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He said, She said — The Tough Case

Occasionally, potential clients call with a case of “he said, she said.”  The potential client says the other driver ran the red light.  The other driver says the potential client ran the red light.  This is a tough case to prove without further evidence.  In these instances it will be difficult, if not impossible, to get representation and successfully win your case.  Here are some things to do to maximize your chances:

  1. Take photos: Take photos at the scene.  If possible, take photos of the vehicles as they came to rest in the roadway.  It may be possible for an accident reconstructionist to determine relative speeds of the vehicles and/or, based on the circumstances, who it was that ran the red light.  Take photos of the intersection or anything unusual in the vicinity (roadwork, etc.)
  2. Call the police: Try to get the police at the scene.  They will look at the vehicles, talk to the respective parties and witnesses, if any.  If the police will not come out to the scene, contact them shortly thereafter to file your own report.  If the police come to the scene and write a report that either does not make a determination of fault, or finds you to be at fault, do not be completely discouraged.  If you dispute the finding of fault, it is important to contact the police and ask to file an addendum and/or otherwise dispute the police report.
  3. Get Witness Information: These types of cases depend heavily on third-party witness accounts. Having a pedestrian witness or a witness in another car who can confirm your account of the accident can mean the difference between having a good case and having no case at all.
  4. Speak to the other driver: Ask them what happened. Get their account of why they caused the accident (on the phone, distracted, etc.).  This information could help you later on if there’s some way to prove it (phone records, photos of the pet that distracted them, etc.).

Why is the above so important?  If it’s simply a case where you and the other driver are blaming each other for running the red light, when you contact the insurance company for the other driver to present a claim, they will deny it.  At that point, you will be forced to file a lawsuit on your own or hire an attorney to pursue your claim.  Without the above (photos, witness, police report, etc.), attorneys may be hesitant to take on the risk of handling your claim.

As always, if you are involved in an accident or have questions, do not hesitate to give Heiting & Irwin a call at (951) 682-6400.

Mr. Serrano has been admitted to practice before California State and Federal Courts. He was named to the Super Lawyers’ 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 Southern California Rising Stars List, an honor awarded to no more than 2.5% of attorneys in Southern California each year. View Attorney Jean-Simon Serrano's Attorney Bio Here.

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