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Not my fault, but I might get blamed for it.

aniquaaniqua Registered User
edited October 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
So I was in a car accident yesterday and here's what happened:

Took my son to a farm for some pumpkin picking, had a friend with me. We got the pumpkin and were going to drive to the other side of the farm to do apple picking too. I checked all my mirrors, looked around at my blind spots, no one was coming or moving, so I started backing up. I always back up out of a parking spot slowly, to be cautious, and also I was parked on grass that was a little bit of a ditch. All of a sudden there's a hard bump. This lady was behind me in a frickin Lexus! I couldn't figure out what happened, cuz I checked first! My back bumper hit the rear driver side of her car, not the bumper. So basically it looks like she was out first and I hit her.

My best friend's husband does body work for a living, and he's very good at it. Also, being that we were in the middle of the farm's entrance, no one was hurt (we were going all of 5mph, probably less) and it was just a minor fender bender, I didn't feel the need to call the cops and bother them. I have valid insurance, I suggested exchanging information but didn't feel the need for the cops. Damage to my car was just paint, no big deal. She has a small dent in her car now that I could probably recreate by slamming a shopping cart into a car. Something that could probably be easily popped out and cost next to nothing to fix. But she starts freaking out, OMG i've never been in an accident before! I'm calling the cops! and blah blah blah. Even though she was blocking the entrance for the farm, making it very hard for other people to get in, she flat out refused to move her car. This lady was really spazing!

Lucky for me there was a witness, a complete stranger who came up to me and told me he saw what happened, it wasn't my fault cuz I was backing out first and she just backed out faster than I did. He talked to the cop as soon as the cop got there. I never got the guys name.

We filled out the accident report, have to wait 4-5 business days to get it so I'm not sure what the cop wrote yet. Based on this information, what are the possible outcomes, good or bad, that could happen? It wasn't my fault, but if it wasn't for that witness then I think any outsider would've thought it was. I've heard of 50/50 fault accidents but the way this lady reacted over something so minor I'm kind of nervous she might try to pin the whole thing on me cuz I'm the "young one". I'm 26 and she had to be in her late 30s to mid 40s. Any advice??

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Posts

  • ShogunShogun Hair long; money long; me and broke wizards we don't get along Registered User regular
    What state do you live in?

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  • aniquaaniqua Registered User
    Rhode Island

  • ShogunShogun Hair long; money long; me and broke wizards we don't get along Registered User regular
    Tort state meaning one of your will be found at fault. You had a witness who vouched for you. That's good. Did anyone speak up on the lady's behalf?

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  • aniquaaniqua Registered User
    Not that I know of or saw.

  • RaneadosRaneados Registered User regular
    I only had a little time to look around but

    http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/statutes/title31/31-22/31-22-2.HTM

    you were watching behind you as you backed up, right? didn't you see the lexus?

    if she backed up after you did, but went faster, she'd have had to have been right behind you or a little ways left or right in a space behind you, then she'd have to have turned her wheel to the right as you kept coming back into her door?

    don't worry about calling the cops over minor traffic accidents, they don't mind

    sounds like you more than one witness, the person you didn't get the name of, plus you had a person in the car with you?

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  • aniquaaniqua Registered User
    I checked all my mirrors and "blind spots" before I started backing up. Continued looking in mirror as I was backing up. Even after the accident happened, her car still wasn't really visible in my mirror. Its just where she was at I guess. And yes, she was parked basically right behind me on the other side of the drive area, so there was good space between us. Her wheel would've had to go right from the direction she was going. And like I said I was backing up a slight hill, like a small ditch I guess you could say. She was parked on flat dirt pavement.

    I had a friend with me, but she didn't really she what happened cuz she was a passenger so not really paying attention to the driving. And the stranger so technically 2 witnesses but 1 isn't very good if she didn't see much.

  • John MatrixJohn Matrix Registered User regular
    If the police officer spoke to the witness and was competent he took his name, etc. That information might appear in the police report. Put in a request for the police report and if you have the name of the officer try to get some information from his notes if the witnesses name doesn't appear in the report.

