Author Topic: Car Accident - Fault?  (Read 9087 times)

Credaholic

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 223
  • Location: Seattle
    • Credaholic
Car Accident - Fault?
« on: April 27, 2015, 11:45:55 AM »
Hey Mustachians, need some advice. On Friday we were leaving town for a weekend away, stuck in some bad traffic. The car in front of me stopped, I stopped behind it, and then the guy behind me hit us pushing me into the car in front of me. It wasn't a huge accident, barely even a fender "bender". The car that hit me had very little damage, mainly his license plate impacted my bumper. My back bumper will probably need replacing, front is a tiny bit scuffed, and the car in front of me looked fine at the accident, but she contacted me that it is actually cracked.

The guy who hit us didn't have his insurance info on him, but assured the officer that he has insurance. The officer instructed him to contact us all with it as soon as possible. His sister in law then called me (english is his second language) and asked if we could settle it without insurance. I said I'd think about it, and let her know today that I didn't think that was a good idea since the car in front of me was also damaged and even though everything looked pretty small, it sounds like repairs might get pretty pricey. The person I was pushed into also said that in a 3 car accident she didn't think we could even settle outside of insurance since her insurance would contact mine, and then mine would have to go after his.

Has anyone else been the middle car in an accident like this? I asked the sister in law for the insurance info and she said she'd get it to me (didn't have it on her when we talked) and then afterwards she texted me to ask for my insurance info. He already has mine and the car in front of us, his was the only one missing from the officer's report. I wasn't worried about it before that, but now I'm worrying that she might be trying to hold me accountable. How do they determine fault?

Murse

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 542
Re: Car Accident - Fault?
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2015, 12:02:21 PM »
I have no reason to think my sources are good but I was always told if you rear ended someone it was always your fault because you should always be far enough behind someone that if you are hit, you will not hit whoever is in front of you. Good luck.

Credaholic

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 223
  • Location: Seattle
    • Credaholic
Re: Car Accident - Fault?
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2015, 12:12:30 PM »
I have no reason to think my sources are good but I was always told if you rear ended someone it was always your fault because you should always be far enough behind someone that if you are hit, you will not hit whoever is in front of you. Good luck.

I've heard that too, but I think it might be a bit of an urban legend. Reading online this morning it doesn't seem to be the case, unless someone can prove that the middle car hit first thus causing them to hit you. Hoping some people can answer from experience. I believe the woman in front of me would confirm that the back car caused the accident, not me hitting her, but then how would she really know? Me and my passengers are the only ones who really know, and I don't know if we count as credible witnesses. The one thing I read online is that it can often be evident from the damage, and certainly my back bumper was the most damaged, and hers wasn't visibly damaged at all. I didn't hit her hard at all, so I think the evidence shows he hit me first, but I'm afraid I'm going to get screwed here.

The officer also didn't ask us about the accident at all, didn't issue any citations, just printed out all of our information (after running ALL of our IDs, passengers included) and gave us all copies. He did say that if the back guy didn't contact him within 48 hours with the insurance info, he'd issue a citation for driving without insurance.

dycker1978

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 768
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Re: Car Accident - Fault?
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2015, 12:15:18 PM »
I was in an accident similar to this in 1998.  I was the middle car, and was rear ended and pushed into the car in front of me.  The damage was way more sever, two of the three cars were total losses, but the person that hit me was responsible for all of the damages to all of the vehicles(his insurance was anyways).

If the police were involved, I would think that there report would be enough for the insurance people.

Tami1982

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1016
Re: Car Accident - Fault?
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2015, 12:29:21 PM »
I was in an accident similar to this in 1998.  I was the middle car, and was rear ended and pushed into the car in front of me.  The damage was way more sever, two of the three cars were total losses, but the person that hit me was responsible for all of the damages to all of the vehicles(his insurance was anyways).

If the police were involved, I would think that there report would be enough for the insurance people.

