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  #1  
Old 09-03-2011, 11:02 AM
Win Place Show Win Place Show is offline
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fender-bender w/ some visible damage and no injuries - do you still call the cops out?

this is a "hypothetical", and not a "need answer fast" (knock on wood)

Suppose you are involved in a relatively minor fender-bender, where there's visible body damage to one (or both) vehicles, but no one is significantly injured. Are you still supposed to call the cops out, or are the two of you just supposed to exchange insurance info after you clear the intersection, and then move it along?

For some reason I thought I heard that (at least in Texas), the cops wouldn't even respond unless there was an injury. This could have been just a "friend of a friend of a friend told me" anecdote (or maybe something I simply dreamed up).

But suppose the scenario involved a situation where the other guy was definitely at fault (i.e. he changed lanes without looking), but you have no way of proving that later on, without having the cops come out and fill out a report. What's to keep that guy from a couple days later, telling his insurance company "I don't know what they're talking about - he swerved into me", and therefore opening up a whole new can of worms?
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  #2  
Old 09-03-2011, 11:09 AM
Mosier Mosier is offline
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I was always told to get a police report taken for any vehicle accident. If I was certainly the at fault party and the other person didn't mind just exchanging info and being on our way, I might consider not calling the police. I'd certainly call them if the other driver was at fault though.
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  #3  
Old 09-03-2011, 11:16 AM
EmAnJ EmAnJ is offline
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Here (in Alberta), you generally don't call the cops unless it's more then a few thousand dollars of damage or someone is injured. You always go fill out a police report later on in the day or the next day (you'll need it for insurance) and take lots and lots of pictures.

However, we have been screwed twice now with minor accidents that were the fault of the other party and when it came down to it, it was their word against ours, no one had taken pictures, and it was all up to the interpretation of the adjuster. In both cases, we ended up being partly at fault. In one of those cases, there was no way we had any fault in it (the other was in a parking lot, so I can understand how they came to their decision even though we weren't moving when it happened) but the other party lied on their police report. So, from now on, we will be calling the police to protect ourselves.

Make sure you get witnesses if you do decide to not call the police.
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  #4  
Old 09-03-2011, 11:17 AM
Joey P Joey P is offline
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I've been yelled at on this board for my answer before, but I still hold to it. I will always call the cops for an accident, even on private property. Even if no one is going to be ticketed, I still want an official report taken. It's saved my ass in the past (in a Best Buy parking lot). Someone backed into my car. I called the cops who took a report, but didn't issue a ticket. The other person later tried to say that I was the one who backed into him. Without the report and witness statements I would have been SOL on the $800 dent in the side of my car.

Also, a few years back one of my employees got into a fender bender in which the other person ran a stop sign, no major damage, they shook hands and walked away. A few days later she got a letter from his lawyer that he was suing her for damage to his car and some injuries. He claimed that SHE ran the stop sign. He flipped which direction the two of them had approached the intersection from. If an officer had been around to take a report, the chances of that happening would have been much lower.

Last edited by Joey P; 09-03-2011 at 11:19 AM..
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  #5  
Old 09-03-2011, 11:26 AM
Win Place Show Win Place Show is offline
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Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
Also, a few years back one of my employees got into a fender bender in which the other person ran a stop sign, no major damage, they shook hands and walked away. A few days later she got a letter from his lawyer that he was suing her for damage to his car and some injuries. He claimed that SHE ran the stop sign. He flipped which direction the two of them had approached the intersection from. If an officer had been around to take a report, the chances of that happening would have been much lower.
see, this sort of scenario is what scares the shit out of me (and I wish I had more faith in mankind, but I'm approaching my 40's so that's becoming more and more difficult). This is the exact reason I asked the question in the first place - and I do like EmAnJ's idea about taking a shitload of pictures, and then just voluntarily going down and filling out a police report (this idea would have never popped into my head).

Thanks for the feedback, you guys.
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  #6  
Old 09-03-2011, 11:37 AM
Dr. Drake Dr. Drake is offline
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I had a similar experience. A car essentially staged an accident (stopped at a green light on a fast road at dusk downslope, where the green light could be seen from far away but the car, no lights on, could not).