  • Shark_MegaByteShark_MegaByte Registered User regular
    aniqua wrote:
    I checked all my mirrors and "blind spots" before I started backing up. Continued looking in mirror as I was backing up. Even after the accident happened, her car still wasn't really visible in my mirror.

    This is why I was taught to always turn completely around, look over the back of the driver's seat (brace with right arm around the back of the passenger seat if needed), and keep looking directly to the rear for as long as the car is moving in reverse. The mirrors aren't supposed to be used to see where you're going. Not posting this here to knock the OP, but to point out a trick to avoid similar incidents in the future.

  • ToxTox I kill threads Pharezon's human garbage heapRegistered User regular
    edited October 2011
    aniqua wrote:
    I checked all my mirrors and "blind spots" before I started backing up. Continued looking in mirror as I was backing up. Even after the accident happened, her car still wasn't really visible in my mirror.

    This is why I was taught to always turn completely around, look over the back of the driver's seat (brace with right arm around the back of the passenger seat if needed), and keep looking directly to the rear for as long as the car is moving in reverse. The mirrors aren't supposed to be used to see where you're going. Not posting this here to knock the OP, but to point out a trick to avoid similar incidents in the future.

    This. You are in control of a 1,000lb+ death machine powered by explosions. Always put your face in the direction you are moving.

    It sounds to me like it was your fault. You moved your car into hers, the default position in that case is that you are at fault. If this had occurred because she violated right-of-way, that would be a mitigating factor, as would several other things (none of which you've mentioned).

    If the report says you weren't looking where you were going (actually looking, not using a mirror), then you will almost definitely be found at-fault, and your insurance will cover it, minus your deductible, which you will be liable for.

    IF SHE TRIES TO TAKE YOU TO COURT, YOU NEED TO CONTACT YOUR INSURANCE IMMEDIATELY! YOU ARE PAYING THEM MONEY TO TAKE CARE OF ANY PROBLEMS THAT ARISE FROM YOU DAMAGING SOMETHING WITH YOUR VEHICLE!

    Oh, yes, and standard "I am not a lawyer" disclaimers apply, naturally.

    Tox on
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  • piLpiL Registered User regular
    edited October 2011
    From the Rhode Island driver's manual
    If you are backing up for a distance greater than 30 feet, it is recommended that you activate your
    hazard lights to warn other motorists of your maneuvers.
    • While backing, you should look over your right shoulder, partially turning your body, while
    maintaining proper control of your vehicle.

    • When backing in a straight line, you should periodically check all mirrors to be sure that no other
    vehicles, pedestrians, or obstacles are in your path of travel.

    I don't know that there'd be any legal culpability for just using your mirrors instead of turning around since it'd be pretty difficult to prove one way or the other, but I thought I'd make note of it.

    Edit: Whoops, beat like the dead horse I didn't mean to be beating.

    piL on
  • Phoenix-DPhoenix-D Registered User regular
    Damage to my car was just paint, no big deal. She has a small dent in her car now that I could probably recreate by slamming a shopping cart into a car

    The last time this sort of thing happened to me, they came back with $1500 of claimed repair bills. Be careful.

  • FiggyFiggy Registered User regular
    I am not a lawyer, but it sounds like you were at fault. You backed into her. There is no right of way based on "who started backing up first" in a parking lot.

    Your vehicle hit hers. That's pretty much all they're going to look a to determine fault.

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  • RaneadosRaneados Registered User regular
    I mean, it does sound like your fault if you backed into her driver's side, that means she was there first and you continued backing into her, while she might have been able to prevent the accident, it SEEMS like you're at fault

    you should have been physically turned around looking behind you

    that there was a blind spot or a ditch doesn't really matter, you're driving a car, you're supposed to be sure of where your car is going, if you can't see, you don't go

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  • MushroomStickMushroomStick Registered User regular
    Were you given an accident report? If so, which vehicle was listed first on it?

  • DhalphirDhalphir don't you open that trapdoor you're a fool if you dareRegistered User regular
    You were reversing without continually looking where you were going? You don't just check your mirrors, think "right, everything is clear", and then go, regardless of how slowly and carefully you do it.

    You constantly look where you are going when you reverse, period.

    You may be able to swing it that she bears some of the blame, and indeed, some of the blame is hers for doing the same thing you were - backing out without looking where she was going - but the fault is not solely hers.

