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  1. #1

    Default Does Failure to Carry Insurance Factor Into Determination of Fault

    My question involves an injury that occurred in the state of: California


    I was involved in a pretty bad accident with a motorcycle. By default because i was making a left hand turn, it will likely be my fault, but this bike came out of nowhere and raced in front of my car. To make matters worse, their bike was unregistered (for years) and uninsured and the cops on the scene of the accident turned away 3 witnesses who were willing to give statements attesting to the speed the bike was going, that their front headlight was out, and basically that they were at fault, but the cops weren't interested.

    Now the 2 people on the bike have retained a lawyer to represent them for their injuries. My insurance company has been dealing with the lawyer, but I am very concerned and am not sure if i need to retain a lawyer of my own.

    Does anyone know if driving an unregistered/uninsured car in California at all impact who is at fault? I am also very unhappy about the fact that the police did such a poor job on the scene and let witnesses go. My insurance company is especially peeved about that.

    Any advice or has anyone been involved in a similar situation?

    Thanks so much!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Oklahoma
    Posts
    695

    Default Re: Uninsured Unregisted Motorcycle Gets Lawyer for Injuries; Cops Refused Witness St

    You should retain your own attorney. The insurance company and their attorney's will work to protect the best interest of the insurance company and may leave you in lurch.

    You have two issues to deal with:
    The criminal case is proven beyond a reasonable doubt. You would appear to have a legitimate shot at beating the case there. Your attorney can argue that the bike should not have been on the road in the first place due to the registration/insurance issues and that police failed to obtain statements from witnesses and those statements could be exculpatory in nature.

    The civil case is proven beyond a preponderance of the evidence, which is a lower standard. Again your attorney can argue that the riders took upon the assumption of risk by riding a vehicle not properly registered/insured. The issue of the investigation can be brought up (if found guilty) or you can show that you were not criminally liable for the accident which can help your case but doesn't mean that you won't be held civilly liable.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Uninsured Unregisted Motorcycle Gets Lawyer for Injuries; Cops Refused Witness St

    Not sure where there is a criminal case as part of this. Are you referring to who's at fault as the criminal part of this? Noone died or was hurt severely -- to my knowledge at this point the passenger on the back of the bike suffered a broken foot and the driver a busted up shoulder.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    14,894

    Default Re: Uninsured Unregisted Motorcycle Gets Lawyer for Injuries; Cops Refused Witness St

    Quote Quoting stressedinla
    View Post
    I was involved in a pretty bad accident with a motorcycle. By default because i was making a left hand turn, it will likely be my fault, but this bike came out of nowhere and raced in front of my car. To make matters worse, their bike was unregistered (for years) and uninsured and the cops on the scene of the accident turned away 3 witnesses who were willing to give statements attesting to the speed the bike was going, that their front headlight was out, and basically that they were at fault, but the cops weren't interested.
    While I can't say as to whether or not the cops actually turned them away or were too busy at the moment to get their info, but I can say that in most situations a headlight out (unless night time and pitch black) and speed are not going to be deciding factors of fault in an incident such as this.

    I am assuming that the motorcycle was headed in the opposite direction you had been headed prior to you making the left turn? And, that you turned in front of them? If so, speed would be an issue if visibility was limited or if it was so extreme as to have appeared in your field of view too late for you to react. It is very rare that someone is going THAT fast. If it was dark out and the M/C had no headlight, that can certainly be a factor. If not night out, then it is irrelevant as far as determining fault.

    Understand that the fault assigned by the police can only belong to ONE party. In the situation you describe, it will almost always be for the turning driver making an unsafe turn. Speed or even the headlight might be mentioned as associated factors, but the primary collision factor will generally be the driver making the left turn in a scenario as you describe.

    That being said, understand that the insurance companies are not at all bound by the police report's determination of fault. They can assign fault as they see fit and even apportion fault.

    Now the 2 people on the bike have retained a lawyer to represent them for their injuries. My insurance company has been dealing with the lawyer, but I am very concerned and am not sure if i need to retain a lawyer of my own.
    You should not have to retain your own counsel as they are clearly trying to negotiate the settlement with the insurance company. But, if you wish to consult one, by all means do so.

    Does anyone know if driving an unregistered/uninsured car in California at all impact who is at fault?
    Generally, it does not.

    I am also very unhappy about the fact that the police did such a poor job on the scene and let witnesses go. My insurance company is especially peeved about that.
    Sucks, to be sure, but many agencies have had to make cuts and among those cuts are traffic units and the amount of time and resources agencies spend in dealing with traffic collisions since they are largely civil matters and not criminal.
    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

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