I braked and swerved heroically, but I clipped their taillight at about 510 mph. They sued me for damages, and the CA DMV suspended my license for not reporting my insurance in an accident with more than $500 damage. (The actual damage was about $25, but the DMV wasn't willing to take my word.) Fortunately, the police report vindicated me.

Coda: the DMV neither apologized nor revoked the suspension. They suspended the investigation on my appeal, but never closed the file. They were next to impossible to deal with, and without the police report it would have been actively impossible.
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  #7  
Old 09-03-2011, 11:41 AM
EmAnJ EmAnJ is offline
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If you do just take pictures and file a report later, take pictures before the vehicles are moved, from all angles (as long as it's safe).

But yeah, people are dishonest assholes. In the second case where it was clearly the other person's fault, the driver was a 70-ish year old woman, so we trusted her. Then she started lying about the whole accident and screwed us over, we think in part because she's worried about having her license taken away or her husband getting angry at her or something. Either way, an accident that should have been 100% her fault was found 50/50, and we had to fight for even that.
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  #8  
Old 09-03-2011, 11:44 AM
AClockworkMelon AClockworkMelon is offline
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For those of you recommending calling the cops: You used the emergency number I'm assuming? All these stories are making me paranoid and I'm wondering which number I should use if I ever get in an accident!
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  #9  
Old 09-03-2011, 11:49 AM
EmAnJ EmAnJ is offline
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Originally Posted by AClockworkMelon View Post
For those of you recommending calling the cops: You used the emergency number I'm assuming? All these stories are making me paranoid and I'm wondering which number I should use if I ever get in an accident!
No, non-emergency, unless there are injuries.
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  #10  
Old 09-03-2011, 11:49 AM
Cicero Cicero is offline
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Here, the police won't come for a a minor accident. Get all names- especially witnesses- and ensure you get the name from an identity document- not the name the driver tells you.
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  #11  
Old 09-03-2011, 11:53 AM
Mosier Mosier is offline
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Originally Posted by AClockworkMelon View Post
For those of you recommending calling the cops: You used the emergency number I'm assuming? All these stories are making me paranoid and I'm wondering which number I should use if I ever get in an accident!
I used the non-emergency number when I called to report my accident. The damage was finished, nobody was hurt, the vehicles weren't a safety hazard, and there wasn't an actual emergency. All I cared about was that a police officer came to file a report, and I ended up waiting an hour or so. The dispatcher instructed me to move the vehicles off the road and wait for the officer, and the other driver and I had a decent chat while we waited. He was annoyed that I called the police, but he understood why. He was pulling left out of a parking lot onto a busy road, and apparently didn't see me in the lane he wanted to occupy.
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  #12  
Old 09-03-2011, 12:19 PM
CookingWithGas CookingWithGas is offline
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I was rear-ended a few years ago in Virginia, stopped, did all the license/registration stuff. Then my insurance company asked for a copy of the police report. I hadn't called the police because both cars were still drivable and there was no injury, and they told me I should always get a police report.

However, once in Dearborn, Mich., I returned to my car in a parking lot to find the passenger side completely smashed in by a hit & run. There was a note on the windshield by a witness who got the license number. I called the police and they said that they would tell me who the car is registered to but would not otherwise get involved. They would not come to the site of the accident or write a report.

Bottom line is call, get them to come out if they will.
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  #13  
Old 09-03-2011, 12:48 PM
EenaSheeshton EenaSheeshton is offline
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I would, my ex got into a fender bender and they agreed not to report hit. The lady that hit him promptly went to the police station and said, he hit her can and didn't stop.

It was a big mess, no charges, but it took a long time for insurance to settle a minor scrape and he got dropped by his insurance company
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  #14  
Old 09-03-2011, 01:08 PM
Joey P Joey P is offline
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Here's something else interesting. Many years ago, I was at a stop light, someone to my left was attempting to make a left from one parking lot into the next one over. So, in effect, they were going to travel down the street in the wrong direction for about 10 feet and pull back into the next lot. They made their turn to wide and clipped my car. I called the cops, the dispatcher said she would send someone right over. I saw the other person in the lot, apparently waiting. I was comfortable putting my flashers on and leaving my car right where it was. After about 20 minutes the other car left. I called again, they told me the officer would be right there. When he finally showed up, he took my statement (I had their plate number) and they wound up with a ticket for a hit and run on top of anything else he received for hitting me. (The cops didn't track him down until later the next day and he didn't report the accident himself).

