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Devin

Got Into Minor Accident: Questions....

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So I had my first accident today. As I was pulling out of a traffic light-controlled intersection, the lady in front of me let off the brake, and I glanced over to the left to make sure nobody was going to blow a red light (I make that a habit) and I accelerated before fully looking forward, only to find out, the lady still hasn't moved forward, after the light was green for like 3 seconds. Throw on the hazards, and I get out to asess the damage.

IMG_1336.jpg

I thought, how on earth did I cause all of this?! It was a little tap on the back! So I look over to my car....

IMG_1337.jpg

Nothing. Nada.

So she gets out, all ticked off that her father is on the way to the hospital in the ambulance (which coincidentally passes by as she says that) and now she has this happen, and how it's not even her van, it's her sisters. So she decides she wants to call the police, and she didn't really know how (as she pulled out her phone from 1999), so I called 911.

They give me some runaround how its on private property and to go to this place blah blah, so she calls instead, and gets a cop out to assess the situation. My friend, which I was out to dinner with, came back (since he saw it happen) as a witness.

The lady proceeds to tell me its her sisters van and that she was in a prior rear-ending, essentially admitting that the damage was preexisting. So as she was in the car calling the police, I took my tape measure and measure from the ground to the top of my bumper where it protrudes: 20". The Windstar? Same thing, I think it was a bit higher. So how could I have done that? There isn't any damage on her van that even looks like I caused.

Cop shows up, and asks what happens, so I explain. He asks who my friend is, and he says he's a witness. The cop said, "Well, since nobody is disputing anything, you're free to go." I said, well, I want to make clear that this damage was not from my car, and this witness can also prove that. He said, "That doesn't matter, you hit her." Gesturing to my friend, "Sir you can go now." So I don't think he even noted that she told me flat out the van was in a prior accident.

So he gets her info and mine and goes to his car for a while. He comes back, gives her the info back and she leaves. Brings me mine and a ticket for "Failure to stop within assured clear distance".

So heres my questions, if anybody has any input. Keeping in mind Michigan has No-Fault laws....Do I have to notify my insurance if I do not wish to make a claim? There is zero damage on my car. As far as I was aware, No Fault means you are responsible for your own damages with your own insurance company. I plan to take the ticket to court and admit responsibility, hoping to drop the 2 points. If this is successful, will I still have an accident on my record, even though I have it dropped or changed to impeding traffic, which they usually do? I am just worried about my rates going up.

Hope somebody can chime in here. Thanks.

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Glad you're OK.

Any at-fault will generally raise your rates, unless you have accident forgiveness. Whoever is farther back is generally at fault, in my experience. As you described the case, you would be seen as at fault. If you successfully prove it was not your vehicle, then the impact to the insurance should be minimal. My state does not require reporting any accident resulting in less than $400 property damage (total) so I would go ahead and call it in. Let them decide. She will certainly file claim w/ your company, so they need to hear from you as well.

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I'm going to call my agent tomorrow about it. He seems really nice and I think he'll work with me.

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The only way that tailgate damage like what is seen on her Windstar there could have occurred is from heavy contact with another vehicle that rides unusually high, and also has a protruding bumper or a front end accessory (bull bars, hard-mounted winch, etc). That dent is recessed a good six inches compared to the van's rear bumper lip, and the bumper cover itself seems to be fine. I doubt that the black step pad has more than a couple scratches on it. I'm going to have to go with a (possibly non-OEM lifted) full-sized truck or SUV for the type of vehicle that could have actually caused that.

Something more like this:

Fab4-Gallery-Large-Truck-GMC-Winch.jpg

Instead of this:

dg007_033ca.jpg

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My thoughts exactly.

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Glad you are fine, and it was a minimal bump scuffle. Sounds just as mine happened (though mine had obvious impact). I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss damage. There's a lot of plastic and foam behind today's bumpers. The paint may not show signs of obvious damage due to the flex agent that's in it to prevent paint damage in low-speed bumps, or hail, ect. Bout how fast do you think you were moving when you bumper her? Less than 5? More than 5?

And I agree, there's no way in hell that you could have done that tailgate in, but it looks to be night time, and the cop sounded to be a little impatient, possibly his shift was about over so he didn't investigate it very well. Which sucks for you, unfortunately. Just be glad she wasn't toting a hitch.

