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October 25, 2012 - 10:41am

No settlement from insurance company on Settler's sign

posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Settlers Restaurant.

John Spyropoulos, co-owner of Settler's Restaurant on West Main Street, was a little taken aback yesterday to learn that the insurance company for the owner of a car that took out his 28-year-old business sign Oct. 10 won't help pay for its replacement.

State Farm said, according to Spyropoulos, that since the alleged driver, Martin F. Jones, 41, of 120 Jackson St., Batavia, wasn't authorized to drive the vehicle, the owner's policy doesn't cover the damage.

"I thought that was what uninsured motorist was for," Spyropoulos said.

It will cost $12,000 to replace the sign and the insurance Spyropoulos has on the building will pay only for $5,000 of it.

To get his money, Spyropoulos may need to file a claim for restitution through the courts. He could file a claim for the entire $12,000 expense.

If Jones is convicted, Jones could be ordered to pay for the sign at his sentencing.

Spyropoulos said he will look into that option.

Jones was charged with felony DWI, refusal to take breath test, two counts of leaving the scene of a property damage accident, unsafe backing, aggravated unlicensed operation, 1st, avoiding an intersection, speed not reasonable and prudent and driving on the sidewalk.

Lisa Falkowski
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Wow. What a shame. I have the same questions/concerns as Mr. Spyropoulos. There should be accountability somewhere - and not through his own insurance (business, property, whatever).

John Roach
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Lisa,
The accountability rests with Jones (if found guilty). If he is ordered to pay the $12k, and does not, then put him in jail for a yar or so.

Lisa Falkowski
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John,
What if Mr. Jones doesn't have the funds? I've heard of cases where people file some kind of poor man's paperwork. While I realize community service in lieu of fines, etc. might be acceptable in some cases, I think it would be a huge injustice in cases like this. Could this happen here? (Don't want to put ideas in anyone's head). It would not be fair for a property/business owner to have to swallow up this cost. Thanks for your input.

John Roach
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Lisa,
Then Jones goes to jail. I understand State Farm's point. Jones (allegedly still) took the car without permission, you could call that stealing. So why should they get stuck paying? In fact, they should go after Jones for any damage to the car.

If there is anyone else other than Jones who should pay, it's the owners insurance. Why his policy does not cover the whole cost should be the question.

Frank Collins
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"Like a good neighborrrr....Don't look at uuusssss"

Doug Yeomans
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State Farm insured the vehicle. It was involved in an accident, period. It's a no brainer. I'd be filing a suit against State Farm to pay for damages.

C. M. Barons
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...Like jail time will result in 12K to fix the sign. How about a year of washing dishes in Settler's kitchen?

Dave Olsen
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That's pretty much what I was thinking, C M. How about he has to rebuild the sign he destroyed. If he can't pay, then roll up his sleeves. If Police supervision is needed to make sure he shows up and works to the owner's satisfaction, then I'd rather we pay for that then putting him in jail. I'm not an insurance agent, nor do I play one on TV, I didn't even stay at a Holiday Inn, but to my understanding uninsured motorist coverage is to cover you and your vehicle if you are hit by an uninsured motorist. The guy allegedly had the vehicle without permission (stole it, basically). The driver is at fault and on the hook.

Eric [Rick] von...
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There must be more to the sign than i can see, i sure don't see a $12,000 sign. $5000.00 is realistic. but i agree state farm insures the VEHICLE period and they should pay.

Lisa Falkowski
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Eric (Rick),
Could that be current replacement value?

John Roach
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Dave,
You're right. The uninsured part of auto insurance covers you when in an accident with another vehicle/driver who is uninsured. It does not cover damage caused by a person to takes without permission or steals a car and causes damage.

What about the owner of the business? Why didn't he have enough insurance? But then why should he? The only person accountable is Jones.