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  • aniquaaniqua Registered User
    The stranger told me that I was backing up, she whipped out of her spot like it was a race, so then I ended up hitting her, so from an eye witness point of view, SHE caused the accident. I filled out the accident report first, which I don't have a copy of yet, but the cop just asked us "OK which one wants to fill in their info first?" and this lady had already ruined my time with my son as it was, so I went first so that I could leave.

    And just because I wasn't physically turned around, doesn't mean I wasn't looking. Some of you make it sound like I just looked and went, but I was still looking in my mirrors, side and rear. And sorry but I took driver's ed almost 10 yrs ago, we were NEVER told we HAVE to physically turn around when backing up. The class is a waste of time, and with one parent 1200 miles away and the other too drunk/high most of the time to give a damn, I basically had to teach myself how to drive. I drove all of 5 times before my driver's test, and I passed with a 96 or something like that. I lost very few points, so its not like I don't know how to drive.

    I think at the MOST this is a 50/50 fault. Really and truly, if she whipped out of her spot the way she did after I was already going, its her fault. I don't think that this can or should be 100% pinned on me.

  • RaneadosRaneados Registered User regular
    aniqua wrote:
    The stranger told me that I was backing up, she whipped out of her spot like it was a race, so then I ended up hitting her, so from an eye witness point of view, SHE caused the accident. I filled out the accident report first, which I don't have a copy of yet, but the cop just asked us "OK which one wants to fill in their info first?" and this lady had already ruined my time with my son as it was, so I went first so that I could leave.

    And just because I wasn't physically turned around, doesn't mean I wasn't looking. Some of you make it sound like I just looked and went, but I was still looking in my mirrors, side and rear. And sorry but I took driver's ed almost 10 yrs ago, we were NEVER told we HAVE to physically turn around when backing up. The class is a waste of time, and with one parent 1200 miles away and the other too drunk/high most of the time to give a damn, I basically had to teach myself how to drive. I drove all of 5 times before my driver's test, and I passed with a 96 or something like that. I lost very few points, so its not like I don't know how to drive.

    I think at the MOST this is a 50/50 fault. Really and truly, if she whipped out of her spot the way she did after I was already going, its her fault. I don't think that this can or should be 100% pinned on me.

    not to harp on you or berate you but basically none of this post helps your situation, it's just irrelevant details about your life to gain sympathy and excuses as to why you didn't look. You did not look where you were going well enough, and you hit another driver. She ALSO hit you, and she admitted fault to you (which helps, by the way, if she admits fault to a cop/someone who writes it down/the insurance company or admits to admitting fault, then you're helped out)

    10 years means nothing as to when you got your license, you're supposed to stay current with laws and safety guidelines, neither can you excuse a shamble test or your "waste of time" driver's ed class

    you're also kind of all over the place with your blame, you say it's HALF your fault, then you say it's NOT your fault, then you blame her, then you say "well yes I wasn't looking but it shouldn't be my fault"

    just relax, we're not here to jump down your throat, but we're ALSO not here to blindly rally to your side. We're not all mistaken on this, the law says you're at least partly at fault, you reversed without following proper safety guidelines, and you say so did the lexus lady, but whether the insurance will see it as that is yet to be seen

    it'll come out truthfully in the end. If the damage is as little as you say, then this is a huge deal that you're getting worked up over nothing.

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  • SatanIsMyMotorSatanIsMyMotor Registered User regular
    Yeah, I think that unless it can be proven that she was driving recklessly you'll be at fault for this. It's a bummer but that's how the situation seems to play out for me.

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  • MushroomStickMushroomStick Registered User regular
    When I asked who was listed first on the accident report, I meant who's info was put on the top of the sheet? I ask because typically, that driver will be considered at fault/more fault/etc. by judges/insurance companies/etc.

  • FiggyFiggy Registered User regular
    You backed into the side of her car. It doesn't matter how slowly you were backing up or how many times you checked. You hit her car. That's all anyone is going to consider.

    And first, in the OP, you said you were both going 5 mph. Then, you said the lady was backing out like it was a race. It seems like you're all over the place with this, and that is likely cause you're obviously very upset by the situation.

