saying I broke her hip and her leg.

    I stayed with her til the police showed up and explained the situation. A random guy across the main street came over and gave his statement as well; according to him, he saw her watch my car and THEN step off the curb. I showed the police her fingerprints where she grabbed my bumper (pollen season, my black car was covered) and where her cane created a long scuff across the top. Police took my statement, hers, and this guy's, and then left with the woman, who was saying she needed to be taken to the doctor.

    Fast forward 3 months. My insurance company is telling me I'm 90% at fault and after meeting with her attorney (who's her husband), they may try to sue me for anything over $50k. According to my policy rep, they proceeded with finding me at fault so that she would go through my auto insurance to get her bills paid... but my policy is only covered for $50k. She claims her bills after 4 orthopedic surgeries are around $53-54k.

    While I'm willing to accept any responsibility that's mine, I'm also not naive. My car has a really cheap, flimsy plastic bumper that (on my old model) had paint spiderweb when someone merely leaned against it, so any sort of impact should have left physical signs. Aside from her cane scratch and fingerprints, there was no damage to my car. No pollen smudges from when I hit her on the front edge of my bumper... only her fingerprints and cane scuff on the top of my bumper. I didn't even feel any impact when I hit her.

    Honestly, based off the evidence I believe I didn't actually hit her and the fall is what broke her hip. But now her husband/attorney is saying I might get sued, and my auto carrier doesn't even want to take it to court because both she and her husband (who wasn't there) will make "perfect witnesses" if called to the stand. Furthermore, my eye witness refuses to call my auto carrier back. No one can get in touch with him now. Apparently they made this decision mid-July and never notified me that it happened- when I questioned it today, the rep said, "well, you didn't explicitly tell us you wanted to be notified of the outcome."

    Am I completely dead in the water? Can I appeal this decision with my insurance company to review fault? Does it even matter that she wasn't in a crosswalk? How are her medical copays over $50k with the kind of health insurance an attorney can afford? I still live at home and can't afford professional legal advice on an hourly rate, especially if I'm going to get sued, so any advice on possible options for recourse would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    You should soak with your own attorney about your options. You may get a different story than what you hear from insurance.
    Some people make a living it of staging such accidents. You could be getting scammed.
    They likely want to threaten legal action to the point that they get a settlement. If you refuse to settle they still have to prove damages in court.
     
  3. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    I suggest you hire a lawyer.
    You don't want or need FREE advice with thousands of dollars at risk. Yes, you're exposed. That's why you need YOUR lawyer, not an insurance agent or adjuster. By the way, they've simply told you what they're going to do. They could fight it, but it's cheaper to settle. As far as your analysis regarding touching, it won't matter. But, if the insurer is bailing, you're gonna be left all alone. Find a lawyer in your county, see what options you have.


    Sent from my iPad3 using Tapatalk HD
     
  4. Betty3

    Betty3 Super Moderator

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    It seems your ins. co. is not willing to pay anything over the 50k your policy covers. Agree that you need to get your own lawyer in this case.
     
  5. shellerdevin

    shellerdevin New Member

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    Buddy you have to hire a well reputed lawyer and consult with him, there is risk of money and your police record. i suggest you to not to go with free advice
     
  6. You should instruct your insurance company NOT to pay her claim. The police had to have taken a witness statement (written) from the guy who saw her step out in front of your car.
    Get a copy of this from the police. Get a copy of the incident report and officer analysis of the "accident scene". You don't have to be a lawyer to acquire these, but you will need to make a written request to the records division of the LEA involved. There may be a nominal fee. Start this way. Find the witness statement. Even without him available for testimony; his statement from the report will speak in his absence. Don't discuss your case with anyone except your attorney if they appoint you one at court. Let the matter go to trial and the facts will be proved. (this will be a huge learning experience for you God I hate frauds like that lady!)
     

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