I do like the of Jones having to work off the debt with the owner if he can not find any other way to pay. But jail is there for a reason and if Jones will not or can not pay restitution, then off he goes. He has to pay one way or the other for this (if found guilty).

Dave Olsen
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I get that John. It always seems to me that many times punishment is the goal instead of restitution. If this guy goes to jail, how does that help out the business owner who did absolutely nothing wrong

John Roach
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Dave,
Also remember that besides the damage to the sign, he is accused of DWI and refusing a breath test. He could easily have killed someone.

Cheryl Wilmet
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If I owned that businesses, I would not want to let Mr. Jones come into my property to pay off his debt. I understand where everyone is coming from in the fact that even if he has to pay the $12,000 he won't be able to if he is in jail and chances are even if he doesn't go to jail, he will never repay that. I just think that his character says a lot and I wouldn't want him to "work" for me. I would definitely fight the insurance company's decision.

Mark Brudz
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Double Post Deleted Sorry

Mark Brudz
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Being as though my daughter's license plate was firmly inbedded in Mr. Jone's grill when law enforcement caught up with him, it really occured to me at that time that Mr. Jones was a threat to lives that night. Jail is appropriate completely in this case.

As far as restitution goes, let's us not forget following court judgement, there is the ability to garnish a wage, it may take a awhile because I do believe he is going to be spending some time in jail, but once a judgement is passed it sticks.

Let's not forget that driving on sidewalks, hitting a parked vehicle in the Hess Parking lot, driving facing traffic and a few other rather dangerous actions took place that night. What is more important is keeping him away from booze and driving a vehicle than anything material. This guy drove with a revoked license, has multiple DWI's and is likely to kill someone in the future if he doesn't go to jail.

Just a thought.

Gary Spencer
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If Jones is found guilty he will have to pay restitution, not only for the sing but also for the car he hit at Hess and for the car he was driving, he will probably be sent to jail and when he gets out and starts to pay he could pay as little as $10 per month, as long as he makes an attept to pay the court will be happy, you do the math, it would take yeats to pay restitution.

Mark Brudz
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Is the $12000 for the sign or the $500 for my car worth the potential of a life being taken the next time he hops in someones car for a drunken joy ride?.... Send him to jail.

John Spyropoulos
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I agree let him rot in jail. Thank god he didn't hurt or kill anyone. The sign can and will be replaced. Hopefully he learned his lesson. If I'm to bet on it, he didn't.

Dave Olsen
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Yes, thank God nobody was injured or killed. That is what's really important. Sorry for all of your losses. Having said that, jail doesn't seem to be teaching too many lessons.

Mark Potwora
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Judge Noonan, just let some woman who had two underage child in her car avoid jail.She got a plea deal...At the same time she has another one pending ....So i doubt he would send this punk to jail....So much for the Leandra Law...

http://thebatavian.com/howard-owens/pavilion-mother-admits-driving-drunk...

Mark Brudz
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Up to the mid 1960's, Jail was about punishment, not rehabilitation.....Having said that perhaps we should reconsider just how much progress we have made.

John Woodworth JR
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That is why DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED is such a problem. You have lawyers who address DWI as someone who made a mistake. Maybe the first time, but when it happens a second, third or more, how is that a mistake? Our jails and prisons are over populated so, plea deals become the norm. Then you have the bleeding hearts that do not want to ruin someone's life because they are having a hard time dealing with life and their many problems.
The problem here is “ACCOUNTABILITY!” No one wants to take responsibility for their actions. Jones needs to serve time and not just a year or two. I am curious about whether Jones had permission or not for the use of the vehicle. My reasoning (Which is just an assumption) is this; if I allowed my friend or family member to use my car and I knew they were not allowed to drive. Then they wreck my car. Hmmm, would my insurance cover my vehicle since, I allowed a known suspended driver to operate it? Would I be held responsible for damages/injuries to property/person(s).

jeff saquella
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thats why state farm is a horrible insurance company.....i had them years ago and they didnt want to pay for damages back then either....but they sure will take your premiums

