• Report: #204686

Complaint Review: State Farm Auto Insurance

  • Submitted: Sat, August 05, 2006
  • Updated: Sun, August 06, 2006

  • Reported By:Selkirk New York
State Farm Auto Insurance
One State Farm Plaza Bloomington, Illinois U.S.A.

State Farm Auto Insurance The refused to accept blame for an accident even though Police did Bloomington Illinois

*Consumer Comment: It may be useless to even fight it.

*Consumer Comment: A few suggestions for Joe.

*Author of original report: Follow up--

*Consumer Suggestion: make sure you find the eyewitness that's listed on the police report and see if you can get him to come to court

*Author of original report: Thanks Mike

*Consumer Suggestion: The other guy's mystery witness should've shown up to court

*Author of original report: Follow up to 'Where is your witness' follow up

*Consumer Suggestion: Where is your witness?

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On February 14 2006, my college Junior daughter in Tampa Florida, frantically called me from her cell phone telling me she had been in an accident with my 2005 Hyundai. I immediately asked her if she or the other person(s) were hurt and she said No, but my car is really damagedwhat should I do?. I advised that all would be OK and that she should do just two things:
1) Call the police
2) Do not move the car until the police arrive

She told me she would do as I asked and would call me back.
She called back and told me the police arrived and took/made a report and depicted the accident just as she described it to have happenedthe other car made too sharp of a turn and the side of her car hit the front corner of my daughters'. The police also issued a citation to the other driver regarding a moving violation that caused the accident.

My daughter's reaction was, finally, something has gone my way'she had been in accidents before and was to blame. She said, Daddy, I have been driving very carefully and it paid off!. ......little did we know

She also told me that the other driver told herI'm sorry, but don't worry, I have insurance.. A young man also came forward to my daughter and said, here is my cardif there are problems, please call as I saw the entire thing happen". My daughter gave the card to the police on site.

After time went by without hearing anythingand talking to my insurance companyI had my daughter bring the car to the body shop the local Hyundai Dealer recommended for an estimate, which came in at about $1700. Subsequently, I sent the estimate of repairs to the State Farm office.

On March 1, I received a letter from State Farm denying the claim as, I quote, 'we do not feel our insured is liable' in spite of the police drawing of the accident scene and the fact that their insured was given a citation as a result of the accident. Upon follow up phone calls to the adjuster and his managers, I was told that there was an eyewitness that said my daughter had caused the accident by driving in the middle of the road, going too fast and not stopping! I told the State Farm office/team manager that each of these statements were completely the opposite of what my daughter had told me and that each item could not be correct! They told me that the eyewitness was the basis for their decision. I asked about the police action and drawing and they told me the police actions would not hold up against an eyewitness!!

I spent many hours on the phone and even obtained a written transcript of the eyewitness statement---where, among other things, he mentioned that he was in a class with the driver of the other vehicle....

I went further to the Hillsborough County Court office and found that the other driver subsequently paid $109 fine for the citation and opted to take the defensive driving course to avoid having license points. I asked State Farm, what young person---a college student, no lesswould pay $109 and take a defensive driving course and not be considered as guilty"? They replied that none of that matters as much as the eyewitness statement!!!

After months, I am having the car repaired at my expenseoutside of any insurance companyas my company also told me that my rates would jump significantly if I turned it in for compensation via my collision insurancemakes one wonder why we have insurance!

As an aside, I sent State Farm the pictures of the car's damages for their information but was told they would not matter. I asked if I could have a picture of the other car..they told there were none and the car had been sold or otherwise disposed of. I asked why they would allow the car to be sold/released without pictures of it being taken beforehand? They replied that the estimate of repairs sufficed for their purposes!

We never received a claim to pay for the other car's damages. This too would make one wonder, especially in light of how things go in the current world we live in.

State Farm, in this case, was great for their customer, but on the wrong moral sidein my opinion. When the police reports and actions matter less than an eyewitness', we are in trouble.

End of a long story. What a lousy thing and what a good example to set for a student who still thinks it is correct to do the right thing and, in the words of her father, it pays to do the right thing and be honest' because it will pay off in the long run!

Selkirk, New York

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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/05/2006 01:08 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/State-Farm-Auto-Insurance/Bloomington-Illinois-61710/State-Farm-Auto-Insurance-The-refused-to-accept-blame-for-an-accident-even-though-Police-d-204686. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Consumer Comment

It may be useless to even fight it.

AUTHOR: Marc - (U.S.A.)

Same thing happened to me, but I went to court and won the case. I was in the right 100% and had a few witnesses. Allstate's lawyer (my lawyer) told me what a great job I did in court, and the local Allstate office called me and said they were very pleased at how things went. Two days later they cancelled my insurance.
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#2 Consumer Comment

A few suggestions for Joe.

AUTHOR: Greg - (U.S.A.)

From reading some of the other postings I get the idea that some of the responders are or were claim adjusters like myself. You have been given some good advice which hopefully you and/or your daughter will never have to use in the future.

It seems to me that the big issue is the witness that gave the business card to your daughter so I will concentrate on that issue.

1. Is it possible that the witness State Farm refers to is the same person that gave your daughter the card? It wasn't clear (unless I missed it)that he thought the accident was the other drivers fault.

2. If the witness who gave his card to your daughter was not listed on the police report then I would suggest that you have your daughter go to the police dept and ask to get the info on the card for a small claims suit. The dept has a duty to keep that info even if they don't include it on their report. I would also suggest that she ask for copies of any photos that the police may have taken at the scene.(not likely but it can't hurt) Scene photos showing a debris field can make or break a case.

3. If you can locate that witness and they say it is the other drivers fault then get both a written statement and a diagram from them to use in court. In case they can't/won't testify have the statement signed by the witness and have their signature notarized.

