My Car Was in an Accident When My Mom Was Driving It.

Updated on December 14, 2010
A.S. asks from Pasco, WA
18 answers

Hi all, don't know if any one knows where to direct me, but my mom was borrowing my car and it has full insurance and she was going straight through a green light, the other guy ran into her making a left turn. He said it was her fault but he had the sun in his eyes, she knows she went through a green, but the officer gave her a ticket for "failure to yield" (if she did it why wouldn't it be a ticket for running a red light?)
There was a witness, but he wasn't sure of what light was green and what light was red. The insurance has started a claim but it should be on HIS insurance, not ours because it wasn't his fault. What should she do now? I think it's now his word against hers. I say dispute the ticket and go to court. I don't think we should have to pay for their car to get fixed or cashed out since it was his wrong. Any advice? We don't want to spend a bunch on an attorney and if we don't have to go that route, I would like to avoid that if possible. Thanks in advance.

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So What Happened?

So she went to court to fight the traffic ticket and the judge said that the traffic report couldn't be used as evidence since the patrol man didn't name witness' and write down what they said. So he dismissed the ticket! Now we're waiting for the other driver that hit her, for his insurance to pay us the $1000 deductible. Thanks for everyone's responses!

More Answers



answers from Honolulu on

Some intersections... have video cameras.
That would be proof.

I HOPE you got the contact information for the Witness, or that the Police did. Your Insurance company will do an investigation and interview any witnesses etc.
Also, if the light was green... that is not her fault and she had the right of way.
The Insurance company will also look at the Police report.
It is the Insurance company, that determines who is at 'fault.

Get an Attorney....
Ditto Megan C.

DOCUMENT everything.... per the accident, per what your Insurance company tells you etc.

Since you are insured, you are only responsible for paying your deductible amount. If it is not deemed to be 'your' fault, that will get reimbursed to you. That is usual.

The ticket that the Police gave your Mom... is another issue. So you can contest that. Get an Attorney....

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Jackson on

I would contest the ticket and tell your insurance if you do end up going with yours to file claim against the other driver. We are going through similar thing wish you the best.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Sometimes an accident is a bit everyone s fault. Drivers are suppose to be aware of their surroundings and if anything is coming your way or will be in your way, even if you have the right of way, it makes sense to take measures to avoid a collision. I know of at least one multi car accident where everyone was assigned a percentage of fault and the various insurance companies used that in order to calculate payments.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Ugh. She may have been hit by WA's STUPID "rear end" law. The law is ridiculous, awful, and despicable. It states that whomever has the REAR of their car hit (even if they were doing the hitting) is NOT at fault. People can merge into the side of you, ram you, or even Tbone you, but if your car hits the back of their car even while spinning... you're toast. So if he ran the red and she hit the back of his car in any way, she will be held at fault UNLESS you get a good lawyer. And even then, it's iffy. My neighbor was just judged to be "at fault" because a few weeks ago a car was sliding backwards in the snow and hit her parked car. No one was even in it. But because it was the BACK of the sliding car that his hers... you guessed it. She's now appealing it with legal rep.

BUT YES. Contest the ticket AND the accident. And do it with a lawyer. The lawyer part is key. And your insurance company with probably provide one (ours does, the moment we're in any kind of wreck we get THEIR teams of lawyers fighting).

I was in an accident many moons ago. It was SO obviously the other person's fault the cop wrote ME a ticket stating "Non-Negligent Driving" and outlined in handwriting what had happened just to make sure he got his 2 cents in in court if he couldn't be there that day. (For several years I had it framed in my office). The other driver ran a red light going 60 in a 30 and was also drunk at the time. All of this is documented, along with more than 20 eye witness accounts.

The other people had a lawyer and I didn't (different insurace), and at 19 I was too naieve to think I needed one, and probably didn't have the money for one (I never researched, I thought it was pretty cut and dry). I was judged to be at fault.

Whenever you're dealing with the legal system, only do it through a lawyer.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Glens Falls on

I think she should dispute it. Is she sure the officer understood what happened? "Failure to yield' would normally go to the motorist making the left hand turn - your mom was going straight. If she didn't get a ticket for running a red light, then I think you can fight it. Did anyone check to see if the light was working properly? (i.e was it giving him a green arrow while not yet red for your mom? As the owner of the car, you have potential for liability, too, I think so it would be good to go on record as disputing it.