So there's another good reason. Call the cops just to make sure the other person doesn't call them and report you for fleeing the scene of an accident. Yes, in my case, we never made contact. But even if you did talk to the other person there's still no reason why they couldn't still call the cops and say you took off. Even witness who could see the two of you (but not hear what you said) may back up the story.
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  #15  
Old 09-03-2011, 01:30 PM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
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Every state's DMV has different rules.

Arkansas is a $1000 and no injuries. Anything less I absolutely would not report. I'd pay to fix my car and keep it off my insurance. They'll raise your rates if you have an accident.
Quote:
Safety Responsibility SR-1 accident report must be submitted within thirty (30) days when damage to the property of any one person is in excess of $1,000.00 or results in the injury or death of any person regardless of who is at fault. Contact Safety Responsibility at 501-682-7098.

To show financial responsiblity for your vehicle after an accident you will be required to furnish:

An SR-21 proof of liability insurance in force form filled out by your insurance company.
A deposit of security as tabulated by this office.
A written release of liability signed by the other party i
http://www.dfa.arkansas.gov/offices/...s/FAQ%27s.aspx

Last edited by aceplace57; 09-03-2011 at 01:32 PM..
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  #16  
Old 09-03-2011, 01:31 PM
jtgain jtgain is offline
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In this state, the law requires you to report to the police any accident with damage in excess of $500. Even if it is a one car accident.

Now, if you estimated the damage at $400, but it was really $600, would you be prosecuted? Probably not. If nine vehicles were totaled and 17 people were dead and dying, could you get away with saying that the damage was only $400? Probably not.

But like others have said, if you are not at fault, then it is in your interest to get a police report to document it. If you are a fault and the other driver wants to let it go (assuming a minor accident) then go buy a lottery ticket as it is your lucky day.
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  #17  
Old 09-03-2011, 02:07 PM
Gary "Wombat" Robson Gary "Wombat" Robson is offline
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Forget the legal damage minimum and listen to Joey P. He speaks truth.

If you have a police report and photos, the other party can't cheat you as easily. If you don't report it, what stops them from claiming that someone was injured even if they weren't in the car at the time? What stops them from claiming their crumpled hood is your fault even though you rear-ended them? What stops them from saying you fled the scene of the accident (a felony in many places)?

Always report it, and always take lots of pictures from every angle. If your phone can't take pictures, carry a cheap disposable camera in your car just for this eventuality.
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  #18  
Old 09-03-2011, 02:08 PM
Joey P Joey P is offline
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Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
Every state's DMV has different rules.

Arkansas is a $1000 and no injuries. Anything less I absolutely would not report. I'd pay to fix my car and keep it off my insurance. They'll raise your rates if you have an accident.
When I got into my accident in the Best Buy lot I called the police and they did what was called a "Non-reportable accident form" which means he just takes names/numbers facts, witnesses etc but nothing gets turned into the state or the insurance company. He said he can only do this if he feels the damage is under $1000 and their are no injuries. At the time, this seemed fair enough, the accident seemed straight forward. Okay.

I went out the next day and got an estimate on my car from an auto-body place, $800. Called him up, told him it was $800. He refused to pay saying the accident was my fault since I didn't honk when he was backing up. After I convinced him that it doesn't matter if I honked or not, he then told me I had to get three estimates. I told him I'd call him right back and made a quick call to my insurance broker. Now armed with some knowledge I called him back and explained to him that he could either pay the $800 or I would call his insurance company. He declined. I called his insurance company. Turns out he doesn't have insurance with them, they started an investigation as to why he telling people he (still) does.

Then I found out (from my broker) about the $1000 and/or injury to be reportable law. So I went to a dealership and got a new estimate, came in at about $1100. Reported it to the state, along with the fact that he was driving with out insurance and that he had lied about insurance. About a week later he showed up with a check in hand as long as I signed something releasing him from liability.* No big deal, I told him, but I'm going to wait 10 days for the check to clear. He grabbed the check, took it to his bank and came back 20 minutes later with cash. I signed the letter 'he' wrote and that was it. He must have been feeling a lot of pressure from somewhere to take care of this.
This wouldn't have been made right without an accident report.

