Author Topic: Guy who rear-ended us has a "cousin" who can fix the car  (Read 8268 times)

Freedom2016

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Guy who rear-ended us has a "cousin" who can fix the car
« on: April 19, 2014, 08:24:39 PM »
A couple of weeks ago, we were rear-ended while in stop-and-go traffic. The guy admitted that he had been looking at his GPS at the time. His license plate bolts gouged the lower half of our bumper, leaving two 4" gashes.

We got the guy's phone # and insurance info, but haven't called his ins to file a claim - and it appears he hasn't called either. Hubby called the other day to tell him we plan to take the car in for an estimate. My thinking is, we give him the estimate and he can decide whether to pay us out-of-pocket, or go through his insurance co. Anyway, he tells hubs that he has a cousin who owns an auto body shop who could do the repair.

My first instinct is "hell, no!" (who is this yahoo? Is he really a mechanic? Is he any good? Does he have the right incentive to do a good job, or would he half-ass it? Etc.) but wanted to double check my reaction with you guys here. Is there any scenario in which letting his "cousin" fix the car would be a reasonable idea?

DH is a sympathetic person - more so than I - who might be inclined to run with this guy's offer, particularly if the guy begs off that he's too poor to pay us out of pocket for the damage. (I assume in that case we would initiate a claim through his ins. company.)

What would you do in our shoes?

« Last Edit: April 21, 2014, 11:53:44 PM by course11 »

obstinate

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Re: Guy who rear-ended us has a "cousin" who can fix the car
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2014, 08:32:07 PM »
A few thoughts.

Safest thing is to just require his insurance to pay.

If you don't care about the cosmetic aspect, there's no reason to worry too much about whether the repair is done perfectly. Especially if your car is as used as this blog suggests it be. However, that would represent a concession, and I'd say that the dude owes you some cash for the concession. Find out the difference between how much he's paying his cousin and the estimate, and ask for half that in cash.

If you're just really nice, you could take the cousin's work, or even just ignore the cosmetic damage.

CarDude

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Re: Guy who rear-ended us has a "cousin" who can fix the car
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2014, 08:45:32 PM »
Insurance, no question. What do you do when you agree to this guy's offer and he does nothing or makes the issues worse?

Argyle

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Re: Guy who rear-ended us has a "cousin" who can fix the car
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2014, 09:43:30 PM »
If the cousin's business is legit, maybe he's authorized to do work for the insurance company.  In which case you can go through the insurance company and the guy can work out his own deal with his cousin.

But I'd definitely go through the insurance company.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Guy who rear-ended us has a "cousin" who can fix the car
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2014, 09:56:32 PM »
I'm horribly paranoid, so I'd have called their insurance and my insurance that same day. I would not use anyone other than a trusted shop I was familiar with - not the cousin of the stranger that hit me.

I've been rear-ended at least half a dozen times (I commute in an area that is bad for assholes that like to speed and traffic that comes to abrupt stops). If it was actually cosmetic damage, I'd probably not fix it. That being said, you can't tell if it is ONLY cosmetic - hits to the bumper can cause internal parts to be crushed - clips and other crumple zones - that you wouldn't see or know to look for. If you've taken a hit and not had it looked at, then you're risking the failure of the bumper in a similar situation that could cause more damage than what you sustained this time. Get this checked out ASAP by a few places you either have heard of or get recommendations from the place you take your car for service.


adasafa

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Re: Guy who rear-ended us has a "cousin" who can fix the car
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2014, 10:03:05 PM »
My gut feeling is that you should go through insurance. That will maximize your chances of the work being done correctly.

IF you insist on dealing with the situation outside of insurance, I would HIGHLY recommend you repair the vehicle at a shop of your choice. That will ensure that the work is done correctly. Unless you are familiar with cars and body work, you will not know if this "cousin" will do the repairs correctly. He may do a half-a$$ job and/or use bondo, etc and you would not know...until an issue comes up later on (could be years later) and then you are the one who has to deal with it on your own.

