What to do about an auto accident in which fault is being disputed?

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What to do about an auto accident in which fault is being disputed?

My mom got into a car accident and the vehicle was towed to the dealership repair center. We did not have collision coverage, but the police report deemed the other party at fault. They are disputing the case so I cannot start the repairs on the car until there is a liability decision. How long would it take for the dispute to be resolved given that the police already deemed them to be at fault?

Asked on January 18, 2013 under Accident Law, California

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The dispute should be resolved promptly and the amount of time depends on the insurance companies.  The reason the dispute should be resolved promptly is that the chance of the other party getting the police report changed is nil, and the police report is controlling in determining liability for the accident.

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Depending upon the estimated costs of repaits for your mother's car, if the costs are in the small claims range then your mother should file a small claims action and have the police officer served with a subpoena to attend trial. If she goes that route, you might have the court decision within two to three months of filing suit.

If the costs of repair exceed the small claims jurisdiction, then fighting with the carrier over liability could take forever where you would have to file a lawsuit to get the matter resolved. I suggest that you consult with an attorney experienced with automotive accident matters.


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