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Letters To The Editor, Santa Monica, Police Department

Always Obtain A Police Report After A Car Accident: Letter To The Editor

Posted Nov. 22, 2012, 1:12 am

Letter To The Editor

Dear Editor,

I want to share what happened to me when I lost my car to a reckless driver and no police report was obtained.

Last August, I was notified that my legally parked car was hit by another vehicle, traveling on the wrong side of Sixth Street in Santa Monica, causing extensive damage, the impact of which knocked the VW Jetta partially on to the curb, and also causing damage to the car parked to the rear of the Jetta.

I was told by neighbors who saw the aftermath that three police vehicles responded and the driver of the colliding vehicle was interviewed by police. What happened next took me by surprise. When I requested a report from the police department, I was advised that no report was taken, there was an incident memo but, no report. I checked with the city attorney and was told that no report is required if there are no injuries

So, my insurance company has nothing to go on, my car was totaled, and the driver who had to be driving recklessly, walks free with his car unscathed. Think of it! You come out of your unit the next morning, and your car is useless, no report even though police were apparently called to the scene by some person, and your car is towed to the scrap yard.

Accepting the statement from the city attorney as accurate, I think there should be an amendment to the vehicle code or an appropriate ordinance that loss of property in excess of a certain value would require a police report. For example, say a car crashes into a house, no injuries, shouldn't that require a report?

Needless to say, I was disappointed with this outcome and loss of property.

Bill Partridge

Santa Monica

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Comments

Nov. 22, 2012, 2:14:28 am

Max Debber said...

If you obtained information from the other driver, as he is required to provide by law, you can send this information to your insurance company. They can photograph and diagram the scene, obtain witness statements and a statement from the other party. They will then proceed to collect from the other parties insurance company or the other party, by lawsuit if necessary. Your insurance company should cover any monies they are unable to recover.

Nov. 22, 2012, 2:35:30 am

Judy said...

According to the California Driver Handbook, each driver must file a report with the DMV within 10 days if there was more than $750 in damage to any property. It explicitly says the CHP or police will not make this report for you. You might want to check the DMV web site to read the whole thing.

Nov. 22, 2012, 4:09:44 am

Kathlean Gahagan said...

You should take action to amend the law. I'd sign to get this on a ballot.

Nov. 22, 2012, 5:49:50 am

Michael W. Folonis, FAIA said...

Bill, A number of years ago I was hit broadside by a person who ran a red light. I called the Santa Monica Police and was told, if there were no injuries they would not take a report. I insisted a police office come to the site and take a written report. An officer showed up almost an hour later and was not at all happy about filing the accident report. Fortunately, the report was taken and I had no problems with the insurance companies. I agree the vehicle code should be changed.

Nov. 25, 2012, 2:55:26 pm

Joan Boylan said...

Thanks for sharing that. It is a severe loss and sounds like you can do nothing about it. Will your insurance company cover that? If police were called and spoke with the other driver, it seems like the insurance company could go after him.

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