If the other party agrees to your request of using your own shop preference, you will then run into the issue of having the guy actually pay for the repairs. A lot of time the body damage is deceiving. The shop may give you an original estimate only to find out that there is more hidden damage underneath the bumper than what was visible at first. This is VERY common. You will run into the issue of perhaps the other person agreeing to pay per the initial estimate, but then he may not want to pay for the extra damage that was uncovered. And you have to look at it from the other person's perspective as well...perhaps he feels that you and "your" shop is trying to screw him out of $$$ by finding "more" damage.

And that leads to the ultimate issue when private parties try to deal with accidents on their own: distrust. And it flows both ways. You obviously distrust the other person, even though he may be a saint. And I am positive the other party distrusts you as well, even though you sound like a great person.

So why not take the distrust out of the equation and deal with the insurance? That's my take on it.

Some other relevant details that you left out were what state the accident occurred? Do you have full coverage on your car (keep in mind in some states there is no negative effect for using your own coverage to repair your vehicle and some carriers will waive your deductible)? Do you already have the other person's insurance information so that if things go south you can contact his insurance without needing to first get the information from him?


Freedom2016

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Re: Guy who rear-ended us has a "cousin" who can fix the car
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2014, 12:33:59 AM »
Thanks, everyone! Seems like a pretty solid consensus on handling this through insurance.

Some other relevant details that you left out were what state the accident occurred? Do you have full coverage on your car (keep in mind in some states there is no negative effect for using your own coverage to repair your vehicle and some carriers will waive your deductible)? Do you already have the other person's insurance information so that if things go south you can contact his insurance without needing to first get the information from him?

Accident happened in CA. We have full coverage, though we're licensed and insured in MA where our permanent home is. We did call Geico when we (temporarily) moved to CA to let them know we would have our car out here for a spell, and they said that was fine, but there is some small part of me that worries they're going to hassle us if we file a claim.

We do have the other guys' insurance info - or at least, his parents' (he was driving their car at the time). We took a picture of his insurance card. I'd rather go through their insurance and not have Geico handle it via subrogation.

JT

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Re: Guy who rear-ended us has a "cousin" who can fix the car
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2014, 04:50:49 AM »
I'm with you, No Way / Nada / Not happening!

The cousin no doubt has closer ties with his cousin than you!  So the job might be compromised.

I would go through insurance.

But I don't live in the States so am not sure what your insurance system is like.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Guy who rear-ended us has a "cousin" who can fix the car
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2014, 05:09:04 AM »
I was in a similar situation, it did not work out well. Use your insurance - he hit you, his parent's insurance is responsible for the damage.  And yes, a small hit can do major damage (I was rear-ended in a parking lot, and the repair was major), so you need to get it fixed by a company you or your insurance company chooses.

Rural

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Re: Guy who rear-ended us has a "cousin" who can fix the car
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2014, 05:20:08 AM »
I've been in a similar situation, and after a great deal of hassle talking to the guy and trying to be nice, I did finally file through his insurance, which I had because of the accident report (you did call the police, right?) Didn't cost me anything but time to try to be nice, but the guy was a flake.

phred

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Re: Guy who rear-ended us has a "cousin" who can fix the car
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2014, 07:57:24 AM »
Drive by the auto body shop; is it quality or a dive?  Contact the Better Business Bureau to view any complaints.  Even real autobody people have relatives

socaso

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Re: Guy who rear-ended us has a "cousin" who can fix the car
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2014, 09:23:13 AM »
I wouldn't go through his cousin's auto shop without getting an estimate from one or two other places. The poster who mentioned that the damage might be more than cosmetic is correct. I had a similar situation, looked like a scratch but underneath there was more damage. I also wouldn't use the cousin's shop unless the location was extremely convenient for me. Why should you inconvenience yourselves?

