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  1. #11
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    Default Re: Is the First Party Named in a Police Accident Report At Fault

    Thanks Mr Know it All, hopefully next time I have a problem someone knoweldgable can chime in and then I can save the snarky remarks. Thank for your time, it is appreciated.

    To The flyingron, (is that short for flying moron?) I didnt know you could read body language on a forum. How was my statement rude?

    I digressed after the snarky remark because after all this is a free forum. Your right I dont get to dictate who responds to me. But I do get to have my opinion on their responses, that is what I posted.

    If you (meaning the whole community) want to make this board efficent you would request that members only post when they actually know what they are talking about. Any other way it just clogs and clusters out competent people with pertinent information. I thanked EVERYONE who gave me somewhat poignant advice, in fact any person that is willing to take the time to help me I am more than willing to thank.

    With regards to wasted time. People will help if they want to help, my attitude is only towards those that waste not only their time, but mine, and the forums. Both posters who tried to answer my questions (and now including you) have done just that.

    As far as finding someone to actually help, on both my questions (posed in the beginning with NO snark or attitude) I recieved less than helpful advice. That is not my opinion it is simply a fact.

    In the end, if you want to help post only when you know what you are talking about. If not it a waste of time to everyone and simply degrads this board to a bathroom wall. I would like to leave everyone here with a quote by Abraham Lincoln.

    "Better to be thought of a fool than open your mouth and prove everyone right."

    Best Regards to everyone that cared enought to help, even if your answers were subpar! After all was said, the other guy was found at fault and Ive lawyered up. Im sure people have found this forum useful, I unfortunately was not one of those. Better luck next time.

  2. #12
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    Default Re: Is the First Party Named in a Police Accident Report At Fault

    Quote Quoting konakings
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    For everyone wondering, yes party #1 is the at fault party, and yes the police determine who is at fault in California. Thanks for nothing expertlaw.com oh and JK1999 if your going to post, post something useful.
    just for your information:

    No, the police do not determine fault in California nor any other US state. The courts of the state are the only entity that can actually place fault on a party and only after a proper hearing or trial where the facts are allowed to be presented and argued.

    additionally, since a private party can actually file an accident report and the filing party is actually required to list themselves as party #1, no, the label of part #1 or party #2 would not be indicative of the at fault party. You also need to realize that your claim makes absolutely no sense when the police on scene cannot determine probable fault or if there is actually neither party at fault or if there is shared fault.

  3. #13
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    Default Re: Is the First Party Named in a Police Accident Report At Fault

    JK the question was about the police report. Specifically who is at fault according the police report. Sorry if I didnt make that clear. So, actually the police DO determine fault in California. Weither the courts and insurance companies see it that way is left up in the air. Just because the police see the other guy at fault doesnt mean the courts (the ultimate decider) will.

    I know the courts are the ultimate decider for who is at fault. I was simply trying to find out who is at fault "in the police report" because it is a large stepping stone in determining who is ultimately at fault (and responsible for the damages) to the insurance companies. Thanks for your answer and your time.

    In a California police report party #1 is always the at fault party. This was confirmed by multiple California accident lawyers and three different police officers. According the California Highway Patrol they assign blame how they see it. The officer I spoke too says he has never seen an accident were one person could not be assigned blame over others. He says that sometimes they get it wrong but that is why the courts are there to present the facts and argue the problem. He said that in every report he has written someone was assigned blame in the report, and this person was always referred to as party #1. His repsonse to me is that it is their job to determine who is at fault and present their findings. I dont really know after all Im just a guy that got into an accident. Im simply repeating what he said.

    What I do know though is The police do determine (to their ability) who is at fault, but the courts do not need to abide by that. However most insurance companies will, depending on the severity of the accident. Just a heads up for anyone wanting to know.

    JK we are not talking about a private party accident report, I dont know about those. We are talking about a police collision report, those I know about.

    California is also NOT a no fault state (like Michigan), so someone will always be determined at fault. In a shared fault report the "more" responsible party is listed as #1. This is what the highway patrol office told me, he may be wrong but that is straight from a officer's mouth. And then confirmed with lawyers, the local sherriff, and the local pd.