I had the same happy.  I was at a stop, and then pushed into the car in front of me.  Was the person who forced all of us into each other's fault. (I had also heard the urban legend of if you are behind you are at fault.)

Retire-Canada

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6742
Re: Car Accident - Fault?
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2015, 01:40:12 PM »
I have no reason to think my sources are good but I was always told if you rear ended someone it was always your fault because you should always be far enough behind someone that if you are hit, you will not hit whoever is in front of you. Good luck.

That rule of thumb does not anticipate being plowed into from behind by a 3rd car.

The guy who started the chain reaction will likely end up paying for all this once it get's sorted out.

Given that you have 3 cars involved I'd skip trying to settle out of the insurance process. Your insurance company employs experts who will determine how to get this resolved call them.

The guy who caused the accident always has the option to pay for the damages cash even if his insurance company is involved and that accident won't go on this claims record.

-- Vik

Credaholic

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 223
  • Location: Seattle
    • Credaholic
Re: Car Accident - Fault?
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2015, 01:57:59 PM »
The guy who caused the accident always has the option to pay for the damages cash even if his insurance company is involved and that accident won't go on this claims record.

-- Vik

Interesting, I didn't know that! I'm a little concerned that the car may be insured but the driver not insured. I'm still patiently waiting on insurance info. I have called my insurance provider, and I'm waiting on a call back from an adjuster. I guess Monday is a busy day for adjusters.

jackiechiles2

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 124
Re: Car Accident - Fault?
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2015, 02:25:12 PM »
Happened to me a couple of years back.  Guy who hit me was at fault.  Lady in front of me had some minor damage to her car.  At the time I was driving a 2001 Saturn SL1.  Since I wasn't driving it for the looks, I took the money for the damage to the car and drove it for another 4 years without getting it fixed.

Blonde Lawyer

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 734
    • My Student Loan Refi Story
Re: Car Accident - Fault?
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2015, 04:06:45 PM »
Happened to me a couple of years back.  Guy who hit me was at fault.  Lady in front of me had some minor damage to her car.  At the time I was driving a 2001 Saturn SL1.  Since I wasn't driving it for the looks, I took the money for the damage to the car and drove it for another 4 years without getting it fixed.

You make me miss my 2001 Saturn SL.  I loved that car.  It was a standard too. 

JLee

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5601
Re: Car Accident - Fault?
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2015, 04:21:53 PM »
I have no reason to think my sources are good but I was always told if you rear ended someone it was always your fault because you should always be far enough behind someone that if you are hit, you will not hit whoever is in front of you. Good luck.

That rule of thumb does not anticipate being plowed into from behind by a 3rd car.

The guy who started the chain reaction will likely end up paying for all this once it get's sorted out.

Given that you have 3 cars involved I'd skip trying to settle out of the insurance process. Your insurance company employs experts who will determine how to get this resolved call them.

The guy who caused the accident always has the option to pay for the damages cash even if his insurance company is involved and that accident won't go on this claims record.

-- Vik

I concur. I would not complicate it by settling outside of insurance and dealing with the risk of non-payment, bad checks, unexpected expenses, etc. There may be some damage you don't know about yet as well (example, cracked bumper in the front car that appeared fine at a cursory glance).

southern granny

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 534
Re: Car Accident - Fault?
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2015, 07:19:51 PM »
I have no reason to think my sources are good but I was always told if you rear ended someone it was always your fault because you should always be far enough behind someone that if you are hit, you will not hit whoever is in front of you. Good luck.

same with me.  It hasn't happened to me, but I have always heard that if you hit someone in the back it is your fault .  I was once in a wreck where the light turned green and I went through the intersection and hit a car that was running the light.  They said that I could be considered partially at fault because I didn't make sure that everyone was going to stop before I entered the intersection.  The girl didn't even have a drivers license so they didn't pursue it. 

