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Motor Vehicle Accident Information

OK, YOU’VE HAD A MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT, SO NOW WHAT HAPPENS?

Refer all inquiries from the other party or their representative to Safety, Risk & Sustainability (760) 750-4502.

Hopefully, the following will help explain your responsibilities.

You are the state driver and it is immediately following the accident.

All Accidents:

  • Determine, and as necessary, obtain immediate medical assistance for anyone involved in the accident.
  • If any police authority, University Police, or California Highway Patrol (CHP) is present, obtain a police report number, if one is completed.
  • At the accident scene, do not admit fault or make any promises that the state will pay for any damages.  Make no comments or statements regarding the accident to anyone except the investigating police authority, your supervisor, Cal State San Marcos Safety, Risk & Sustainability staff, or an identified representative of the State’s insurance adjuster.

If you are driving a campus or state vehicle, there should be a Std 269 card in your glove compartment, which you may use to write down as much information as you can. Tear off the perforated part and give it to the other driver so he/she will know who you are and how to contact us.

If there were injuries to non-state parties, or if the other party suffered significant property damage, report the accident to the Office of Risk and Insurance Management (ORIM) by telephone at (916) 376-5302.  On week-ends call (800) 900-3634 and leave a voicemail message with a telephone number where you may be reached the next business day.
If a death is caused by the accident, report it as soon as possible to the University Police at 760-750-4567, as well as to the ORIM as advised above.

  • All accidents involving any state-owned vehicle or any vehicle used for state business are to be reported by the campus to the ORIM within 48 hours.  Complete the Std 270 as soon as possible, and, if obtained, include the police report number.  Have your supervisor review the Std 270 and sign it.  Your supervisor must also complete a Std 274 (State Driver Accident Review).
  • Immediately send the original Std 270 and Std 274 to Facility Services with a copy to Safety, Risk & Sustainability.  If damage is only to a state vehicle and the repair estimate is less than $1,000, the Std. 274 is not sent to ORIM, but is retained in the campus’ incident file.

If you are contacted by the other driver, their insurance company or their attorney, give the caller no written nor recorded statements and refer them to Safety, Risk & Sustainability (760-750-4502).

Accident Occurs On or Adjacent to Campus:  Report the accident to University Police immediately. (750-4567 or if serious, 9-1-1)

Accident Occurs Away from Campus:

  1. Report the accident to your immediate supervisor as soon as reasonable.
  2. If you are driving a campus vehicle, report the accident as soon as reasonable to the University Police.
  3. If you are driving a rental vehicle on campus business, you must report the accident to the rental provider and follow their instruction for handling the vehicle.
  4. If you are driving a privately-owned vehicle, your personal insurance is primary, so you need to report the accident to your insurance provider as well as to the campus, as outlined below.

You are the state driver’s immediate supervisor or safety coordinator.

  • Review and co-sign the Vehicle Accident Report (Std 270) to attest to the fact that the employee was on official state business.
  • Investigate the accident to determine if it was preventable.
  • Complete the Supervisor's Review of Motor Vehicle Accident (Std 274).
  • Send the original Std. 270 and Std. 274 to Facility Services – Fleet Management.  That office will mail the forms to the ORIM, as necessary, and send a copy to Safety, Risk & Sustainability.

Whoever you are, if contacted by the claimant, it’s OK to tell them the following:

  • The ORIM handles and makes all the decisions on accident claims. (“All I do is report them to Sacramento”.)  Make no promises nor commitments to the claimants that their claim will be paid!
  • Refer claimants directly to the ORIM (916-376-5302 or 1-800-900-3634) to expedite the handling of their claim.
  • If claimant wishes to protect themselves from the six-month claim-filing statute of limitations (see Government Code Sec. 910 et seq.), they may also file a formal claim against the State by contacting the State Board of Control (800-955-0045 or 916-323-3564) to obtain a fill-in-the-blank Tort Claim form. This form must be completed and returned to the Board of Control prior to six months after the accident.
  • In order to substantiate and document their property damage claim, the claimant must provide the ORIM with a written estimate(s) as follows:
    • One estimate if the repairs are less than about $500
    • Two estimates if the repairs are more than about $500
  • If the claimant says that the “Motorists’ Bill of Rights” says they are only required to submit one estimate, tell them that is true, but only when one is dealing with his/her own insurance company.
  • If the claimant’s car is not drivable, obviously they cannot obtain competitive repair estimates.  The ORIM will handle this situation.
  • The claimant may elect to have their own insurance company repair the damage if they have collision coverage. Their insurance company can then press their claim against the State and reimburse them.  This is an option which is generally faster than making a claim against the State directly.
  • If the claim is only for property damage, the claimant’s vehicle is drivable, and they are willing to allow you to delay forwarding the Std 270 to the ORIM by a couple days (only) to allow them time to obtain and give you one or two repair estimates, you can then wait to send in the Std 270 until you can attach the repair estimates to it. This approach, to be used only with a cooperative claimant, enables our office to obtain the entire package together at one time.

You are the state driver, and you have been served with a Small Claims Court summons and complaint.

  • You will have to appear as ordered! The ORIM, the Attorney General’s Office and/or Caltrans’ Legal Division cannot appear either with or on your behalf in Small Claims Court.
  • You should contact the ORIM to advise us and we will provide you with copies of documents from our file as well as advice on how to proceed to defend yourself and your employer.  ORIM recommends that you take your supervisor or Risk Manager along with you to the trial.
  • When you receive the verdict or judgment (usually by mail), call the ORIM promptly to advise us of the results.  If you have not already done so, also inform your Risk Manager.

You are the state driver, and you have been served with a Municipal or Superior Court summons and complaint.

  • Call the ORIM immediately (!!!) to obtain instructions on how to obtain defense counsel.  An answer must be filed within 30 days of service to avoid a default judgment.
  • Refer all inquiries from the other party or their representative to Safety, Risk & Sustainability (760) 750-4502.