*The letter he wanted me to sign was something he typed up that said 'blah blah blah when we back into each other blah blah blah'. When he went to the bank, I retyped it to say exactly the same thing but changed 'when we backed into each other' to 'when you backed into me', signed it, folded it up and handed it to him. Whether of not he ever noticed, I don't know.
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  #19  
Old 09-03-2011, 02:55 PM
obbn obbn is offline
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Always call the cops. Back in the early 90's I had a person back out of a parking space right into the side of my truck. He was very nice and asked me not to call the cops because his insurance was very high and didn't want it to go up again. I felt sorry for him and after he assured me that he would take care of the repairs to my truck I agreed not to call the police.

As you can guess, his idea of repairing my truck was to have his uncle do it in his backyard, not a repair shop. This wasn't going to fly for my new vechicle. Of course now that I didn't have a police report there was essentially nothing I could do. Not even take him to small claims, it would have been his word against mine. This was a very expensive lesson to learn.
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  #20  
Old 09-03-2011, 03:22 PM
EmAnJ EmAnJ is offline
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You do realize that in most jurisdictions you can file a police report days, weeks or even months after an accident, right? With one of our accidents, we had a similar situation where both parties agreed to handle the accident outside of insurance, but once the other person started trying to screw us, we filed a police report about two weeks after the accident happened.
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  #21  
Old 09-03-2011, 03:39 PM
chiroptera chiroptera is offline
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Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
<snip>

So there's another good reason. Call the cops just to make sure the other person doesn't call them and report you for fleeing the scene of an accident. Yes, in my case, we never made contact. But even if you did talk to the other person there's still no reason why they couldn't still call the cops and say you took off. Even witness who could see the two of you (but not hear what you said) may back up the story.
I'm not sure what the law is in Michigan; luckily in the 10 years I've lived here I haven't been in any sort of accident. But I would absolutely call the police even for a minor one - if they decide not to come out and make a report, there's still a record.

Long time ago I was rear-ended at a light hard enough to push me into the car ahead of me. The person who rear-ended me left the scene....although there was no significant damage (big dent on my rear bumper, tiny dent on the bumper in front of me), it was a good thing that I called the police who noted witnesses to what happened - otherwise my insurance company might have tried denying my claim without proof that I hadn't been negligent.

Also to the "not significantly injured" aspect - a friend of mine was rear-ended in May, quite hard. She felt OK right after the accident, but since then has started having severe headaches and neck pain. After getting x-rays and such, it appears she has damage to her upper spine and neck from whiplash, and is still going to physical therapy for it.

So....yeah, I would make contact with law enforcement right away to get as much documented as possible.

Last edited by chiroptera; 09-03-2011 at 03:39 PM..
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  #22  
Old 09-03-2011, 03:50 PM
jtgain jtgain is offline
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Originally Posted by EmAnJ View Post
You do realize that in most jurisdictions you can file a police report days, weeks or even months after an accident, right?
Sure. But you have far less evidence. If the cops come on the scene, you can point out that that dent in your car there corresponds to the scratch on his front bumper right there and that he ran that (pointing) red light while pouring a fresh rum and coke for his prostitute in the front seat while she was setting him up with a new line of cocaine.

The next day, week, or month, he can say that he has never seen you. You probably got his plate number following him on the interstate and decided to make up this story.
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  #23  
Old 09-03-2011, 05:15 PM
VOW VOW is offline
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I'm one of the cynical old bats. I don't trust anybody. Last accident in the family, Hubster got hit in a parking lot. The other guy jumped out, "Don't report it! Don't report it! I'll make good on it!"

Hubster already had his phone out, dialing 911. Cops wouldn't do anything, saying it was "private property." Next call was to our insurance company. He got the guy's info (despite protests) and let the insurance handle everything.

Mister "I'll make good on it" had an expired license, didn't own the vehicle, and the plates on the vehicle belonged to something else. THAT'S why we pay for insurance. We got the truck fixed, had a rental, and while we did shell out our $500 deductible, we received a check later from the insurance company, because they went out for blood.