    It's just a fender bender. It's not the end of the world. No one is calling you a bad driver. Good drivers get in fender benders all the time.

    This time, you're going to be found at fault. It might not be 100%, but you're absolutely not fault-free. If you were living where I am, police wouldn't even get involved. Private property means the highway traffic act doesn't apply. You'd have to work things out yourselves, and it'd likely just go through comprehensive.

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  • Skoal CatSkoal Cat Registered User
    It's not healthy to think that she ruined your time with your son. Stuff happens when you're with your kid and it always will.

    ceres wrote: »
    Skoal Cat is correct.
  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    Skoal Cat wrote:
    It's not healthy to think that she ruined your time with your son. Stuff happens when you're with your kid and it always will.

    Yeah, that'd be a good time to show how to be civil and better person when faced with an unpleasant situation. Not saying you were not, just something to keep in mind; use it as a teaching moment.

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  • CryogenCryogen Registered User regular
    The presented facts, at face value, indicate to me that you will probably be found at fault. If you are lucky, it will be deemed a no fault accident, or 50-50, or however your locality handles such things. If there's a miracle, it will be deemed her fault. So, my advice would be to prepare yourself for being found to be at fault, and any other outcome is just a bonus.

    You asked what other possible outcomes there would be - if you're immensely unlucky maybe you'd be hit with reckless driving (or similar local road law infringement) but that's probably the extent of it.

    usual IANAL (or even in your country) disclaimer applies

  • DraygoDraygo Registered User regular
    Have you yet contacted your insurance agent?

    Do so, tell them everything. Generally this will be your insurance vs their insurance sort of thing, you may have to deal with a higher premium if you are found to be at fault. Some insurance companies may just drop a discount instead. If its your first scrape and you got no tickets on record and from this incident then your rates may not move up at all. But generally all options are going to be less than that potential $1,500 - $2,500 repair bill.

  • Dr. FrenchensteinDr. Frenchenstein Registered User regular
    Probably at best it'll be a no fault, which means you pay your damage and she pays hers (which would work out well for you). you really should have gotten that witness' info, but hopefully it will be on the police report. that will probably be the only thing that saves you from being 100% at fault.

  • aniquaaniqua Registered User
    I never meant to imply that I wasn't at fault at all, and if I did so then sorry, I just really don't think I should be held 100% at fault. That's all. And the way that she was reacting I think that's what she is going to try to say. But from what the majority of people tell me (not just here), then it will probably be 50/50, and I'm ok with that.

    The person who asked about who's name was at the top of the report, its neither. The form the cop had us fill out was my information on the left and hers is on the right. And like I said he asked who wants to go first so I don't think he cared whose info was on which side.

    Also, I read my comments again and I don't see where I ever said I wasn't looking at all. I said that I wasn't fully turned around, but not that I wasn't looking. I used my mirrors and was moving my head to look around, I just wasn't entirely facing to the back with my arm around the passenger seat like some of you were mentioning.

    As far as ruining time with my son.. I don't get to spend alot of time with him doing actual stuff. He goes to daycare, I go to work, we come home. That's about it almost every day except my day off and well, I work alot of OT usually but recently I haven't been able to so money is extremely tight. Its not like this farm is right around the corner, so I probably won't be able to take him back there to go apple picking too, which he will be disappointed and being a single mom I hate to see him disappointed. So it just irritated me. I was calm and handled it well, but still irritated at the time.

    I just moved and my car insurance went up $20 starting this month just because of where I moved to. I can't even afford that. That's why I'm really hoping this doesn't make my monthly rate go up even more. And because of this I am going to lose my 5yr good driver discount that was coming in Feb. I really needed that. :(

    I haven't called my insurance yet, but you guys are not the first ones to tell me I need to, so I will be within the hour. Going to try to get the police report tomorrow.