    So, just to repeat myself. Police do determine fault, and party #1 is the at fault (or more responsible) party in a police report. The courts and insurance companies do not have to abide by the police report though. Thanks for all the help to everyone that contributed. Thanks for helping me clarify that for you JK.

  4. #14
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    Default Re: Is the First Party Named in a Police Accident Report At Fault

    I know the courts are the ultimate decided at who is at fault. I was simply trying to find out who is at fault "in the police report." Thanks for your answer and your time.
    the police are not the trier of neither the facts nor the law. That is only within the courts power. The police can report who they have determined to be at fault but in itself, it has no legal force.

    In a California police report party #1 is always at fault.
    konakings;455981]JK the question was about the police report. Specifically who is at fault according the police report. Sorry if I didnt make that clear.
    hopefully cdwjava will weigh in on this. I suspect you were given faulty information. No sense in arguing the point with you as I cannot support such an argument with proof.

    The police do determine (to their ability) who is at fault, but the courts do not need to abide by that. However most insurance companies will. Just a heads up.
    Insurance companies make their decisions independent of the police determination. They have been known to pay a claim made by the at fault party if they believe it will cost less to pay such a claim than defend a challenge in court. Insurance companies make their decisions based on their financial exposure. They care about paying the least amount possible.






    California is also NOT a no fault state, so someone will always be determined at fault. In a shared fault report the more responsible party is listed as #1. This is what the highway patrol office told me, he may be wrong but that is straight from a officer's mouth.
    Not true. There are accidents where neither of the drivers are considered to be at fault. example: If an earthquake happens and the road splits open and two cars hit each other, there is going to be no fault placed on the drivers, either one.



    when the Bay bridge collapsed and there were many car to car accidents, just who do you think was "at fault" in those situations?

    so, who gets to be driver #1?

    Thanks for all the help to everyone that contributed. Thanks for helping me clarify that for you JK.
    You haven't clarified anything for me. I believe you are wrong about who is listed as part #1, etc. and I know you are wrong about the police determination concerning fault. They may make a determination but it has no legal force.

    Oh, and a counter report is simply a report made to report the fact as the person giving the information understands them. They are filled out with the assistance of or actually by a peace officer. That is a requirement of the California statutes.

  5. #15
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    Default Re: Is the First Party Named in a Police Accident Report At Fault

    Quote Quoting konakings
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    I digressed after the snarky remark because after all this is a free forum. Your right I dont get to dictate who responds to me. But I do get to have my opinion on their responses, that is what I posted.
    Dude, this is my forum. Check your attitude at the door, or post elsewhere. Thanks.

    Quote Quoting konakings
    View Post
    California is also NOT a no fault state (like Michigan), so someone will always be determined at fault. In a shared fault report the "more" responsible party is listed as #1.
    A "no fault" state is one in which the driver of a vehicle makes certain damage and injury claims with his own insurance company regardless of who is at fault. The police can and do assess fault and issue tickets in "no fault" states. You review a Michigan traffic crash report (UD-10) for assessment of fault by looking at the officer's notations for each involved vehicle, not which vehicle is listed first in the report.

  6. #16
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    Default Re: Is the First Party Named in a Police Accident Report At Fault

    Well, at least you make for interesting banter. In one post you say that "No, the police do not determine fault in California nor any other US state." then in another you say "The police can report who they have determined to be at fault but in itself, it has no legal force." Which one is it? Do police determine fault or no? Its obvious police determine fault, how much legal precedence that has can be debated. But to come out and say police do not determine fault in california or any other state is a little overboard and reeks of arrogance.

    I am usually skeptical of information but the fact that party #1 is at fault in a california police issued collision report is a fact. I highly doubt I was given faulty information by multiple (4) different accident attorneys and three different police officers from the highway patrol, the local pd, and the sheriff's department? If I was a betting man I would think that the information garnished from multiple attorneys and officers outweighs the opinion of an internet forum poster, no offense.

    One thing we can both agree on is that insurance companies just want to pay the least amount of money, that point cant be argued.

