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IAmNiki



Joined: 15 Aug 2005
Posts: 1604
Location: North Smithfield, RI
Legal advice for car accidents?  Reply with quote  

So earlier tonight I was involved in a minor car accident, and since this is the first time that I've experienced this, I'm not really sure what to do legally.

Basically I was driving down a very busy street in Providence around 4pm, and there was stop and go traffic due to a few traffic lights, so I was only going about 20-25mph tops. As I'm slowly rolling down this incline, a guy in a parked black pickup truck on the right side of the road swings his driver's door open suddenly while I'm going by. Needless to say it was pretty unavoidable and he claims while he was opening the door he was turning to his son in the front seat and so he didn't see my car driving by. He was pretty cool about it and super apologetic, and offered to pay for all of the damages.

I took down his name, address, cell phone number, and the license plate of the truck, which he says is his father-in-laws. I kind of panicked not really knowing if I was somehow obligated to call the cops and report it, so I called, and when they showed up I basically just told the cop that we had exchanged information.. he asked me if we were comfortable with that, and he left. I didn't file any kind of official police report, as the guy was using his girlfriend's AAA to get us a free tow home and he expressed several times that he preferred not to get the insurance companies involved.

We got the car towed home, and shortly after the pick-up driver called us. The car is technically owned by my mother still, so we gave him her information, and he contacted her immediately after calling us -- she called me after and told me that he was a really nice seeming guy, and that he has some savings that he hopes will cover the damages in cash.

The reason I didn't file an official police report was A) I was under the impression that involving the police that deeply would probably obligate us to use our insurance companies, and he said that his girlfriend/fiance had been involved in two semi-recent accidents and so their premiums were already really high. The guy's aunt had died earlier that day and in my scattered brain state I felt guilty about insisting that the police get involved, so I didn't. B) I learned at the time of the accident that my registration was actually expired, and my gut instinct told me to avoid showing the cops that, though I don't know if it really would make any kind of difference.

My question is, should I still file an official report? I am going to have an estimate on the damages tomorrow, and I will give it to him then. If he does not give me a definite yes-or-no answer on paying the damages on his own, should i go ahead and file the accident report? Could it hurt my insurance (if I end up needing my insurance company to collect on the damages) if it shows that I hadn't filed any kind of official police report?

I don't want to ream this guy out of paranoia that my car somehow won't get repaired, but I want to do the smart thing too.. my car is not in drivable condition right now and I will need a vehicle sooner than later, so it's not like it can sit in my driveway while i save pennies to get it fixed one day. Anyone have any experience with this kind of thing? Here are pictures of the damages too. Any guesses how much a quote could be for something like this? The hood is damaged, obviously the side front of the car, side mirror completely ripped off, and some scuffs down the length of my car from his door dragging across it. Ugh what a night. Plus I had four dogs in my car. Luckily my mother came through like a champ.





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Post Tue Dec 22, 2009 10:46 pm
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dsodreams



Joined: 28 Jul 2008
Posts: 344
Location: Los Angeles
 Reply with quote  

Ok, ill need to know just one more piece of information. Were those dogs driving at the time of the accident?
Post Tue Dec 22, 2009 10:57 pm
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Sage Francis
Self Fighteous


Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21493
 Reply with quote  

First, it's good you have pictures.

However, if you have insurance and didn't call them then why do you have insurance? Get on that right away. We pay insurance companies ridiculous fees for moments like this. They need to help you work this out and make sure you get what you are owed from this guy.

If anyone here knows different then please speak up. But this is how I understand the situation.
Post Tue Dec 22, 2009 10:59 pm
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dsodreams



Joined: 28 Jul 2008
Posts: 344
Location: Los Angeles
 Reply with quote  

For real though. About the same thing happened to me last february. My car was totaled though, and looked about the same as yours. Maybe mine had some more damage along the side. It sounds like your unsure of this guy, and you have every right to be paranoid about making sure everything is taken care of.
Did you talk to the insurance company?
I didn't file a police report either when my car was smashed. I was thinking about matters the same as you were at the time of the accident.
You also wont want to wait too long to talk to your insurance company. Im pretty positive you dont need a police report to let your insurance take care of things. Twice now my cars been hit by people, and no police report on either. The deductible will be cost you, but is there a way to get around that?
Post Tue Dec 22, 2009 11:05 pm
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IAmNiki



Joined: 15 Aug 2005
Posts: 1604
Location: North Smithfield, RI
 Reply with quote  

I think it's possible that my car actually might be totaled if the repairs are super complicated or whatever. But I'm hoping that's really not the case.

Yeah, I kinda figured that about the insurance company. I need to call them tomorrow and find out about their policy regarding reporting accidents in general.. because I want to make sure this guy doesn't string me along with "i can pay.. not this week.. blah blah" and then bam, my window of opportunity to report it to the insurance company has passed me by and then I'll be really screwed. The only reason I am hesitant to call is the lack of police report and them being like "well we won't cover it since you didn't file a police report!" But if that doesn't seem to be the case, I'll call them after I call Pick-up driver tomorrow with the estimate. I think I'm mostly paranoid because at the time everything went down I was kind of on shock cruise control and now I've got this anxiety that I forgot some crucial thing and I'll be out of a car forever.
Post Tue Dec 22, 2009 11:22 pm
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Sage Francis
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Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21493
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If they need a police report then I guess you still have time to file one? And they can let you know that.