I think she should dispute it. Is she sure the officer understood what happened? "Failure to yield' would normally go to the motorist making the left hand turn - your mom was going straight. If she didn't get a ticket for running a red light, then I think you can fight it. Did anyone check to see if the light was working properly? (i.e was it giving him a green arrow while not yet red for your mom? As the owner of the car, you have potential for liability, too, I think so it would be good to go on record as disputing it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

You could consult with an attorney and get options. You and your mom should not sign any type of settlement papers for at least 2 weeks and until she has been to the dr. for a check. My friend was in a wreck in my car. She signed papers asap cuz she needed money. A month later she started having problems from whiplash. The insurance co. said 'tough luck' you settled.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Spokane on

See if your insurance company will hire an attorney and go to court.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Talk to your insurance company about it. We had a fight with someone over whose fault it was when our car got very scratched when we left it in an airport parking garage. Anyway, it ended up going to an adjudicator and the insurance companies handled it all. We won, by the way. :-)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Colorado Springs on

Is your mother insured by her insurance company to drive someone else's car? If so, her insurance should cover this. If not, yours will need to. Your insurance company should counsel you on what to do. I would go to court for this. You should have a trial date already, if that is how WA does things. I was in an accident once about 23 years ago. The police ticketed both of us. Me for failure to yield (sounds like a similar case). The other driver for something or other having to do with turning in front of an oncoming car. We both showed up in court, I just paid the ticket, and I think she did, too. Insurance covered the repair. I was young, in my early 20s, and didn't really want the hassle of it all. It is the only accident I've been in, thankfully. I remember being sort of amazed that they would ticket both people for conflicting reasons in the same accident. I think they figure that you can hash it out in court if you want. He isn't going to make the call on the scene.

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answers from Seattle on

IF she was going through a GREEN light and the other driver turned left in front of her so she hit him the accident is the other driver's fault . A person turning left has to yield to drivers going straight (assuming the straight driver has the green). Your mom should've made sure that the officer documented her version on the police report. it sounds like the policeman reached the conclusion that your mom did not have the right away for some reason. You should get a copy of the police report and if you disagree with it, fight the ticket.

If you don't fight the ticket the other guys insuance isn't going to pay and your insuance will probably have to pay for his damages if your insurance agrees that your mom was liable. When the adjustor calls your mom needs to tell him her version and let them know she is planning to fight the ticket. I would be curious how the guy turning left had the right away even if the light was red because that would mean he had a red light as well.



answers from Seattle on

I was in a similar situation (although in a different state). I would advise you to get a copy of the police's accident report. Often in court for a he said/she said kind of case, the court comes down on the side of the accident report as it is considered the "official" word on what happened. I would also look into the whole video thing - those did not exist when I was in this situation, but boy it would have been nice!!

i would certainly contest this, and as others have said, if your mother has insurance it should be on the driver's insurance, not the car owner's insurance. Either way, from your description this sounds like it is worth a fight.

Good luck!!



answers from Seattle on

I hate to say it, but since the police officer gave your mom a ticket, you are probably not going to be able to get out of the fault of the insurance without a lawyer. Too bad the witness didn't notice the light. What about traffic cams? You might want to look into cameras in the area.



answers from Seattle on

there is kind of a weird rule in WA that who ever has the damage closest to the back is not at fault. So meaning that if your mom hit the other drive toward the back of his vehicle, she would be considered at fault. If the damage was at the front of the car she hit, it would be considered the other drivers fault.
I think it would be your insurance that covers, since it was your car, regardless of the driver.
I don't know much about lawyers and who could help. I would try to dispute the ticket first....



answers from Portland on

Your insurance company will always open a claim. Even if someone else was at fault. The claim number from your insurance company will be what they use for your car to be fixed and any other damages. Your insurance company will then go after the person who is found at fault. If it is deemed a no-fault accident then both companies will pay for the repairs and damages.



answers from Tulsa on

The judge will,maybe, politely look at you while you testify and then go with the Police officers view of events. It's not worth it to me. You can let your insurance provider know and talk to them. They know the judges and the local court outcomes better than most I would guess.



answers from Seattle on

I am not an expert on the law but I remember in my driver's ed class many years ago that I was taught that even when it is not legally your fault if you were the last one that could have prevented the accident, it is considered your fault. Maybe the officer thinks if she was paying more attention, she could have prevented the incident, where as he had the sun in his eyes so he could not prevent it. I agree that it should be his fault and that she should at least go to court but I am not sure that hiring an attorney would be worth the money.


answers from Phoenix on

I'm an insurance agent in AZ. Your insurance companies claims department will likely go by whatever the police report says. There should be a section on there that actually says what percentage each driver is at fault and that's how it will be determined. This actually happened to me. I was going thru a green and had a 17 yo make a left turn right in front of me and I rolled her over. Luckily I had an off duty cop right behind me that saw the whole thing. They wrote the report as her 80% at fault and me 20% simply because I was driving. They said I got a lesser percent because I was on the inside lane but if I was on the outside I would have had more of a "chance" to stop so it would have been more like 50/50. So really it's out of your hands. Your mom would have to go to court to have the report changed and that's not likely to happen. Good luck!!



answers from Boston on

I don't know about in WA, but here in NH most attorneys will give a free 30 min consult, and wont take on a case like this unless they can win it because they don't get paid. (mom worked for an attorney for years). I would suggest to you:

1) Don't sign anything until you talk to an attorney
2) Talk to at least one attorney, but if they do give free consults talk to a minimum of 3.
3) Absolutely take this to court.

And as someone else suggested: check your Mothers insurance.

Good luck.

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