    When the bay bridge collapsed people werent suing each other were they? Who would make a claim against someone elses insurance? So why would it matter who was at fault. They all make their own claims to their own insurance companies. Look it up California, is not a no fault state (yeah double negative.) I would suspect in cases thats acts of god (like the bay bridge collapes) are brought into play people make claims with their own insurance. Or would you try and sue the guy next to you?


    If you doubt me call a california accident attorney he will set you straight about the party #1 thing. Im just a guy that got into an accident not an armchair attorney, so I dont know all the details. What I do know is every lawyer I talked to their first question was, who is listed as party #1. They asked this because (they told me not my assumption) each one of them said party #1 is always the party at fault. This was confirmed with three different police officers. In fact according to the four different lawyers I talked to what was actually said in the police report was secondary to who was listed as party #1 and party #2. This again is just me repeating what was told to me.

    So, I would like to say that you are wrong, not my opinion, but a fact garnished from the opinions of multiple lawyers and officers.

    My next question is IF the police report doesnt hold any legal force why does every lawyer I talked too asked if the police report was in my favor (or if I was listed as party #2.) While it is obvious it is not the final word, to say that it holds NO legal favor whatsoever is ignorant.

    But thanks for your time, and entertaining me on my late shift. Cheers! Oh and Ill learn how to properly quote (with the little box and all) a forum one day.

    Thanks for weighing in Aaron, and thanks for presenting a place to get answers! Im sure it has helped many many MANY people out there. I didnt mean any disrepect, or attitude like I said I was simply presenting my opinion on the thoughts shared. I thought thats what forums were for? Calling expert law, excerpt law I thought was just a funny way of doing it. Ill edit my post if it makes you feel better about it.

    Either way, I think my suggestion of members containting their posts to what they know about would help clear the clutter.

    Thanks too for the clarification of a no fault state. Looks like I should take my own advice about not posting what I dont know about! BUT, like I said Im not a lawyer, Im not even someone posting to help someone else. Im simply a guy that got hit and is looking for competent answers, not a run around name call on a bathroom wall, that helps no one.

    Once again if you think I got a bad attitude you dont have to answer, but thanks to everyone that did!

  7. #17
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    Default Re: Is the First Party Named in a Police Accident Report At Fault

    Quote Quoting konakings
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    Got the facepage (its the page that states the parties names and insurance info) for my collision report. The full report was not available yet. The other party is named as party #1 and I am named as party #2. A legal-esque friend told me that party #1 in a police report is always at fault. Can anyone confirm this?
    It is typical practice for P-1 (Party #1) to be the party at fault. However, while typical practice this is NOT a rule nor is it indicated int he SWITRS manual which all CA law enforcement manuals must abide by for collision reporting and that the CHP revere like a Bible.

    In California, as far as I know (which isnt far) the police report states who they believe is at fault. The insurance companies dont have to abide by it but it still gives a good clue as to what they will say.
    The police report will indicate the party most at fault and assign the PCF (Primary Collision Factor). Other issues might be addressed as "Associated Factors" but only one party will be declared at fault for the collision. This also means a point against that party's driver's license.

    And, you are correct. Insurance companies do not have to abide by the police determination of fault. They are also free to divide percentages of fault as they see fit. The police in CA cannot.

    Quote Quoting jk
    No, the police do not determine fault in California nor any other US state.
    Actually ... for clarification, in CA their determination of fault IS valid insofar as the DMV is concerned, anyway. A person assigned the fault in a collision can certainly appeal that determination (and the point) to the DMV, but unless overruled by the DMV (which is very rare) the police determination of fault stands.

    Now, for a civil court case, you are absolutely correct - fault will be determined by a judge.

    Quote Quoting konakings
    In a California police report party #1 is always the at fault party. This was confirmed by multiple California accident lawyers and three different police officers.
    Then they have not read the SWITRS manual. No such rule exists. They are mistaking common practice for a policy.

    According the California Highway Patrol they assign blame how they see it. The officer I spoke too says he has never seen an accident were one person could not be assigned blame over others. He says that sometimes they get it wrong but that is why the courts are there to present the facts and argue the problem. He said that in every report he has written someone was assigned blame in the report, and this person was always referred to as party #1. His repsonse to me is that it is their job to determine who is at fault and present their findings.
    Pretty much true.