Maybe I missed it, but did you say whether he has insurance or not? If he does, you should have gotten his insurance info.

but yeah, I suppose the first step is calling the insurance company asap.
Post Tue Dec 22, 2009 11:25 pm
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IAmNiki



Joined: 15 Aug 2005
Posts: 1604
Location: North Smithfield, RI
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He does have insurance, he just said he preferred to settle it without them since his premiums were high to two semi-recent accidents that his fiance was involved in.

What would normally happen in this type of instance if he didn't have insurance? Would it be up to my insurance company to collect on those damages?
Post Tue Dec 22, 2009 11:31 pm
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Sage Francis
Self Fighteous


Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21493
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errrrrr.

Welp. If he doesn't have insurance and you're trying to do a random stranger a "solid" after he helped total your car, then I suppose you shouldn't call your insurance company. Instead, you may find yourself putting in a lot of work to get money out of a person who never ends up paying and you can chalk it up to charity. Maybe that will help you get into heaven. I wish I had a less cynical view.

My gut tells me that you need to get his insurance info and carry this out in a formal manner.
Post Tue Dec 22, 2009 11:33 pm
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futuristxen



Joined: 01 Jul 2002
Posts: 19356
Location: Tighten Your Bible Belt
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I just saw this, glad you're okay!

I would call your insurance company, they handle this kind of thing all day everyday. And I don't think you need a police report. If nothing else they can give you your options.
Post Tue Dec 22, 2009 11:37 pm
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IAmNiki



Joined: 15 Aug 2005
Posts: 1604
Location: North Smithfield, RI
 Reply with quote  

Yeah, that's pretty much what I figured. Tomorrow morning I'll get that information from him before I get the estimate in the afternoon. These situations are gross. Thanks for the sense talk.

Honestly no more than 30 minutes before this happened I was just telling my (human) passenger that I've never been in any kind of dangerous or moving car accident involving another person, and 'i don't plan on it.' what a crappy coincidence.
Post Tue Dec 22, 2009 11:44 pm
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mancabbage



Joined: 29 Jun 2005
Posts: 9208
Location: london
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nice dog
Post Wed Dec 23, 2009 12:12 am
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mortalthoughts
LAME KID


Joined: 12 Dec 2002
Posts: 11613
Location: MI
 Reply with quote  

is RI a no fault insurance state? meaning are you required to carry atleast no fault insurance....

if it is and the guy is willing to admit he is at fault then what your going to want to do is file a 'mini tort' claim

his insurance will cover up to x amount regardless of the damages
in michigan its $500 even if the damage is more(i was not found at faultl recently so theres no negative marks on my insurance)

its a really fucked up situation which depends a lot on state law

i went through all this recently and it wasnt fun
my bumper got fucked up on my truck which was almost 900 bucks for the factory replacement
since the guy that hit me didnt have full coverage i got cut a check for 500 even though it didnt cover the cost of the damage

i dont get it but thats what i got out of my experience
Post Wed Dec 23, 2009 1:01 am
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tommi teardrop



Joined: 12 Apr 2007
Posts: 2208
Location: Las Vegas
 Reply with quote  

If your car was just a little damaged, then the not using insurance thing would be an option. But your shit is fucked up. Just file a claim with his carrier and do a shitty station police report. It's not gonna do anything crucial, but you might as well. You get into these situation where people don't want to use insurance and they want to take it to their buddy frank, and you wanna get an estimate from your own guy and then you are waiting for him to pay it before it can get done. Meanwhile his or your own insurance might pay for a rental car while your shit is being fixed. Or maybe he changes up his story later and says it was your fault. You just never know.

Just use his insurance. God forbid your neck start hurting or the repairs on you car don't get completely fixed and then you never even filled out a report or filed a claim or anything. Just play it safe.

Unless dude is just offering insane amounts of cash or something, just file the claim.

Don't listen to that mortalthoughts post. This guy's insurance, if he has any, will be required to pay for all of the damage on your car. That is the entire point of requiring auto insurance.

If the dude doesn't have insurance, then you can use your own insurance, assuming you have your own car covered, which, if you are making payments, you certainly do.

If you have only liability and he has no insurance, then you are fucked. Try his insurance first. If they say his policy was inactive, then notify your own insurance.

And I wouldn't worry about your car not being registered. I've been in an accident when my license was suspended and the insurance companies never looked at that at all.
Post Wed Dec 23, 2009 1:12 am
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poisonfree



Joined: 23 Aug 2002
Posts: 1511
Location: Macramento
 Reply with quote  

Get the insurance company involved, Don't sign any papers until all that shit is fixed, It's his bad and his insurance is going to cover it.

He doesnt want the insurance company involved because he obviously caused a huge ammount of damage on your car, he is trying to play down the cost of the repairs/paint matching/time without you ride, which (Especially because it went along multiple panels) is going to be 3,000 USD+.
Post Wed Dec 23, 2009 1:47 am
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prolific memorie



Joined: 19 Apr 2009
Posts: 1412
Location: Pieces of my brain dripping from the wall i was leaning against,that the cleaning lady found first.
 Reply with quote  

Glad to see your still kickin! Insurance info is most definitely a must!
I hope the best for you!



mem
Post Wed Dec 23, 2009 2:14 am
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