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Call your insurance agent/company. They will take a phone-recorded statement from you and your witness. In this way they will protect themselves from claims. Usually, if it was previous damage to that car is because it was in another accident, hopefully reported, and recorded against the VIN number of the lady car. Your insurance can get that information.

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Glad you are fine, and it was a minimal bump scuffle. Sounds just as mine happened (though mine had obvious impact). I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss damage. There's a lot of plastic and foam behind today's bumpers. The paint may not show signs of obvious damage due to the flex agent that's in it to prevent paint damage in low-speed bumps, or hail, ect. Bout how fast do you think you were moving when you bumper her? Less than 5? More than 5?

And I agree, there's no way in hell that you could have done that tailgate in, but it looks to be night time, and the cop sounded to be a little impatient, possibly his shift was about over so he didn't investigate it very well. Which sucks for you, unfortunately. Just be glad she wasn't toting a hitch.

1-2 MPH max. There was maybe 12" between us, and I let off the brake and tapped the gas very lightly to get rolling and I tapped her bumper, nothing more. Guarantee there is no damage under the bumer that isn't pre-existing from the previous accident.

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1-2 MPH max. There was maybe 12" between us, and I let off the brake and tapped the gas very lightly to get rolling and I tapped her bumper, nothing more. Guarantee there is no damage under the bumer that isn't pre-existing from the previous accident.

True enough, then. Good news there.

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Okay, so I contacted my insurance agent about an hour ago. I said I wanted to report an accident, but wanted to make it clear I was not making a claim. The woman asked why I would want to do this? I told her I thought I was required by law to report all accidents, wether or not I wanted to make a claim. She said, "No, the only way we'd need to know is if the woman you hit wanted to file a claim and went after us for the money." At that point, they would contact me, but unless that happens, they do not want to know anything happened. So I said, "So, that means we never had this conversation, right?", to which she replied, "Nope, I don't recall having this conversation at all."

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^^^ like

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Okay, so I contacted my insurance agent about an hour ago. I said I wanted to report an accident, but wanted to make it clear I was not making a claim. The woman asked why I would want to do this? I told her I thought I was required by law to report all accidents, wether or not I wanted to make a claim. She said, "No, the only way we'd need to know is if the woman you hit wanted to file a claim and went after us for the money." At that point, they would contact me, but unless that happens, they do not want to know anything happened. So I said, "So, that means we never had this conversation, right?", to which she replied, "Nope, I don't recall having this conversation at all."

Different experience, but, learning for me.

Wife was at Wal-Mart and lady claims our front bumper touched her rear bumper, and since she had backed in earlier and was sure there was no one behind her, our car must be the cause. She claimed to see a scratch on her 7 year old car rear bumper. She called the sheriff and had accident report done. I was nearby in my car and came to help my wife who was rather irritated. This lady wanted the sheriff to look at her bumper. He said it was not what they do. Just names and licenses and car positions. He wrote it up and said it would be on efile at the courthouse tomorrow, see on line or go in person and pay $1 for a copy.

When I got back in my car, I called local independent insurance guy. He said OK no further action needed on my part if I had no damage. Soon later this woman called and said the estimate was ~$400 and she would come by and take a check and not report it. I hung up with no comment. I called my agent again and he said I did right in not talking and said he would contact her immediately and tell her not to contact us. Also, she had already filed a claim.

Couple of days and adjuster called and wanted to see my car. Ok so set early morning next day and he was right on time. Met me, looked at the vin, put it in his laptop and told me my car history including the dear hit, finder fix and headlamp and such, and who did the work. Said he could get all info on any car in the US, even if retired. Now, he got his tape measure and held it to my front bumper and snapped a pic and put it in his computer. Took close-up of my front bumper and confirmed, no damage.

I asked him how much it might be to fix a scratch on 7 year old car and he said $50 to $100. Then, I asked him how he could afford to travel 70 miles one way and spend a day for such a minor event. He said approximate, for each fraud we catch, 10 frauds will not be done. I had told him about her attempt to get $$ and he said, we know who she is, and who her friend is. I got the message. He was going to her house to see her car next.

 

I also asked him if I would hear from my ins co if they paid. He said if they paid, I would be notified, but no details. I never heard.