    California is also NOT a no fault state (like Michigan), so someone will always be determined at fault
    Well ... we are allowed to make no determination of fault. It is perfectly acceptable to indicate in the report that the PCF cannot be determined. In fact, most private property collisions will NOT have a PCF assigned as no Vehicle Code is usually broken in a private property crash. Unless a narrative indication of fault can be articulated, most will not have any such PCF listed.

    Quote Quoting jk
    Oh, and a counter report is simply a report made to report the fact as the person giving the information understands them. They are filled out with the assistance of or actually by a peace officer. That is a requirement of the California statutes.
    And a counter report CAN NOT have a PCF assigned pursuant to SWITRS. So those reports will not have a PCF, either.

    Quote Quoting konaking
    If you doubt me call a california accident attorney he will set you straight about the party #1 thing.
    And he'd be wrong. It is common PRACTICE, it not the law nor is it policy pursuant to SWITRS.
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"


    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns

  8. #18
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    Default Re: Is the First Party Named in a Police Accident Report At Fault

    konakings;456003]Well, at least you make for interesting banter. In one post you say that "No, the police do not determine fault in California nor any other US state." then in another you say "The police can report who they have determined to be at fault but in itself, it has no legal force." Which one is it? Do police determine fault or no? Its obvious police determine fault, how much legal precedence that has can be debated. But to come out and say police do not determine fault in california or any other state is a little overboard and reeks of arrogance.
    the police make their determination of fault for their purposes. They cannot determine fault for the purposes of the courts. They police use their initial (and legally unenforceable) determination to present tickets. Until proven in a court or accepted by the party charged, it is only an initial determination and has no legal force.

    I am usually skeptical of information but the fact that party #1 is at fault in a california police issued collision report is a fact. I highly doubt I was given faulty information by multiple (4) different accident attorneys and three different police officers from the highway patrol, the local pd, and the sheriff's department? If I was a betting man I would think that the information garnished from multiple attorneys and officers outweighs the opinion of an internet forum poster, no offense.
    as I said, I will not even argue this point. I am confident you are incorrect but cannot find proof to support my belief so I will leave this as stated.



    When the bay bridge collapsed people werent suing each other were they?
    what does that have to do with anything. There are hundreds of accidents every day where nobody sues anybody yet the officer fills out a report and, per your claim, lists the at fault party as party #1.

    Who would make a claim against someone elses insurance?
    an irrelevant point.

    So why would it matter who was at fault.
    because you said the at fault party is always listed as party #1. Do they simply skip party #1?

    They all make their own claims to their own insurance companies. Look it up California, is not a no fault state (yeah double negative.) I would suspect in cases thats acts of god (like the bay bridge collapes) are brought into play people make claims with their own insurance. Or would you try and sue the guy next to you?
    again, irrelevant. If two cars are in a collision and an accident report is made, the report will contain both vehicles. Somebody is going to be party #1 and per your claim, that party is at fault. Obviously this is not going to hold true for a no fault situation.


    If you doubt me call a california accident attorney he will set you straight about the party #1 thing. Im just a guy that got into an accident not an armchair attorney, so I dont know all the details. What I do know is every lawyer I talked to their first question was, who is listed as party #1. They asked this because (they told me not my assumption) each one of them said party #1 is always the party at fault. This was confirmed with three different police officers. In fact according to the four different lawyers I talked to what was actually said in the police report was secondary to who was listed as party #1 and party #2. This again is just me repeating what was told to me.
    and it there is no party considered to be at fault, again, do they simply not list anybody as party #1?

    So, I would like to say that you are wrong, not my opinion, but a fact garnished from the opinions of multiple lawyers and officers.
    and of course they couldn't be wrong. I've been here before. Sometimes I have been wrong but sometimes I have been right. Until there is some official support (and not simply opinion but an official requirement that the party considered to be at fault be listed as party #1), you have opinion.

