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PA DOT extortion attempt
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  (#1)
GP Racer
 
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PA DOT extortion attempt - March 13, 2009, 11:30 AM

So I wrecked in a turn just across the border in PA last August, and the rear end of my SV slid under a guardrail. It's not that easy to see, but I have a picture of it below, thanks to Jaxxx from .net.


I was charged with "disregard traffic lane (single)" and hit with a $78 fee Instead of screwing around trying to fight it, I just signed the ticket (presented to me in the hospital) and paid the fine by mail.
Fast forward to yesterday...I received a letter in the mail stating that I was responsible for over $1300 - the cost of replacing a section of guard rail due to damage caused by my accident...straight up BS. I have no intention of paying this or asking my insurance company to pay it because there is no way in hell that I could have damaged that guardrail aside from leaving some paint behind.
I emailed the address given on the letter and got a response saying that they attribute any damage to me because there is no police report of a vehicle hitting the guardrail between 8/1/08 and now aside from me. That's it...that's their evidence that I demolished a guardrail and caused them to replace it recently What about previous damage? What if someone hit it and it wasn't reported? I don't care who hit it, but I KNOW that I didn't cause any significant damage to that guardrail. Just as a matter of principle I refuse to pay this and I don't believe that my insurance should be shelling anything out either.

Ok, enough about me...does anyone have any ideas aside from ignoring them from now on? I plan on calling my insurance company after work, and possibly riding up to see if they even replaced the damn guardrail. I never told the insurance company before because I only have liability coverage, and there was no damage that needed to be repaired other than my knee and a couple minor things on the bike (plastic, brake lever, and rearset).
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March 13, 2009, 11:33 AM

Absolutely absurd.


Right up the 1 hole.
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March 13, 2009, 11:35 AM

That sucks man... Back when I was younger and lived in PA my mother bumped into a guardrail during a blizzard... She had to pay some amount (don't remember how much) and they never even replaced it... She only lift a little bit of paint...

I wouldn't pay it. At least not with out a fight.


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March 13, 2009, 11:44 AM

That's total BS! They obviously waited half of a year till someone totally demolished it and ran away, and then they found the most recent accident and nailed them with the fine. Sucks for you.

You insurance company might not like the fact that you brought it up so late, but I think it'd be best to talk to them about it. They may know more about what to do in these situations. Good luck.


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March 13, 2009, 11:52 AM

You have photographic proof that you did not do damage to the guard rail, sent that to Penn DOT and tell them if they plan to pursue you plan to counter sue for costs, lost wages etc.

I would not tell my insurance because they will mark that as an accident and raise your rates, and possibly drop your policy for not reporting it (read your fine print you are required to report everything and they can and will drop you if you dont).

Thats my $0.02


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March 13, 2009, 11:58 AM

proper accident management might have been appropriate here


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March 13, 2009, 12:05 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Woody View Post
Absolutely absurd.
+1 Make them send you an itemized bill and then promptly provide them with the picture evidence and threaten to sue if they don't drop the matter.

Another reason I don't street ride anymore.


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March 13, 2009, 12:11 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by r6hokie View Post
proper accident management might have been appropriate here
We did manage that accident properly. There was absolutely no damage to the guard rail. State was on the scene, and so were a number of EMTs and VFD members. This is straight up BS. Mike, I'll gladly send a letter, go to court, make a statement, whatever. I know for a fact there was nothing wrong with that guard rail when we left that day. A lawyer would be good to have to help you beat this, but it should not be necessary. Plus it will cost you, and this is not something that you should have to pay to defend yourself on.

I guess if it were me, I would talk with someone over the phone and find out what the official process for contesting is. Do not agree to anything until you are advised of your rights and feel satisfied that you have been properly informed of the situation and avenues of recourse. You are simply not guilty of what they are charging you with.


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March 13, 2009, 12:12 PM

Mike, try to get a photo of the area as it looks now. Your photo that Robert took above is pretty nice evidence that there is no damage to that guard rail.


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March 13, 2009, 12:18 PM

*Serious Post*

Just spoke to my dad, 26 yrs MSP....

He said that, at least in MD, the only way they could do that is if an accident report filed by law enforcement personnel on-scene stated that there was damage to state property. In that case, you would be billed, which I can't say I disagree with.


If there was an accident report stating this, then man-up and take it like a champ.

If not, fight it for all you're worth.

Hope this helps.


Right up the 1 hole.
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March 13, 2009, 12:24 PM

Thanks for the advice so far, I appreciate it.

OSD: I really appreciate your support, I'll let you know if it comes to that, but I hope it won't.

Woody: If I did damage the guardrail, I'd gladly pay the damages. However I know without a doubt that this is a baseless claim. Thanks for the info from your dad.
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March 13, 2009, 12:36 PM

Keep us updated on how this turns out.
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March 13, 2009, 01:03 PM

damn guardrails are expensive
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March 13, 2009, 01:08 PM

Windblown, Jaxxx, and I can all three concur that the guard rail was not damaged. The SV slid under it with the tail section slightly wedged in between the rail and the ground, in between two posts.

That's a nasty corner that is a lot worse than the photos can show. It rolls steeply downhill right from the crest of the hill. Someone probably missed the turn and slid into the guard rail this past winter.


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March 13, 2009, 01:13 PM

Ok....so there's no accident report?


Right up the 1 hole.
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