Credaholic

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 223
  • Location: Seattle
    • Credaholic
Re: Car Accident - Fault?
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2015, 10:57:40 PM »
I concur. I would not complicate it by settling outside of insurance and dealing with the risk of non-payment, bad checks, unexpected expenses, etc. There may be some damage you don't know about yet as well (example, cracked bumper in the front car that appeared fine at a cursory glance).

This was exactly my thought process, and so I said no. The claims adjuster said we would proceed as if he was uninsured since he hadn't gotten me the info yet. This costs me a $100 uninsured deductible with the rest covered by insurance, and then they go after the uninsured through collections or something, and report it to authorities so that his license will be suspended. I asked if it would impact my rates at all and she said no, since I'm not at fault it will have no impact even if they pay for it through my uninsured coverage. She barely asked me any questions about the accident, I just told her we were on the freeway in stop and go traffic, car in front of me stopped, I stopped, car behind me hit me and pushed me into the car in front. So I think it must be a pretty cut and dry situation that the back car is the one at fault.

And it turns out she was smart to start the process as uninsured, because I found out this afternoon that he is in fact uninsured. He "feels bad" and would like to offer me $350.00 :-|

I'm a red panda

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8011
  • Location: United States
Re: Car Accident - Fault?
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2015, 07:18:06 AM »
I was in a 3 car accident (front car)- and was hit twice.  The insurance insisted that since I was hit twice that meant the middle car hit me first, then the back car hit them.  Middle car gave statement to police that she got hit and then hit me.  Rear car gave statement to police that she hit middle car after middle car was already stopped.  I had no idea what happened, just that I got hit twice.

Because only the back car was ticketed by police, and they pleaded guilty and paid the ticket, once we went for settlement (despite minor car damage, which was easy to recover from the insurance company, I had a lot of medical bills that I had to fight to get paid), middle car was left out of it entirely.

(And I've since played with cars in a physics lab that show easily how I was hit twice with the back car being the one to cause the accident. It's because I hit my brakes after the first hit. Which prevented me from hitting the car in front of me.)

So, my thought in this rambling- it is very possible for the middle car to not be at fault.

What does the police report say? Who got ticketed?

JLee

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5601
Re: Car Accident - Fault?
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2015, 07:22:48 AM »
I concur. I would not complicate it by settling outside of insurance and dealing with the risk of non-payment, bad checks, unexpected expenses, etc. There may be some damage you don't know about yet as well (example, cracked bumper in the front car that appeared fine at a cursory glance).

This was exactly my thought process, and so I said no. The claims adjuster said we would proceed as if he was uninsured since he hadn't gotten me the info yet. This costs me a $100 uninsured deductible with the rest covered by insurance, and then they go after the uninsured through collections or something, and report it to authorities so that his license will be suspended. I asked if it would impact my rates at all and she said no, since I'm not at fault it will have no impact even if they pay for it through my uninsured coverage. She barely asked me any questions about the accident, I just told her we were on the freeway in stop and go traffic, car in front of me stopped, I stopped, car behind me hit me and pushed me into the car in front. So I think it must be a pretty cut and dry situation that the back car is the one at fault.

And it turns out she was smart to start the process as uninsured, because I found out this afternoon that he is in fact uninsured. He "feels bad" and would like to offer me $350.00 :-|
This is my "not surprised" face. :)

efish

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Re: Car Accident - Fault?
« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2015, 01:43:12 PM »
I was in a 4 car accident, four days after I got my drivers license. I was the #2 car in a line of 4. We were going up a steep hill and the old junker in front of me suddenly stopped in a place where stopping would not have been expected. I stopped in time, the sports car behind me stopped in time, but then a big SUV came up behind and didn't stop. They hit the sportscar, which hit me, and pushed me into the car in front of me. We all got out of our cars. The sports car looked like hell, because most of the paint popped off its fiberglass body. The guy in the junker took one look at his back bumper, decided it was okay, got back in his car and left without giving anyone his insurance info. My car looked okay, and I was too rattled and inexperienced to realize both of my bumpers were probably damaged, so I gave my insurance info to the girl in the sportscar as a witness (but didn't get hers, or the guy in the SUV's), and I left too. An hour later, after calling my fiancée and discussing the situation I called our insurance company, explained the situation and was able to give the date, time, place and a description of the cars involved. My bumpers did turn out to be damaged and, thankfully, our insurance company was able to sort the situation out.