Insurance companies have ways to get money out of people that you don't want to know about. The small claims court system is constipated with folks trying to get their money from a population of others who originally promised, "I'll make good on it."


~VOW
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  #24  
Old 09-03-2011, 05:48 PM
gonzomax gonzomax is offline
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Legal paper work wins. Get a police report. Don't move a thing til the cops show.
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  #25  
Old 09-03-2011, 07:25 PM
Marconi N. Cheese Marconi N. Cheese is offline
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Legal paper work wins. Get a police report. Don't move a thing til the cops show.
In some areas you're required to move the cars out of traffic if it's a non-injury accident. Cite.
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  #26  
Old 09-03-2011, 07:36 PM
Canadjun Canadjun is offline
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Originally Posted by Marconi N. Cheese View Post
In some areas you're required to move the cars out of traffic if it's a non-injury accident. Cite.
Don't know whether it's an actual law or just what the police would prefer, but it's the same up here.
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  #27  
Old 09-03-2011, 07:44 PM
jtgain jtgain is offline
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Originally Posted by Marconi N. Cheese View Post
In some areas you're required to move the cars out of traffic if it's a non-injury accident. Cite.
Yeah? Fuck all of that. Are the local politicians or the motorists behind me going to pay for the damage to my car if moving the vehicles destroys the evidence that shows I wasn't at fault? No? Then fuck 'em. The car stays as is until the police arrive and note the damage.
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  #28  
Old 09-03-2011, 10:32 PM
boytyperanma boytyperanma is offline
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Yeah? Fuck all of that. Are the local politicians or the motorists behind me going to pay for the damage to my car if moving the vehicles destroys the evidence that shows I wasn't at fault? No? Then fuck 'em. The car stays as is until the police arrive and note the damage.
Yep the police show up and do a CSI style investigation every time... What evidence are you trying to preserve really? What do you do hold the witnesses hostage by virtue of blocking them in?

In my area if you've decided to park your ass in a manner that interferes with traffic they aren't going to try to figure out what happened. They are going to ticket you and forcefully remove your car. The cruisers have metal rams for pushing vehicles around and from what I've seen they aren't very concerned about further damage to any vehicle blocking the flow of traffic.

As to who's at fault, everyone in the states required to have insurance, the police will take a report from both parties and file it. They aren't particularly concerned about fault. They are perfectly willing to file conflicting reports and let the insurance companies figure it out.

As to calling the police for a non-emergency, sure every-time on the non emergency number. If they have a cop available they'll send them over and you won't have to stop by the station to file the accident reports.
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  #29  
Old 09-04-2011, 12:59 AM
Snnipe 70E Snnipe 70E is offline
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In our city if you are not blocking trafic they will tell you to just exchange information and you can come down to the police department the next day to fill out a accident report.

When I got rear ended the other driver "left his learner's permit at home" and the licienced drive "left her purse at the office" And they had no registration and insurance forms. It took me over 5 minutes on the phone to get the cops to show up. they kept answering my requleswt with just exchange information. I finally ask them how can I do that and to every one of their suggestions I told them that did not work.

And if you can move your cars out of traffic do. Get your pictures first then get your cars off the road! The first question of a cop or a CHP officer is "is your car movable?" and if you say yes they will tell you to move it off the street or freeway.

I came upon two drivers in the middle lane exchanging information at a blind spot. I stopped quickly and the guy behind me almost stopped as quick. After seeing that we could drive our cars we pulled onto a side street and exchanged information. got us out of danger of being hit. And if the driver that hit me had been smart he should have gotten the two blocking the street information. He could have collected from them for his damages and the damages he caused me.