So the ins co have tools and they are not dumb. He also had this little camera which he put next to his laptop and it put the pic on the laptop, and sent it to the home office at once. Same old coot came to my '03 when the tree fell on it and he was really thourough. As he typed things in his report, he told me what he was inputting and asked if I had questions.

Glad you had no damage, and happy motoring.

-chart-

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Friend had a bumper scuffle, he did get it repaired, on his pickup...it was on the carfax. Which means that even though it was a minor bump...it still got reported and the car has a tarnished title.

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Friend had a bumper scuffle, he did get it repaired, on his pickup...it was on the carfax. Which means that even though it was a minor bump...it still got reported and the car has a tarnished title.

Mines not getting fixed. I'm not too worried about this little scuff.

photo.jpg

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Friend had a bumper scuffle, he did get it repaired, on his pickup...it was on the carfax. Which means that even though it was a minor bump...it still got reported and the car has a tarnished title.

I do not remember the exact test on carfax for mine, but something about no damage reported.

Since I traded it and got $2750 on paper, and the dealer sent it to auction, doubt it matters.

However, the animal inpact damage finder was having a paint failure, and the shop went out of business.

doubt the auction price changed much.

The Sable I bought last year had front impact, minor damage shown. Hood and grille were new, no other things appear to be replaced.

4 weeks later tree fell on it and totaled. No title change in NY for 8 year and older.

I had to replace the new hood with a JY hood that was better. Paint matched and heavier.

There are cheap thin after market hoods out there. And the rubber moulding that seals the hood to the cowl was missing and the hood had no holes to instal it.

So my '03 Sable as far as carfax is concerned it a mess. I do not care, it was cheap. Really cheap. $406 from buyback and already licensed and insured.

I canceled my comp as they will not pay twice for the same thing if I fix it up.

Nice car.

-chart-

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Mines not getting fixed. I'm not too worried about this little scuff.

photo.jpg

Duplicolor to the rescue!

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Wrong place, wrong time. Your car cleary didn't cause that damage, there is no way you pushed that tailgate in.

2 years ago in a Best Buy parking lot I "backed into a lady", she was driving down the middle of the isle (2 way), the taurus's rather large C/D pillar blocked my view combined with her quick rate of travel. I was angling out as she passed by and bam, huge scratch all the way from her front fener to the rear wheel well, pushed in the door panel enough to see the support bar. I just had a crack in my bumper. So the motions begin, first thing she says was "I didn't see you, I didnt know you hit me I just heard a loud noise" I immediatly know she wans't paying attention because I was half way out of my space and she tried to slip past. Either way she insists to call the police, I told her "this is private property they won't do anything and I am in full cooperation to give you my info". Cop comes blah blah, she was rambling like crazy (party that is guilty always talks way too much), meanwhile I am just standing there, he takes the statements and checks our licenses, and says have a good evening. So I got the call a week later from the insurance, I explained my story, mainly focusing on how I was half way out of my space and that she kept driving all the way down the isle before stopping.

End result, my fault since I was backing out of a space into traffic. Insurance really didn't go up since there was no ticket, lucky me as my driving record is officaly still clear.

And Honestlly if that van had a trailer hitch, it was caused by letting a trailer tounge to hit the tail gate, our old van had a nice dent just like that from letting a boat trailer slide into it. (It was also a Windstar). Infact I just put a nice scratch in the explorers bumper this summer while moving a utility trailer that had a little bit of topsoil left in it. (It was a bit to heavy for me...oops) The explorer sits alot higher off the ground so it hit the plastic bumper not the tailgate.

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Lol that lady doesn't have a chance of collecting.

I have worse scratches/bumps on the 2000!

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Yeah, I don't think she's going to try and collect, but then again, it's her sisters van. So we'll see. Now, as a co-worker of mine pointed out, if this was an accident where she say, backed into something on her own and just never fixed it, or something like that, she may see this as an open opportunity to make a claim. However, the woman said she was "rear-ended", so I feel it may have been just that, and that there would be a police report on it, etc etc. Either way, if she tries to make a claim, she's going to fail.

1) My bumper sits too low. Hers was an inch higher than mine, and theres no way my car went over her bumper to cause the damage.