    My next question is IF the police report doesnt hold any legal force why does every lawyer I talked too asked if the police report was in my favor (or if I was listed as party #2.) While it is obvious it is not the final word, to say that it holds NO legal favor whatsoever is ignorant.
    they ask because an officers determination is often correct IF based on all of the facts (which they do not alway have).. It is a fair assumption the officers determination is correct but that still does not make if have any legal force nor does it make it true or factual. An officer obviously makes an honest effort to be correct but since he is not alway privy to all of the facts at the time of his report and often not actually knowledgeable about the specifics of some law that may be applicable, his statement is merely an assertion of his understanding of the situation.


    Do you believe every ticket a cop writes is proper? Obviously they aren't all proper but based on your claims, they are. If that were the case, I guess we are simply wasting all the money having courts where the officers claim can be disputed. We should all simply accept the officers assertion of his belief as a fact and be done with it. Sorry but I have met too many officers that, simply put, were wrong in their findings.

    =cdwjava;456016]


    Actually ... for clarification, in CA their determination of fault IS valid insofar as the DMV is concerned, anyway. A person assigned the fault in a collision can certainly appeal that determination (and the point) to the DMV, but unless overruled by the DMV (which is very rare) the police determination of fault stands.

    Now, for a civil court case, you are absolutely correct - fault will be determined by a judge.
    a court is required to make a determination of fault for criminal purposes as well. With the DMV, you are talking about an administrative action but even that is contestable. There are means to appeal such decisions but until driving is considered to be a right and not a privilege, the DMV can impose a penalty on the claim of the police. Administrative actions are not bound by the same constraints and requirements imposed upon a courts actions. The DMV's acceptance of the officers determination of guilt cannot be used to enforce a criminal penalty or a ruling of liability within a civil suit.


    It is typical practice for P-1 (Party #1) to be the party at fault. However, while typical practice this is NOT a rule nor is it indicated int he SWITRS manual which all CA law enforcement manuals must abide by for collision reporting and that the CHP revere like a Bible.
    that is what I was looking for.

  9. #19
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    Default Re: Is the First Party Named in a Police Accident Report At Fault

    Quote Quoting jk
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    a court is required to make a determination of fault for criminal purposes as well. With the DMV, you are talking about an administrative action but even that is contestable.
    Yes. But, "fault" is not really a criminal matter. A criminal court (usually traffic court) will address the issue of a citation for the PCF such as CVC 22350 for unsafe speed, of CVC 22107 for an unsafe turning movement. The criminal court will not address "fault" but they will address the violation.

    The police determination of fault does have legal standing insofar as the DMV assigns points based upon that determination. The report and the assignment of fault is largely irrelevant in a civil court because the report is not evidence. However, the officer's testimony, opinions and conclusions are evidence.

    that is what I was looking for.
    This is probably the most often cited pet peeve of collision investigators. So many officers assume that because they are often told that Party #1 is the party at fault that it must be a rule. It is not. I have the CIM (Collision Investigation Manual produced to conform with SWITRS) in front of me all the time and no such requirement exists within it. Part of the problem is that few officers actually read the darn thing, they tend to just follow the rote procedure in filling out the collision reports and they repeat the same mistakes (and fallacious assumptions) of their Field Training Officers. Those FTOs are likely great cops, but they are rarely collision investigators as most cops do not like collision investigations, and most FTOs tend to be overly assertive go-getters and not bookish types (yours truly was an exception ).

    For the benefit of all, there is no such rule that requires the party most at fault to be labeled as party #1 in a California collision report. It is common practice, but it neither law nor policy.
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"


    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns

  10. #20
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    Default Re: Is the First Party Named in a Police Accident Report At Fault

    Quote Quoting cdwjava
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    The police determination of fault does have legal standing insofar as the DMV assigns points based upon that determination. The report and the assignment of fault is largely irrelevant in a civil court because the report is not evidence. However, the officer's testimony, opinions and conclusions are evidence.
    .
    for the officers conclusions, or even opinions really, to be acceptable as fact (in court), would not the officer have to be established as an expert in crash investigations? Without that, his opinion should carry no more weight than any other layman expressing an opinion.

    but regardless, a defendant always has the right to provide expert testimony to contradict the officers testimony, if available.

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