I know there will be some that will say that is wrong but if you are blocking trafic and get hit you are liable. I was #6 in a 7 car pile up and the CHP asked me many times if the car that hit me had hit me and that pushed me into the car infront of me, or did I hit the car infront of me then get hit by the car behind me. According to the CHP, insurance, and everyone investigating that was an important question to determine who would pay for all the damages. If I hit the car infront 1st and was hit from behind then I got to pay for the car I hit and the car that hit me. What happened was a sudden stop where all the cars were inches apart and #7 was looking at his radio when he hit me #6 at about 60 MPH.
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  #30  
Old 09-04-2011, 01:01 AM
Snnipe 70E Snnipe 70E is offline
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Yeah? Fuck all of that. Are the local politicians or the motorists behind me going to pay for the damage to my car if moving the vehicles destroys the evidence that shows I wasn't at fault? No? Then fuck 'em. The car stays as is until the police arrive and note the damage.
No, but you could be dead or have to pay for some elses car that hits you as you block traffic. Then lyou end up being the one F....ed
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  #31  
Old 09-04-2011, 02:31 AM
Critical1 Critical1 is offline
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Originally Posted by jtgain View Post
Yeah? Fuck all of that. Are the local politicians or the motorists behind me going to pay for the damage to my car if moving the vehicles destroys the evidence that shows I wasn't at fault? No? Then fuck 'em. The car stays as is until the police arrive and note the damage.
take pictures and move, I saw the results of a super minor crash where the drivers left their vehicles blocking a major street during rush hour. when the cop arrived and saw both vehicles in running condition and told them in a less than pleasant tone to get the fuck out of the street and onto the median 12 feet away.

the back up was nearly a mile long.
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  #32  
Old 09-05-2011, 12:02 PM
D.E.S.K.Top668 D.E.S.K.Top668 is online now
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To the OP, I suggest that you ALWAYS call the police (on the non-emergency number.) A "minor"accident can lead to major damage, especially in unibody (most modern) cars. Even if you're at fault, you're better off with a disinterested third party, the police, investigating, Unless you were doing something stupid or illegal,
a police report is your best bet.

Peace - DESK
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  #33  
Old 09-05-2011, 01:05 PM
2gigch1 2gigch1 is offline
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During snomagheddon a couple years ago I was driving about 20mph down a snow narrowed street when BAM! a guy threw open the door of his Mustang and my front bumper clipped it good. I stopped immediately and the guy came out in the fun confrontational stance people get when they are upset.

I ran o the back of my truck, pulled out my TV camera and started rolling on everything, including getting witnesses on tape who saw it happen. By the end the other guy was almost in tears asking me to stop taping.

In the end, since it was is fault, we shook hands and I thought nothing of it. Fast forward a month later and our insurance adjuster calls me and says "he's suing!"

Thirty minutes later I had my tape up on Youtube on a private setting. The adjuster called back later laughing - "He's screwed, thanks!"

These days I run a dashcam in my truck because of this crap.
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  #34  
Old 09-05-2011, 02:33 PM
Mops Mops is online now
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On moving accidents (i.e. on the road) I always call the cops (on the non-emergency number in my town because I have it in my phone book - on the emergency number in other places of the occasion should arise but it did not yet).

This is not only to be on the safe side re insurance/lawsuits but also to make sure I am clear re prosecution for leaving the scene of an accident. Up to now the cops have always come (I always said upfront on the phone that there were no injuries); they are not legally required to always respond so if they decline I'd ask them to be sure to log the call.

The only instances where I did not call the police were when I was clearly solely at fault (backing into another vehicle in a parking area); in that case I just filled in the insurance form with the other driver (not admitting to fault as such, because insurance terms require me not to, just to the facts).
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  #35  
Old 09-05-2011, 08:03 PM
robby robby is offline
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I'm another person who learned the hard lesson that you always, always call the police. Back in college, a guy ran a red light and clipped my car in an intersection. He took responsibility, acknowledging that he was at fault; we exchanged info, and because there were no injuries (and no cell phones back then), we went our own ways.

When I went in later that day to file a police report, I found that the a$$hole had completely switched his story, and reported me as the one who had run the red light! He then put in a claim for my insurance to fix his car! Because it was my word against his, they did. When I tried to put in a claim against his insurance, I found that it wasn't valid, having expired some time before.

Now I always call the police. They always come, if you're insistent enough. In my experience, people are less likely to lie to a cop at the scene of an accident, especially if you can convince a witness to stick around.
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  #36  
Old 09-06-2011, 01:07 AM
VOW VOW is offline
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At least 150 years ago, my husband was a military recruiter in Wisconsin. It was wintertime, and he was taking a load of prospective enlistees to the MEPS station in Milwaukee. It was snowing, and the freeway was a complete madhouse. Radio stations had already announced that anyone getting into an accident was simply to exchange information and make a report later. Traffic had slowed to a crawl while people were dealing with skidding. One car was completely off the pavement and up an embankment. When the driver tried to re-enter the freeway, he hit my husband's car.