    I just hope this doesn't turn out to be one very expensive pumpkin! lol

  • Skoal CatSkoal Cat Registered User
    Spending time with you is more important than spending time with you apple picking. You are also going to have a LOT of chances to do a LOT of things with him.
    From one single parent to another, don't stress over this small, insignificant issue.

    ceres wrote: »
    Skoal Cat is correct.
  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    aniqua wrote:
    As far as ruining time with my son.. I don't get to spend alot of time with him doing actual stuff. He goes to daycare, I go to work, we come home. That's about it almost every day except my day off and well, I work alot of OT usually but recently I haven't been able to so money is extremely tight. Its not like this farm is right around the corner, so I probably won't be able to take him back there to go apple picking too, which he will be disappointed and being a single mom I hate to see him disappointed. So it just irritated me. I was calm and handled it well, but still irritated at the time.

    I just moved and my car insurance went up $20 starting this month just because of where I moved to. I can't even afford that. That's why I'm really hoping this doesn't make my monthly rate go up even more. And because of this I am going to lose my 5yr good driver discount that was coming in Feb. I really needed that. :(

    I haven't called my insurance yet, but you guys are not the first ones to tell me I need to, so I will be within the hour. Going to try to get the police report tomorrow.

    Don't worry about what you do, just have fun with the time you have. Just like dates, stuff doesn't have to cost a lot of money - are there parks around? See what Fall/Halloween stuff your library has.

    Have you looked at other insurance companies? We switched to Amica, which was recommended on the boards here, and they were a lot cheaper than AllState, even with a couple of accidents on my record.

    Yeah, insurance is never your friend, but if the police were involved, and from what you said about the other driver, you'll want to call.

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  • Pure DinPure Din Rhode Island Registered User regular
    aniqua wrote:
    I just moved and my car insurance went up $20 starting this month just because of where I moved to. I can't even afford that. That's why I'm really hoping this doesn't make my monthly rate go up even more. And because of this I am going to lose my 5yr good driver discount that was coming in Feb. I really needed that. :(

    If your insurance goes up, try asking them if there's a driver improvement course you can take to make it go down again. My brother had a bunch of speeding tickets but was able to bring the insurance back down a bit by taking a defensive driving course over the internet (watching videos and taking multiple choice quizzes). Plus you mentioned your drivers ed kind of sucked, so it would be a good incentive to take a refresher.

  • aniquaaniqua Registered User
    Yea, drivers ed really is just a complete waste of time, but unfortunately its a requirement in RI to get your permit.

  • MushroomStickMushroomStick Registered User regular
    Pure Din wrote:
    aniqua wrote:
    I just moved and my car insurance went up $20 starting this month just because of where I moved to. I can't even afford that. That's why I'm really hoping this doesn't make my monthly rate go up even more. And because of this I am going to lose my 5yr good driver discount that was coming in Feb. I really needed that. :(

    If your insurance goes up, try asking them if there's a driver improvement course you can take to make it go down again. My brother had a bunch of speeding tickets but was able to bring the insurance back down a bit by taking a defensive driving course over the internet (watching videos and taking multiple choice quizzes). Plus you mentioned your drivers ed kind of sucked, so it would be a good incentive to take a refresher.

    Those refresher courses are usually offered by the state to wipe the ticket off your record, not by the insurance company to lower your rates. Wiping a ticket off your record may result in lower rates, however.

  • DraygoDraygo Registered User regular
    Insurance companies usually operate on a 'points' system. Where each infaction is worth a number of points. Lets say accident is 2 points, ticket is 1. If you reach 3 they raise your risk category and your rates. Sometimes insurance companies will drop points if you take a course they recommend. In this case you were in an accident where you were not issued a ticket, so you might not see your premiums go up (but as you said lose the chance of getting the discount in a few months). You are going to need to talk to your agent about this, they can clarify and answer any questions they might have.

    In this case you might be looking at your loss of the good driver discount which you currently dont have, and without increased premiums. Your results may vary. Varying insurance companies DO offer programs to reduce your premiums (or just offer a discount) if you take certain approved courses, ask about them.

  • FiggyFiggy Registered User regular
    You really need to talk to your insurance agent to find out how hour rates will be affected. Mine works nothing like in the post above.

