Car accident advice needed badly!

Hi. I’m a 20 year old college student and was in an accident two weeks ago in which I hydroplaned going 20 mph in the snow. The person behind me was driving too close for comfort, and she hit my front end after I hydroplaned.
My fiancee gave me the car and unbeknownst to me the car was uninsured. The cop decided the accident was my fault, this girl’s dad bought her a brand new volkswagen, the damages come to as much as my car costs. Help! The cop said since I hydroplaned it’s my fault. I didn’t know that it’s illegal to hydroplane. I thought it’s illegal to hit somebody’s car. I live in CT. Should I take this to court?

IANAL but I see it like this. You were driving out of control in an uninsured car and got in an accident. It is probably questionable who really hit who.

If the VW driver isn’t claiming injury, you may want to drop it. The VW driver should have un-insured driver coverage on her insurance.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not judging anything, just trying to see it through the eyes of the court.

I’m totally lost here. How is it that the person who was FOLLOWING you managed to hit your FRONT end? Did your car spin 180 degrees after you started hydroplaning? If so, can we presume that this person in the VW was ALSO hydroplaning?

You also don’t state what the problem is exactly. I presume it is that both your car and the VW have significant body damage, although it sounds like if you were both going the same direction and slid into one another on an icy road that the speed of impact must have been far LESS than 20 mph.

Is the issue that you want her insurance to pay for your car damage because you believe it is her fault? Also, are YOU otherwise insured even if your fiancee and their car otherwise isn’t? If so, talk to YOUR insurance company and explain the problem and they should take care of it. It should be treated no differently then if you get in an accident in a rental car. Also, feel free to bitch to the VW girl’s insurance company about this gripe if it’s legitimate.

Otherwise you may be screwed. The VW girl may just use her uninsured motorist insurance to fix her car, and you may be stuck covering your own damage.


Hydroplane at 20 miles an hour? Since you mentioned snow, that’s not really hydroplaning, thats losing control of your car on snow/ice.

Either way, I think it is considered too fast for conditions.


Was the person that hit you following too close? Tailgaiting? Unsafe distance?

I drive in ice and snow 6 months out out of the year. I see lots of people that either drive way, way too slow, or think they are king of the road 'cause they got a rental 4x4.

Luck to you.

Insurance agent checking in.

Ok, so you say that you hydroplaned. The cop has most likely heard this a million times and the thing is, if you are driving slow enough for the road conditions you won’t hydroplane. Add to this the fact that you were driving an uninsured vehicle, the cop has to list someone at fault and you were the most likely candidate.

The other driver’s underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage will cover him for damages incurred. Hopefully, there were no injuries involved and you’ll come out of it with an at-fault-accident, and driving-too-fast-for-road-conditions ticket.

Slow down, nothing is so important that you need to risk your life to arrive a few minutes earlier.

I am not a lawyer, and even if I was, laws differ from state to state anyway. But we can certainly apply some logic to things.

Last I heard, police officers DO NOT serve as judges on traffic collisions, or on any other crime for that matter. If a police officer witnessed the collision, he can certainly report his observations and opinions to the courts, the insureds (you and the VW girl), and the insurance companies.

Furthermore, if the police officer arrived at the scene AFTER the collision, he really isn’t a witness. He can help you and the other party exchange papers, or obtain medical aid if necessary… I’m sure he certainly heard both sides of the story, and looked at both cars, but what good does that really do?

I’m not exactly sure who DOES decide who is at fault, but I’d imagine the insurance coman(ies) are involved, and maybe there’s some separate entity as well.

In my state, at least, you’re required to file 3 accident reports: One copy to your insurance company, one to the police department in the town which the collision occured, and one to the Registry of Motor Vehicles. You’re required by law to do this, and within a certain time frame, although of course many people don’t file reports.

I don’t know how it works in your state… but you might ask for an accident report form at least just to look at it; they’re very detailed, but straightforward to fill out.

I don’t see any legitimate way for someone to determine you’re at fault, especially if you haven’t even filed your own report.

I kinda see three options for you.

  1. Admit you’re at fault, but refuse to pay. The girl will turn to her own “uninsured/underinsured motorist” part of her policy to get her car fixed. I’m not sure if this will put you in line for any legal trouble.

  2. Admit fault, and pay to get the girl’s car fixed out of your own pocket.

  3. Deny that you’re at fault, submit an accident report backing up your assertion, and also make a claim against the girl’s insurance company for damage to YOUR car.

P.S. Is car insurance required in your state? If so, did you get a ticket from the police for not having insurance?

Like Dad always says, better late than never.

If you lost control, you must have been driving too fast for the conditions. That puts you at fault. Harsh, but true. A safe speed for the conditions is one that doesn’t wind up with you hydroplaning.

I need all the options I can get to take care of this situation. You guys have great suggestions.

Yarster: Well I don’t know what to do so I can’t ask a specific question. When I hydroplaned, my car did a 180 and was facing hers when she hit me. It’s basically just grill and bumper damage, nothing major thank goodness. The cop deemed it my fault for driving too fast under road conditions. I was going 20 mph. He gave me a warning.
I’m going to call my insurance company tomorrow and see what I come up with.