The drivers got out, exchanged information, and my husband continued on to Milwaukee. He called the Recruiting Command and reported the accident.

Several weeks later, we received an envelope from an insurance company at home, addressed to my husband. Inside was a letter from the other party's insurance agent, with three estimates, saying, "Since you were at-fault in the accident with my client, please forward these to your insurance company."

Hubster was on the phone immediately to the insurance agent. "First off, if you were to have any claim at all, I would have nothing to do with it. I was in uniform, in an official government vehicle, on government business. Your dealings would be with Uncle Sam, NOT ME. Secondly, YOUR CLIENT HIT ME. Please don't contact me again."

The agent was completely abashed. "Oh, I'm so sorry, I was unaware of all that."

The name of the game when involved in ANY type of vehicle accident is to CYA. Period.


~VOW
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  #37  
Old 09-06-2011, 10:57 AM
Ferret Herder Ferret Herder is offline
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Check your local laws but always err on the side of caution when guessing about damages, etc. You wouldn't believe how expensive car repairs can get, even when it doesn't look that bad. I got in a fender-bender that left only a small wheel-well-caused groove on the front of my car... and underneath that, part of the frame (?) was bent enough to rub lightly against the radiator. Fortunately it wasn't enough to do any damage - especially since I took it in right away to get it looked at, but it cost me a few hundred to just get that bent away from the radiator.

My husband and I were just out of college when we got chewed out by a cop for "leaving the scene of an accident." I put that in quotes because we weren't intending to do it! We were stopped at a red light when we heard smashing sounds behind us. My husband had left some space between him and the car in front; he let up on the brake right as the car behind us got pushed into us, then he braked again and we just barely missed tapping the car ahead of us. Stunned, we got out to see that we were the 4th car in a chain-reaction accident that had apparently been caused by driver #1 not slowing down at all and plowing straight into the back of car #2, with cars #2 and 3 being pushed into the next car, in turn. We determined that our car had no appreciable damage, exchanged information (as a witness) with the other drivers, and left. The police were not happy with us for leaving, even though we had no damage and there were tons of witnesses; we found this out when they called us. Oops. My husband gave our report over the phone.

(Side note: Some time later - I don't recall how long but it seems like it was much longer than it should have taken, maybe a month or two? - we got a very hostile message left on our answering machine from an insurance company about what we did in a car accident. Called up in WTF mode, turns out it was about this accident... and some employee at the insurance company had picked the wrong car as the one that caused the accident. Our car was the same make (not model) as the car that caused it. We got a frantic apology and were promised we wouldn't be bothered again.)

Last edited by Ferret Herder; 09-06-2011 at 10:58 AM..
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  #38  
Old 09-06-2011, 11:29 AM
shiftless shiftless is offline
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Location: Virginia
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If there is any chance I might be considered at fault then I would call the police.

When I was 16 I bumped a car. The woman I bumped couldn't see any damage so she said it was all OK, no problem. We exchanged numbers and went our way. A few days later I was called down to the police station where we met the woman and her husband. The police took me aside and threatened to charge me with hit and run if I ever "left the scene of a crime" again. They were working me pretty hard until my dad stepped in and told them where they could stick their threats. We did end up buying the husband a whole new rear bumper.
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  #39  
Old 09-06-2011, 05:26 PM
barbitu8 barbitu8 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
I've been yelled at on this board for my answer before, but I still hold to it. I will always call the cops for an accident, even on private property.
Police won't come for a minor accident on private property.
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  #40  
Old 09-06-2011, 05:54 PM
ralph124c ralph124c is offline
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Always file an accident report.
A few years ago, my wife was with her son, and tapped the bumper of a parked truck.
the owner filed a claim for personal injury, saying there were four people in the truck.
My insurance company sent a PI out, and the other guy backed down-he had no prof of anything he claimed.
It is thieves like that that drive up insurance rates.
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  #41  
Old 09-06-2011, 08:12 PM
Joey P Joey P is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barbitu8 View Post
Police won't come for a minor accident on private property.
Now that's just plain not true. Not only did I write about a minor ($800 on my part) accident in a Best Buy parking lot in which I called the police and they came out. The store I've been working at has at least one minor accident a year in the lot and the cops always come out when someone calls them for that.