As far as I know, it all got put on the guy at the back of the line in the SUV. Maybe it would have been different if the guy in the first car had wanted money, but since he took off there wasn't anyone around claiming to have been hit by me.

Cookie78

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1893
  • Location: Canada
Re: Car Accident - Fault?
« Reply #15 on: April 28, 2015, 02:08:11 PM »
This happened to me once (middle car). The front car drove away after I hit them when the light turned green. Me and the rear car pulled off the dark icy crowded road where it was safe. Insurance asked me if I was already stopped when I was hit (yes) and the rear car was responsible for damage to both my front and rear bumpers. The autobody shop said that it was unusual and that usually there are two claims involved for accidents like that. I assumed if I hadn't been already stopped I would have been responsible for hitting the person in front of me.


I'm a red panda

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8011
  • Location: United States
Re: Car Accident - Fault?
« Reply #16 on: April 28, 2015, 02:18:34 PM »
My car looked okay, and I was too rattled and inexperienced to realize both of my bumpers were probably damaged,

I'm really sad, but the lesson I learned from my accident was to always take the ambulance, no matter how much you think you are okay.  I had to fight to get coverage and it was absolutely ridiculous. I felt fine to drive to the hospital (just in pain, but cognizant), drove to the hospital fine and then they found problems.

I've always known to get a police report (though when I was young I waved off an accident where I only had minor damage to the car because I didn't want my parents to know...), but knowing that if I wasted public resources on an ambulance I would have had an easier battle just makes me mad.

BlueHouse

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3096
  • Location: WDC
Re: Car Accident - Fault?
« Reply #17 on: April 28, 2015, 02:26:06 PM »
I was in a 3 car accident (front car)- and was hit twice.  The insurance insisted that since I was hit twice that meant the middle car hit me first, then the back car hit them.  Middle car gave statement to police that she got hit and then hit me.  Rear car gave statement to police that she hit middle car after middle car was already stopped.  I had no idea what happened, just that I got hit twice.

Because only the back car was ticketed by police, and they pleaded guilty and paid the ticket, once we went for settlement (despite minor car damage, which was easy to recover from the insurance company, I had a lot of medical bills that I had to fight to get paid), middle car was left out of it entirely.

(And I've since played with cars in a physics lab that show easily how I was hit twice with the back car being the one to cause the accident. It's because I hit my brakes after the first hit. Which prevented me from hitting the car in front of me.)

So, my thought in this rambling- it is very possible for the middle car to not be at fault.

What does the police report say? Who got ticketed?
yup, this same thing happened to 3 cars where I work.  The guy in the front of the line was asked how many times he was hit and that was how the police determined fault. Because the guy in the front only felt one bump, it was determined that Car #3 was at fault.

AH013

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 272
Re: Car Accident - Fault?
« Reply #18 on: April 29, 2015, 01:19:58 PM »
I have no reason to think my sources are good but I was always told if you rear ended someone it was always your fault because you should always be far enough behind someone that if you are hit, you will not hit whoever is in front of you. Good luck.

That's not accurate.  Ask your source what's the appropriate amount of distance to keep between you and the car in front of you to avoid hitting them in the event you are rear-ended by a semi going 45 mph that didn't notice a red light?