DoubleDown

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Re: Guy who rear-ended us has a "cousin" who can fix the car
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2014, 10:25:19 AM »
Man, I must be way too trusting, because I would not rule out letting the guy's cousin fix it. I don't see any harm in letting him try, and if it's not done to your satisfaction, then hold him responsible for fixing it satisfactorily. You could discuss this up front, and even get it in writing. Then the cousin has incentive to do the job right. As long as this guy has demonstrated he is insured, I don't see why his insurance company would care either way. Whether they have to pay to fix it now, or after the cousin has tried but failed, I see no difference. Not everyone is a shyster, and there was a time when people would solve things on a handshake. Take pictures beforehand, and the job is not done well, it will be evident.

And look at it another way: If an MMM devotee who is really capable at body work rear-ended someone accidentally and in their DIY spirit of frugality asked to let them fix it rather than going to an overpriced body shop, wouldn't it be unfortunate to just be told, "Nah, I'm taking it to the overpriced body shop?"

tomsang

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Re: Guy who rear-ended us has a "cousin" who can fix the car
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2014, 11:23:11 AM »
Doubledown. I see your point but why take on risk with no reward. I am all for getting a few estimates and having the guy cut you a check for the damage, then repairing it yourself or leaving it if it is cosmetic. If he did damage that the OP feels warrants compensation, then I feel that getting the cash is the best route.

Cousin Vinnie may or may not know what he is doing and do more damage to the vehicle. That damage would probably fall under the OPs responsibility as they did not take it to a licensed and bonded shop. With that being said, others have hit me with minimal cosmetic damage and I left them off the hook as I hope others are reasonable for scratch type damage. Plus a few scratches adds character.

SnackDog

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Re: Guy who rear-ended us has a "cousin" who can fix the car
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2014, 01:54:41 PM »
So his cousin can "rear-end" you as well?  Run away!

Cpa Cat

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Re: Guy who rear-ended us has a "cousin" who can fix the car
« Reply #15 on: April 20, 2014, 02:14:02 PM »
Man, I must be way too trusting, because I would not rule out letting the guy's cousin fix it.

I must be too trusting too. If it were mechanical, then that's different. But bumper damage? Eh... I don't see the issue. Either it's going to look good or it won't. And if doesn't, you can sue or go through insurance.

But these other people are kind of right - what's the point of risking it? Why put yourself out for this guy when you could just go through insurance?

Now if you didn't want to get it fixed, I could see settling for some kind of cash compromise.

That said - I did go through this recently. The girl asked me to go get an estimate for minor bumper damage and she'd pay out of pocket. No problem, right? Until the estimate came back at over $1000 bucks. I was flabbergasted. It was outrageous, and I totally would have let Cousin Vinny give it a shot if he'd existed. But I ended up settling with her, she gave me some cash and I never fixed it. BUT - it was a hassle. I had to chase her for it. Which was annoying, since I was doing her the favor.

dragoncar

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Re: Guy who rear-ended us has a "cousin" who can fix the car
« Reply #16 on: April 20, 2014, 02:21:42 PM »
I'm really surprised by the insurance consensus.  Damage seems minor and I'd probably just let it go instead of driving up my insurance premiums (yes any claim you make, even when not at fault to another ins company, will go into your insurability score across a wide variety of products.  Not saying your auto ins will definitely go up but be careful.  Even calling your ins company to inquire could have negative impact.  Do your own research here).

I would find out who the cousin is and see if they are qualified to do the cosmetic repair.  If probably choose that if it's just filling in some small holes and touch up painting.

Was it just cosmetic? 

Milspecstache

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Re: Guy who rear-ended us has a "cousin" who can fix the car
« Reply #17 on: April 20, 2014, 04:20:07 PM »
If this is a MMM car (old, beater, or at least with those in mind as a goal) then I would get the damage appraised, ask him for the money, and then pocket the money.  By considering the damage as road-rash you just realized a profit/reduced your investment in your car.

However, if you are like my friends (non-MMM) and love the newish car-look, untainted by things like road rash, then you probably need to get it fixed at the most reliable body shop possible, insisting on things like OEM parts.