Billy: It’s ok I can take it :slight_smile: If the insurance companies won’t work it out I’ll call the VW girl and ask her to drop it.

Well, if this person was behind you, then I don’t understand the fault determination. If you are
following someone and you hit them, then it’s almost impossible to avoid liability because it implies
that you were following too close.

Still, if you spun the car and there were no extenuating circumstances, then you definitely made a mistake
and bear some responsibility for the accident.

If you’re trying to get money to repair your car, well as far as I recall, CT is a no-fault state. You should be
carrying insurance on your car, and if you’re not, then you are probably SOL.

On the whole, I’d say that no matter how financially devastating this may seem now, you got off
pretty lightly. If there had been any serious injuries in the accident and you were uninsured, this could have been
a nightmare that would have have haunted you for years.

I disagree on 2 points. While police officers may not decide who is at fault, they most certainly decide who gets the citation. The person who is is ticketed is the most likely to pay in an accident.

Second, never, ever, ever under any circumstances admit fault in an accident. Say nothing at all and let the insurance companies fight this out. If you know an attorney this is the best time to let him/her speak for you.


Sorry, I didn’t see your last post before I posted again. If you have your own insurance you’re protected. It should cover her damages.

In any case you should still report it to your insurance company since they will most likely be hearing from the other driver. It’s best if you have your version of the events on the record first.


So you were driving too fast for conditions and lost control. Did you manage to bring the car to a safe halt before the driver behind you hit you ? Or was her driving so much more reckless than yours that she plowed into to you even before you could bring the car to a halt ? Did your car actually reverse direction and hit her ? Or is this really a typical rear-end situation in which you happened to rotate your car 90 degrees before the crash ? I don’t see how your recklessness ameliorates her reckless tailgating to the point that it’s all your fault. She certainly wouldn’t have followed you at a safer distance if you had been driving at a safer speed.
Of course, the cars uninsured state has nothing to do with who’s fault the collision was.
The cops fault assessment seems screwy if this really was just an elaborate rear end collision. I’d take it to a lawyer.

I actually DO have another car that is insured that was not in the accident. I do not have the title to the car that I was driving that I got into the accident with. I was just driving it, it was given to me by my boyfriend to use. I assumed it was insured. Dumb I’ve learned. My boyfriend also has a car that is insured.
It’s the law to have the car insured here but the cop didn’t write me up for it. Also the reason I was driving at the pace I was was because the person behind me was tailgating me. I sped up got nervous and did the 180. I called the officer to tell him this and he said I should have told him at the time and it’s too late. He said that if I don’t pay the damages he’s gonna put me in jail for not being insured and I’ll have to pay anyway.
I think I’m gonna have to call the insurance companies. If anyone has any other suggestions. I’m really clueless about this whole thing. Thanks for all your help :slight_smile:

Sorry I made it seem like I’m not asking for any more advice. I still am. Do I sound like I’m going in the right direction in regards to the post I made last? Any comments?

IANAL and I’m not from your state. Regarding the other driver’s uninsured motorist coverage, even if the insurance company pays for and repairs the damage, they may then turn around and sue you for what they paid out.

This is called subrogation and they of step into the shoes of their insured. Since you have insurance, it is most likely that you were covered under your own policy. If that is the case then you will be OK. I would call them as soon as possible and try to get this sorted out.

Good Luck.


For future reference, and this comes from 16 years riding a motorcycle in traffic, if some one is tailgating you, speeding up will mean they are tailgating at a higher speed. If tailgated, gently slow down. This puts more space between you and the car in front of you. That means if the car in front does something crazy, you can slow down calmly, and prevent getting rearended. If thay are really too close, you need to pull off and let them buy, get the number, and call the cops.

OK, I’m off the soapbox…but still alive after 16 years on the bike.

First, IALBDDTKOS (I Am A Lawyer But Don’t Do This Kind Of Stuff) so this isn’t necessarily a legal opinion.

0Bug0 keeps using the word “hydroplaning” which may not be exactly accurate in the case of snow, but I’m envisioning this, and Bug, please correct me if my scenario is wrong – the road that is plowed and/or salted, and wet but not slick, then you hit an unforeseen slick spot and lost control. You spun 180 degrees so that you were facing back in the direction from which you came, and the driver of the VW was either going too fast (and was too close) to stop before hitting you head on, or she also hit the same slick spot and couldn’t stop therefore, colliding with you.

Now, in every state I’ve lived in, the person who hits you from behind is always at fault, unless you’ve done something really outrageous. In this case, you were hit from behind, just after you spun around. This, I would think, is worth investigating.

Also, in every state I live in, collision coverage is conferred upon a car, but liability insurance is conferred upon a driver, and it isn’t optional - this is the portion of coverage that you must have above all else and it shoud cover you no matter what vehicle you’re driving so long as it isn’t work-related and you’re legally entitled to drive it. Definitely talk to your insurance agent.

0bug0 you are being fed lots of mis-information by the policeman and you are making numerous erroneous assumptions about insurance coverage and liability. Get a lawyer ASAP.