You are however put in a position of disadvantage though when you are caused to hit the driver in front of you.  Ordinarily front car sues the person behind them for the damages to their car, they sue the guy behind them, and so on until there are no more cars behind them (who is the person left holding the proverbial "bag").  You'd be relying on the driver that hit you admitting that you were completely stopped, and the driver you hit to admit they felt "#cars -2" hits indicating you hadn't impacted them of your own accord, which then shifts the fault back to them.  Otherwise you could be listed as at fault for the person in front of you, same as if you failed to stop in time and hit the driver in front of you, and then your car was hit by the driver behind.

I'm a little concerned that the car may be insured but the driver not insured.

That would have been irrelevant.  Infrequent driver rule applies and extends coverage to the driver if the owner has coverage.  The owner's insurance (collision & liability) extends to any driver they allow to drive the car, even if they are not named in the policy and are not otherwise covered by another policy.

As always, lesson of the day is dashcams people!  The only memory that's foolproof in a court of law is measured in GBs.  Glad it worked out somewhat okay.  Hopefully the back guy gets slapped with a citation plus hopefully a misdemeanor for giving a false statement to a police officer.  I absolutely loathe people who feel entitled to drive without insurance, shifting their costs onto every other legal driver when they inevitably f-up.  If you don't have insurance, you aren't responsible enough or don't have enough money to be able to drive a car....$350?  Where was that money when the auto insurance renewable bill came around? /rant

I'm a red panda

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8011
  • Location: United States
Re: Car Accident - Fault?
« Reply #19 on: April 29, 2015, 01:48:59 PM »
Quote
As always, lesson of the day is dashcams people!

How does that help?  Wouldn't you also need a camera that shows whether or not you pressed the gas pedal before the crash? Just because you were stopped doesn't mean you stayed stopped.

jackiechiles2

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 124
Re: Car Accident - Fault?
« Reply #20 on: April 29, 2015, 02:18:59 PM »
Happened to me a couple of years back.  Guy who hit me was at fault.  Lady in front of me had some minor damage to her car.  At the time I was driving a 2001 Saturn SL1.  Since I wasn't driving it for the looks, I took the money for the damage to the car and drove it for another 4 years without getting it fixed.

You make me miss my 2001 Saturn SL.  I loved that car.  It was a standard too.

I know!  I had mine for 10 years, never left me stranded.  Only thing I ever had to fix on it was the alternator and the engine mount.  Total repair cost over 10 years=$380.  Plus the thing got 34 mpg. 

My wife hated the car though. It was too small, too loud, and felt too cheap.  I still regret trading it in. 

AH013

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 272
Re: Car Accident - Fault?
« Reply #21 on: April 29, 2015, 03:05:33 PM »
Quote
As always, lesson of the day is dashcams people!

How does that help?  Wouldn't you also need a camera that shows whether or not you pressed the gas pedal before the crash? Just because you were stopped doesn't mean you stayed stopped.

Not really.

Visually the impact from the hit would shake your car, and would be noticeable on the video that your car violently shook as it accelerated from a dead stop.

Plus physics, if your car was originally stopped dead 5-10 ft behind another car it wouldn't be physically possible to accelerate to a high mph impact with that short of a distance to accelerate without some outside force.

Plus plausibility, what would the rear driver argue "No honest officer, they WERE completely stopped, but then all the sudden for no discernible reason they just stomped on the gas and floored it right into the car they slammed on the brakes seconds earlier to avoid hitting, JUST BEFORE I crashed into them..."  Uh-huh....so...before I go ahead and file this report, bearing in mind filing a false police report carries with it a sentence of a year in jail, is there any part of that statement you wish to...revise?

Retire-Canada

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6742
Re: Car Accident - Fault?
« Reply #22 on: April 29, 2015, 03:26:08 PM »
That's not accurate.  Ask your source what's the appropriate amount of distance to keep between you and the car in front of you to avoid hitting them in the event you are rear-ended by a semi going 45 mph that didn't notice a red light?

Thank you. You have restored my faith in humanity.

I needed some common sense and logic right about now.

-- Vik