Primm

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Re: Guy who rear-ended us has a "cousin" who can fix the car
« Reply #18 on: April 20, 2014, 09:12:21 PM »
On the other side of the fence, a guy suddenly stopped in front of me today resulting in the following damage. Sigh. I apologized and would have gladly paid, but he was belligerent, thought I was trying to get out of it, and called the police, so I would get cited.

With that numberplate he was probably high on 'roids.

Rube

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Re: Guy who rear-ended us has a "cousin" who can fix the car
« Reply #19 on: April 20, 2014, 09:15:51 PM »
Get an estimate with the cousin, then if it feels right have the repair done there and the cousin can choose whether or not to get reimbursement from the insured's carrier. But that would guarantee that the job is done correctly.

You can get an estimate at a second place but you will find that this type of body repair is pretty uniform. It's a fill and sand. The price will likely be identical wherever you go. The difference is how well they can paint match and blend with the surrounding areas. A few colors are more difficult. Silver is probably the worst as I once found out.

Some interesting comments here regarding how insurance works. You have a liability claim with the owner of the other vehicle, not their insurance company so unless your state has some law on the books, you are free to choose your repair shop. Also since you were hit from behind, the other party's insurance company is not likely to contest the liability even in a comparative negligence state and there probably isn't a mechanism in your policy to cause an increased premium on that type of loss. The exception is if you are in a no fault state and you sustain an injury of some sort, YOUR no fault policy would cover up to some set dollar amount like $20,000.  Again I don't believe there's a mechanism that would cause your premiums to rise. Otherwise people wouldn't seek medical attention after being injured.

mlipps

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Re: Guy who rear-ended us has a "cousin" who can fix the car
« Reply #20 on: April 20, 2014, 09:41:22 PM »
On the other side of the fence, a guy suddenly stopped in front of me today resulting in the following damage. Sigh. I apologized and would have gladly paid, but he was belligerent, thought I was trying to get out of it, and called the police, so I would get cited.

I would have done the same thing as he did. Classy move posting his license plate...

Workinghard

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Re: Guy who rear-ended us has a "cousin" who can fix the car
« Reply #21 on: April 21, 2014, 02:53:38 AM »
I am so sorry and didn't even think about the license plate number, mlipps. I deleted the post. Thanks for pointing it out.

Freedom2016

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Re: Guy who rear-ended us has a "cousin" who can fix the car
« Reply #22 on: April 21, 2014, 11:52:41 PM »
Thank you everyone for all the input!

I *think* the damage is only cosmetic. The worst of the gauges has left a 1/4" deep 'wound' on the bumper. The (silver) (someone asked) car is an '07 that we paid cash for last year, and plan to drive for a long time to come. I don't need to have a perfect car but some part of me is annoyed at how visible this particular damage is. We didn't file a police report (baby brain oversight?) which might affect how insurance would view the situation.

In any event, hubby is taking the lead on handling the situation so I'll show him this thread when he gets back from his out-of-town trip.


GoldenStache

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Re: Guy who rear-ended us has a "cousin" who can fix the car
« Reply #23 on: April 23, 2014, 08:29:12 AM »
Insurance side note:

If he works on the car before insurance elvauates it, your chance of a claim are almost zero.  So if he ends up putting purple filling in the crack on your silver car you are stuck with it. 

T-Rex

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Re: Guy who rear-ended us has a "cousin" who can fix the car
« Reply #24 on: April 23, 2014, 08:48:15 AM »
I got rear ended by a guy and he paid cash for repairs after I got it assessed, everything went smoothly with nobody else involved.

Also, one time a military spouse crashed into my car because she was trying to avoid getting hit by an erratic driver that sped away into the distance. I wasn't mad about getting hit, since I saw what happened. I thought everything would go smoothly. However... after we exchanged info, she called the insurance company and lied saying I crashed into her! I refused to pay for her repairs and eventually she gave up, but we had the same insurance company and it was one of the most unpleasant things I can remember!

So, I lean toward settling things outside insurance!