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Voting on Auto Insurance Initiatives

October 15, 1988

As a practicing California lawyer for the past 16 years, I have represented insurance companies in tort litigation and, for the last 10 years, I have represented injured people making claims for personal injuries against those insured by the insurance industry. I found Jeffrey O'Connell's column "No-Fault Auto Insurance: Simple And Fair" (Op-Ed Page, Sept. 21) amusing, yet dangerous.

O'Connell makes the incredible remark that ". . . It's hard to determine who was at fault in a typical auto accident. . . ." The entire premise of his argument is not only incorrect, it is just not true. The vast majority of auto collisions are caused by unsafe drivers, drunk drivers, and/or careless and negligent drivers, who drive too fast, run red lights, rear-end cars in front of them, make illegal lane changes, etc. Major disputes in litigation about who is at fault are the exception, not the rule. The trouble is, there is no such thing as "no-fault." Somebody caused the accident and that somebody should pay for it--not the innocent victim. That is exactly why the negligent driver who caused injury bought his auto insurance in the first place . . . to protect himself in case he is at fault for injuring another person.

There is nothing wrong with the tort liability system in this state that cannot be remedied by fair insurance practices.

In short, no-fault cheats the injured, rewards the wrongdoer and at the same time makes the insurance companies even richer than they are.

NED P. REILLY

Santa Ana

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