2) Now, lets say my car could have caused that damage (bumper being higher, for example). The amount of force/rate of speed my car would have to be moving at would have to be much greater than what I bumped into her at, and, in order for me to dent in her metal tailgate, my plastic bumper would most likely be destroyed, or even cracked. But alas, there are no cracks, dents, or gouges in it. Just some paint flaked off in one pencil eraser sized dot.

3) She claims her neck hurt from the whiplash. What? You'd exert more force on your neck by slamming on the brakes in a panic stop. These no way she got whiplash. I was at a complete stop. Even if I floored it, the 12" - 24" between us would not be much room to even get up to any kind of speed.

I honestly think she saw an opportunity to get her sisters car fixed and maybe some medical bill fraud from this. Okay, maybe not like that, but she made this more of a hassle than it had to be.

Also, and interesting tidbit. I went to get the crash report, and this is what I see.

ScreenShot2012-10-18at91307PM.png

Does she not have any insurance? It's not listed like mine is. Hmmmm.... I know it's her sisters car, but AFAIK (correct me if I'm wrong) even if you drive somebody else's vehicle, you still need to have your own insurance to cover the vehicle, correct? At least thats what my coworker told me.

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A Caliber is way too slow to be capable of inflicting that kind of damage anyway. :ph34r:

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A Caliber is way too slow to be capable of inflicting that kind of damage anyway. :ph34r:

100% true.

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If she reported the previous accident, it will show on carfax or any of the reporting companies. I know this becasue when I had the wagon, I was accused of hit and run, about 20 miles away while I was at a car show. since it was reported to the police, even though I was cleared of the charges, it still showed on carfax as being in an accident. Be sure to tell this to your insurance companyif a claim is filed, they will be able to follow up on that. As far as your ticket, you may get it reduced, but chanced are its gonna stick. As long as you have a clean record, you dont have to worry to much about rate increases for a first time.

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Sorry to hear about your accident, ugh woman drivers. My wife did the exact same thing you did Devin. The woman in front of her failed to go when the light turned green. She bumped the car in front. Even though there was zero damage she called the police. The police actually sided with my wife, they told the other woman that when the light turns green you must accelerate within a reasonable amount of time or you are impeding the flow of traffic. There was a witness that stayed to talk to cop as well.

As far as ticket I would go talk to judge about it they might lower it, I had an issue years ago I fought and they reduced it for me.

Edited by mh488

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I think the less information you give to somebody the better. the police officer was correct in dismissing your friend, i don't think he could even be used as a witness because he is bias already. maybe not saying he was your friend the cop may have taken his statement. when you contacted the insurance company you might have opened a can of worms, their is no way the agent did not make a note on your file, even if she said what statement. I truely will say with my insurance company I trust then 100% and have fought for me through every claim. I just had a problem where I had to have one of my cars towed 64 miles and they only pay 50 miles. i mapquested the routes and the shortest distance was 50 miles but, the tow company went the fastest route for 64 miles and 49 dollars in charges. I called Amica and explained to them the tow company saved 3 minutes off the fastest route. two days later they called to tell me they are reversing the charges and i will have a check in the mail. I don't know if your company is as good as Amica but if she files you will find out very fast. Neck injuries is a tough subject, I once sneezed and blew out my back so it doesn;t take much.

lesson learned.

good luck

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I think the less information you give to somebody the better. the police officer was correct in dismissing your friend, i don't think he could even be used as a witness because he is bias already. maybe not saying he was your friend the cop may have taken his statement. when you contacted the insurance company you might have opened a can of worms, their is no way the agent did not make a note on your file, even if she said what statement. I truely will say with my insurance company I trust then 100% and have fought for me through every claim. I just had a problem where I had to have one of my cars towed 64 miles and they only pay 50 miles. i mapquested the routes and the shortest distance was 50 miles but, the tow company went the fastest route for 64 miles and 49 dollars in charges. I called Amica and explained to them the tow company saved 3 minutes off the fastest route. two days later they called to tell me they are reversing the charges and i will have a check in the mail. I don't know if your company is as good as Amica but if she files you will find out very fast. Neck injuries is a tough subject, I once sneezed and blew out my back so it doesn;t take much.

lesson learned.

good luck

Well, I never told the cop he was my friend, I said he was a witness. I just refer to him as my friend becuase, he is.

As for my insurance company, they never even got my name, so they had no way to link it to my account.

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