4. I don't recall if you named your insurance carrier but they let you down just as much in this whole thing. Whether you were going to use your collision coverage or not they should have conducted an investigation into the claim in case the other party decided to file a claim gainst your daughter. You should not be stuck investigating this thing on your own. Again the key is the witness who left the card. I think you should push your company to help you get the witness info from the police dept.

5. Hopefully, somebody took photos of your vehicle prior to the repairs. They will be needed in court and may even help shed some light on who did what.

Good Luck.
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#3 Author of original report

Follow up--

AUTHOR: Joe - (U.S.A.)

First of all, there was no court hearing. It has not gotten that far--as noted earlier. I was not aware that I may have a 'win-able' case until here. I also mentioned that I do have the witness name and phone number and his statement.

The traffic infraction cited for was 'Careless Driving', Florida #3161925, as I obtained both from the accident report(which never mentioned a witness) and the Ctiation Data report from the court records.

The only 'eyewitness', I was not there to see where this person came from or where he viewed the accident from, is the witness who said it was my daughters fault.

I am looking for next steps here. 1,600 miles away from the court house, something I am sure State Farm is aware of. It may cost me more to be 'on call' for the court date as it has to repair the car!

Thank You for your input and time/help.
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#4 Consumer Suggestion

make sure you find the eyewitness that's listed on the police report and see if you can get him to come to court

AUTHOR: Buddy - (U.S.A.)

What Was the Citation For?

I'd like to know what the other driver was cited for -- what was the violation? "Causing an accident"? How can the police officer give someone a violation for something he didn't see? If I told the police that I saw someone speeding, the police officer can't issue a citation just on another person's say-so. This is a mystery as to why a police officer would issue a citation under those circumstances, unless the citation is for something that might not be directly related to the cause of the accident. On the police report, there should be a listing of the Vehicle Code that the other driver is supposed to have violated. you can look it up as to what exactly the other driver was cited for, but again, unless the police officer actually saw the violation being committed, it's hard to understand why a citation was issued and what the citation was for. As for "guilt" -- this is confusing a violation of a vehicle code section with civil liability for an accident. One does not necessarily follow the other. The only thing a police report contains is what the police officer was told -- a police officer will make a drawing of the scene and note the damage to the vehicles, and speculate as to what caused an accident, but without an accident reconstructionist expert, it is impossible to tell.

It was not State Farm's responsibility to retain pictures of the other person's car -- but, the police report should have a description of the damage to the other car. You'd probably have a good chance in small claims court on this if you don't want a full-blown lawsuit over $1700 in property damage. Just make sure you find the eyewitness that's listed on the police report and see if you can get him to come to court with your daughter.
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#5 Author of original report

Thanks Mike

AUTHOR: Joe - (U.S.A.)

There never was a court thing, except, I assume, for the State Farm Insured for when she paid the citation.
As mentioned, my insurance company told me they would not pursue it as their exerience is that they would lose due to the eyewitness. Hence, my protracted discussions with the State Farm Representatives.

I have the phone number of the eyewitness--State Farm provided it to me along with a transcript of same. I spoke to our union lawyer who advised, that, if I went to Florida and scheduled the case, I would probably lose-for the same reason my insurance company told me.
He also mentioned that my problem was not with State Farm, but with the witness and the other party.

At that point, my daughter had been riding around in my new car from Feb through July with a messed up car. I decided to get it fixed and pay for it.

I had hoped that I would be able to arrange a small claims hearing but lacked any knowledgeable backup to do this myself.

I may do so now...thanks to your encouragement.

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#6 Consumer Suggestion

The other guy's mystery witness should've shown up to court

AUTHOR: Mike - (U.S.A.)

Your daughter should have appeared in court, but it doesn't matter because the other driver either didn't show or was convicted anyway. That means he's guilty. The case is closed, it's his fault. State Farm really should've tried to fight in court if they had proof it was your daughter's fault.

You should go to your insurance company for help. If you have Collision, your company will make the other company pay. Your rate will not increase because you have the court conviction as proof it wasn't her fault. The other alternative is to sue the other driver. State Farm will probably just pay at that point because the other driver was convicted and they're not going to track down this "witness" if he even exists, over $1700.

You were right with the first two steps but there's more.

1 Call police.
2 Don't move the car until police arrive.
3 Call YOUR insurance company.
4 Go to court and make sure there's a conviction if the other driver was cited.
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#7 Author of original report

Follow up to 'Where is your witness' follow up

AUTHOR: Joe - (U.S.A.)

As mentioned, there was only one 'witness' who came forward--he handed his card to both involved in the accident. My daughter gave hers to the police.

Your response sounds almost to the party line that State Farms' did....The other person in the accident never stated her side of the story and, as mentioned, she paid the $109 fine for the citation AND went to Defensive Driving School to avoid points.

To the untrained, this seems like an admission of guilt. They...and apparently, at least one other, do not agree.

If one looked at the car, it was apparent what happened and who was at fault. They did not bother to take pictures of the other car as it would have proved the point.

Thank You for the follow up.
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#8 Consumer Suggestion

Where is your witness?

AUTHOR: Hugh - (U.S.A.)

What happened to the witness that gave his card to your daughter? He should have been listed on the police report as a witness. I would call him and get his side of the story.

The police report of the accident is at best a reconstruction based on what the officer was told. He didn't witness the accident.

Look at it from State Farm's side - they had an eyewitness that said it was your daughter's fault, you admit your daughter has had previous accidents that were her fault (you can be sure they knew about this) and I'm sure the other driver claimed it wasn't their fault. With all that evidence, they made the logical decision.

You need to give them something concrete to counter their evidence.
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