You're honestly saying you've never seen a squad car in a parking lot with an officer looking at a big dent in the side of a car that someone is pointing to?

Maybe it depends on the city that you're calling from. But in the city where I work and the city the Best Buy was in, it wasn't a problem.
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  #42  
Old 09-06-2011, 09:36 PM
VOW VOW is offline
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To Joey P:

You live in a GREAT city. Appreciate that every day of your life!

Some cities here in SCal, you can't even get Dispatch to send the cops when someone is seeing a CRIME IN PROGRESS. Or how about the folks who have called 911 and been PUT ON HOLD?

As the real estate folks say, "Location, location, location!"


~VOW
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  #43  
Old 09-06-2011, 10:21 PM
jrtexgunner jrtexgunner is offline
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Texas statutes mandates that the operator of the vehicle must file a report if an officer does not investigate, if the apparent damage is more than $1000 or if someone is injured. If an officer was there, they would file the report obviously.

Your best bet is to take pictures if you can, and have Police or DPS respond to write the report/issue citations as necessary if the other party is at fault.

-JR
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  #44  
Old 09-07-2011, 01:14 AM
Snnipe 70E Snnipe 70E is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
Now that's just plain not true. Not only did I write about a minor ($800 on my part) accident in a Best Buy parking lot in which I called the police and they came out. The store I've been working at has at least one minor accident a year in the lot and the cops always come out when someone calls them for that.

You're honestly saying you've never seen a squad car in a parking lot with an officer looking at a big dent in the side of a car that someone is pointing to?

Maybe it depends on the city that you're calling from. But in the city where I work and the city the Best Buy was in, it wasn't a problem.
Joey you live in a city with a very not busy police department. In most Calif cities the police will come if there are major injuries, it is blocking traffic (and the first thing they do is have the cars moved). And for parking lots they only come incase of fire or the drivers fighting. If you call the police for a parking lot accident their responce is if there is no danger then it is private property and they have no jurisdiction.
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  #45  
Old 09-07-2011, 05:02 AM
Eva Luna Eva Luna is offline
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Reporting accidents is the law in many cases in Illinois. It doesn't take much of a collision to run up $1,000 in damages. We were hit head-on at maybe 5 mph a couple of years ago; turned out that the teenager who whipped out of the alley and didn't even slow down until it was too late didn't have a driver's license. She was taken away in handcuffs. And no, our insurance rates didn't change at all since it was so obviously her fault and there was nothing more we could have done to prevent the accident. $2400 in damages to our car alone.
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  #46  
Old 09-07-2011, 06:03 PM
Rachellelogram Rachellelogram is offline
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You should always, ALWAYS call 911 after an accident where physical damage was sustained. Write down (or text to yourself) the other driver's plate number first, then second, pick up your phone and call 911. That way, if they leave the scene ("I'm going to be late for x!" "It can wait."), you've got them for a hit and run. Let the 911 operator triage your accident and make this decision, that's what they're paid for (and qualified to do).

If they determine not to send out the police because nobody was injured (which happens in larger jurisdictions), then they will tell you that (it is still your responsibility to get a report). In smaller jurisdictions, they will send out the police and make a report for pretty much everything that happens on public property. Sometimes depending on how busy the day is/how bad the cop assesses the damage to be at the scene, they will send out the police, who will just make sure neither party needs a tow, hand each driver an exchange of information sheet, and leave.

Laypeople don't know when or why or how dispatchers/cops make these judgment calls. It varies between jurisdiction, accident location, and sometimes even between individuals.

The exception is that no jurisdiction I know of won't send out the police for ANY injury-free incidents occurring on private property, but you let THEM tell you that. You shouldn't make this call yourself, it's a matter for professionals.

And if they don't send out the cops the day of, you should go back to the police station that night/the next day and make a report. Getting a police report is SO IMPORTANT to cover your ass with your/their insurance company. I know, because I work at an insurance company.
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