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Auto Insurance Claims/Collision Police Report - My Word Against Witness


I was hit in the middle of an intersection and my vehicle suffered a total loss. The other vehicle turned out to have been stolen, and the driver ran away from the scene. A "meter maid" was nearby and stopped to assist/call for help; she turned out to be the sole witness on the police report even though others at the scene confirmed that I had the green light and offered to be witnesses for me (I was rushed to the hospital and wasn't at the scene for very long). The meter maid's claim on the report was that I ran the red light.

Something about this just doesn't seem right.
1. Shouldn't it be my word against the other driver's? And if the other driver fled the scene, does that not work in my favor?
2. If the witness' claim can 100% replace that of the other driver, does the fact that no other witness' were spoken to come into play? There was a handful of people at the scene who clearly agreed that it was the other driver who ran the red light.

This happened back in June. My first thought was that I'd be able to use uninsured motorist's coverage since the other driver fled the scene, but my claims adjuster pretty much said there was nothing I could do about it since the police report put me as the cause.

I feel like I've been bamboozled! Are there any steps I could take to resolve this?

 Hello Anna,

In a word - shameful.

Speaking as a former police officer and as a previous adjuster and investigator, in my opinion, no one has done their job properly.

If there were other witnesses at the scene, why did the officer not pursue that!  In that regard, the only suggestion I have for you is to contact the appropriate police agency.  Ask them what procedures are in place to obtain 911 call information.  It is highly likely that a variety of witnesses called 911, and their names should be a part of public records.  That's what those records are - public.  As long as they still exist, they do not have the right to prevent your access to the records.

As for the adjuster, he/she has an absolute - again absolute - obligation to fully investigate the accident.  Under no circumstances should an adjuster ever rely solely on a police report.  The officer was not a witness.  And, since you are reporting that there were other witnesses on scene, that adjuster has an absolute - absolute - duty to attempt to find those witnesses.  Why has the adjuster not attempted to contact 911?  Why has the adjuster not contacted the police officer?   Maybe he/she has the other names and simply chose not to add them to the report.

You need a solution as it appears you do have serious injuries.  You need an attorney to represent you.  Yes, initially the insurance company determine's liability, but once litigation is involved, that ultimate determination is up to a judge or jury.  

With the intervention of a reputable personal injury attorney, you have more leverage.  Let the attorney contact any additional witnesses.  If you can act quickly, let the attorney contact the 911 authorities.  Let the attorney deal with the insurance company.  Let the attorney determine the value of your injuries and then allow him/her to either negotiate a fair settlement (most notably your UM benefits since the vehicle's owner will deny coverage)or to take the case to trial.

There are occasions - especially where there are serious injuries - where accident victims need an attorney to represent them.  Because there are so many issues here, in my opinion, legal representation is your only choice.  I don't see how you can reasonably do this on your own as they are already implying that they are going to deny your coverage.

And yes, if someone has stolen a vehicle, chances are high that they will run after an accident.  It certainly should be taken into consideration during the investigation.  But what you need, are hard facts, maybe even an accident reconstructionist. Again, that would be up to your attorney.

I wish you well.  Good luck.

Jane Pytel

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Jane Pytel


I can answer questions related to auto accidents, auto damage, auto theft claims, or personal injury claims. I am specifically suited to answer questions concerning insurance investigations and the effects of those investigations such as claim delays, claim denials, examinations under oath, or the special investigations unit. I can answer most any question that relates to proper claims investigations, or claims handling procedures and processes. I have authored several ebooks which provide claim guidance for consumers. Those books are available on Amazon Kindle: Power To Profit - will provide you with the knowledge you need to overcome the patterned obstacles that insurance companies will use to delay, devalue, or deny your valid insurance claim. The No Nonsense Guide to Accident Settlement - Teaches you how to manage your claim, how to identify the precise tactics likely to be used against you, and how you must respond.


12 years of experience with 3 major insurance companies. I hold an all lines adjusters license in Florida. I am well versed in claims handling, claims investigations, and industry standards related to both. The bulk of my experience stems from my 10 years as a police officer / detective. Building on that investigative experience, I became an SIU (Special Investigations Unit) Investigator. Accordingly, my unique expertise lies in the investigation of claims. What is necessary and related, what is not necessary and related? What constitutes a fair claims investigation? What recourse is available for consumers who suspect they are experiencing unfair claims delays? During the course of my experience, I became a certified trainer, instructing adjusters and investigators proper techniques for claims investigation and claims handling.

B.A., Communications, University of Miami 350 credit hours of intense investigative training, Miami Dade Police 80 hours of investigative training, various Federal Agencies, Miami, Fl Intensive Accident Reconstruction and Pedestrian Injury Analysis, NHTSA, National Highway Traffic Safety Agency, Oklahoma City, OK 2 weeks Auto Damage Appraisal, Winston Salem, NC Legal Principles Claim Specialist, AEI

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