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  • aniquaaniqua Registered User
    Well I got a call from my insurance today. The lady filed a claim against me, stating the accident was entirely MY fault. She said that she backed out and she was going in a forward motion and then I hit her. Which, is a total lie because that's not what happened. My insurance agent said its good that I have a witness to what happened, and that even if the cop didn't get the guy's name and info, that as long as the cop put in the report that there was a witness, then I should be ok. Bright side? If I do get found 100% at fault, then I still won't have to pay anything out of pocket. But of course, my monthly rate will go up. Stupid b*tch. I was OK with taking partial blame, but not entire blame. ugh.

  • ToxTox I kill threads Pharezon's human garbage heapRegistered User regular
    You hit her car with your car.

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  • FiggyFiggy Registered User regular
    She's not a stupid bitch. You backed into her. Your car hit her.

    It's really as simple as that most of the time, even if what you say is true and she backed out like a bat out of hell and then you hit her.

    You still hit her. There is no "right of way" in a parking lot.

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  • DhalphirDhalphir don't you open that trapdoor you're a fool if you dareRegistered User regular
    I really don't get how you could actually hit her though. Even if she backed out like a bat out of hell, at some point you're reversing and you suddenly see her car appear, and then you...don't brake? Either you saw her and didn't brake, or you didn't see her and that means you stopped looking behind you at some point, both of which mean it is your fault.

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  • Drake ChambersDrake Chambers Registered User regular
    edited October 2011
    Dhalphir wrote:
    I really don't get how you could actually hit her though. Even if she backed out like a bat out of hell, at some point you're reversing and you suddenly see her car appear, and then you...don't brake? Either you saw her and didn't brake, or you didn't see her and that means you stopped looking behind you at some point, both of which mean it is your fault.

    I think the disconnect here is still in the differing definitions of "looking". The OP has stated repeatedly that he was "looking" through his rear view mirror. Unless you've got some kind of awesome fish-eye mirror I think it's very possible for part of another vehicle to be behind yours without being viewable in your mirror.

    That being the case, I can't imagine the "I didn't see her" defense working out here, unless the OP can prove the other vehicle was employing a cloaking device.

    Drake Chambers on
  • Dr. FrenchensteinDr. Frenchenstein Registered User regular
    edited October 2011
    No money out of pocket even if you are found at fault? WTF? no deductible, no nothing? Man my insurance company SCREWED me. I got rear ended and had to pay my deductible, got it back 1 year later, but still...

    I think he is calling her stupid for "lying" to her insurance company. Unless someone has this witness' info, or the cops statement has the witness' account, it's probably no fault. A guy ran through a red light and hit me late one night. i made a claim on his insurance, he made one on mine. Both of us said the other ran the light. Both had to pay their own damages. Lucky me was driving a sedan, he was driving an explorer.

    Dr. Frenchenstein on
  • ceresceres Love is in the battlecry Nevada, USASuper Moderator, Moderator mod
    AFAIK (and IANAL), in my state (which not RI) a determination of fault must be made in all multi-vehicle accidents by the police officer when they take the report. It is very rare for the person who did the hitting not to be found at fault. Even if that person was stopped and the person behind them rammed them into the person in front of them, they will share a percentage of the fault on the report because you should have thought of that before you stopped less than a mile away from that car, you dick. I could be completely wrong about all of this, but that's my understanding, and also the reason I try to stick to the speed limit and stop laughably far away from whatever's in front of me.

    What I'm saying is that her insurance company (note that "her insurance company" is not the same as "her", by the way, before you start calling people names) can probably go after whatever percentage of the damages they want to if the police officer at the scene indicated on his report in whatever way he would do so that you were 100% at fault. He may well have done this after you left, or done it before you left and not explained it, but I'm pretty sure he's supposed to determine fault before he leaves, at least.

    Also, you hit her car with your car. Regardless of what direction she was moving, unless she was moving toward your car, you are meant to have your head pointed in the direction you are moving and so is she, and that means that if you were doing everything as you should you would be more likely to see her in time to stop than she would be to see you. It will seem like you should have had a better chance of stopping it, so you could easily be found entirely at fault.

    The best thing to do is be honest with your insurance company, let them handle it because they don't want to pay money any more than you do, take it as a lesson to either improve your technique or back in instead of out, and move on.

    JohnDies_zpsfe6c609e.jpg
    The avalanche has already started; it is too late for the pebbles to vote.
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