Dave Olsen
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Mark, Mark and John. I agree with parts of all 3 comments. Our jails & prisons are over-crowded. We spend enormous amounts of money on our punitive system. Not sure if this is true, I'll look it up later, but NY may spend more on corrections than on education. How stupid is that? The end result is repeat offenders and damages that don't get recompensed. I agree, accountability is important and should be expected. I'd like to see more accountability. So, how do we do that? It's a tough question to answer. Certainly there are people who deserve to be in jail and need to be segregated from the rest of us. I think we can force some like the knucklehead in this story to work off their crimes. If not directly for the victim, then for the county, city etc. & portions of his pay given to the victim or charity. My wife says I want to create slaves and indentured servants, maybe I do.
Life can be a bitch. If ya want to play, you got to pay. For every action, there is an equal re-action. Smoke 'em if you got 'em.

John Roach
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John W.
The police charged him with Unauthorized use of the car, so the owner is not at fault. If it was shown that he did have permission, then the car owner could be held accountable. But that is not the case.

Jeff,
Are you really saying that if your car is stolen and involved in an accident, you should be held responsible? That your insurance should pay and your rates maybe go up because your car was stolen? How does that make sense. This is not about State Farm (I don't have them and never did), it's about who should be held accountable.

Doug Yeomans
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One of the reasons vehicles are insured is in case they're stolen. It shouldn't matter that the driver was unauthorized to drive it or not. If I'm hit by a driver in a stolen vehicle, you can bet your ass that I not going to allow an insurance company to say to say to me: "Sorry, we're not going to cover you because the driver wasn't authorized to operate the vehicle."

That insurance company insured the car and if it's in an accident, they're liable. The insurance company can then seek legal action against whomever they think is actually liable. It's just pathetic for State Farm to say they're not going to cover the damages.

Raymond Richardson
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Spyropoulos has a claim against the registered owner of the vehicle and Jones.

Dave Olsen
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Come on now Doug. Auto Insurance is a legal racket. The Mafia is jealous. You are required to have it if you want your vehicle to be registered, for which you'll be arrested and/or fined if you don't. You don't have much of a choice, so they get to dictate the terms of coverage. Just another shafting by the Man and the government he bought to suck our hard-earned income from you and me.

John Roach
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Doug,
You have insurance to repair your car if it is stolen and damaged, not others property. Why not blame the sign's owner for not having enough insurance to cover the replacement cost? He is just as much at fault as the owner of the car.

John Spyropoulos
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Lmao.... So this guy who is known by first name in the local law system smashes into our sign and we're at fault for not carrying the maximum coverage on our sign? Good thing he didnt drive through someones house. If you know anything about insurance rates, and businesses, you'd understand that you can't carry the maximum coverage on everything. Like I said earlier, thank god no one was hurt or killed. No worries the next sign will be awesome, and have a two four foot thick concrete pillars for legs. And by the way we're still open:). 5am-10pm everyday. In case you don't know where we're located its the old red barn building! Thanks to everyone for their support in this matter.

Mark Brudz
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The only person that did anything wrong here was Martin F Jones, Not John Spyropoulos, not My Daughter, not State Farm, Not Barack Obama, Not Mitt Romney not even Santa Claus'

While I was stunned at the rules on the coverage, it doesn't change the fact that a drunken idiot who wasn't licensed or authorized to drive the car caused all of the grief in the first place.

John Roach
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Mr. Spyropoulos,
The point is you want the innocent owner of the car to pay. It was not his fault anymore than yours. Like Mark states, it was Jones fault, and nobody else.

You want the innocent car owners insurance rates to maybe go up to pay for your sign and that's wrong. That person did nothing wrong and his company should not pay.

No doubt your insurance rates are high, but that is also not the fault of the car owner either. Everyone hates insurnace companies, but why should the car owner have to pay becuse you did not have enough insurance?

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