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Car Sandwich. What do I need to watch out for?

Shark_MegaByteShark_MegaByte Registered User regular
edited December 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
I was in the middle of a three-car wreck last night. Traffic slowed down, I slowed down, I (01 Toyota Solara) would've stopped without hitting the person in front of me ('08 Mercedes SUV), but the guy behind me ('09 Nissan van) didn't stop in time, hit me and pushed me into the back of the SUV.

I didn't see much of the SUV driver, but as far as I know nobody had injury complaints and everyone declined treatment/ambulance transport at the scene. I have a loose tooth and a sore chest, either from bumping the wheel or the seat belt bringing me up short. Head didn't hit anything, my jaw just snapped shut.

SUV has damage to the rear bumper area. My front bumper/headlights/grill/hood are pretty smashed up, and rear bumper/trunk are dented with my muffler hanging loose. My airbags didn't deploy, and my car started but wouldn't move. Van's bumper/hood/grill are similarly smashed up, and both their airbags deployed.

Nobody flipped out and got into debates about whose fault it was. Cops took down everyone's name, contact info, and insurance info, and handed out printouts. Tow service has my car. I sent in my claim info last night online (I have Progressive). Site said they'd call me by noon Monday to follow up. I have phone camera pictures, mostly of my car but one of the front of the van.

I'm a little worried about the tow/private impound charges. I would be surprised if the damage isn't enough to total the car, and I probably couldn't move it if I wanted to. Tow driver told me regular hours are 8-5 Monday through Friday, and doing business outside those hours costs extra.

Never dealt with damage worse than cosmetic dents before. What do I need to know to keep this from turning out worse than it already is?

Shark_MegaByte on

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    MushroomStickMushroomStick Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    Your jaw snapped shut. I would get get that looked at asap if I were you. When I was a kid, my best friend's mom was in an accident like that and later found out that when her jaw snapped shut that it cracked several of her teeth below the gum line. She found out the hard way that figuring that out months later can make it next to impossible get car insurance to take care of it.

    MushroomStick on
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    Shark_MegaByteShark_MegaByte Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    Yeah, I'll call and get on a wait list with my dentist to get seen if any openings come up this week. There's enough wrong with my mouth without accidentstuff (childhood cancer, radiation, weak roots). Thanks for the reinforcement, reminds me not to procrastinate on that.

    Shark_MegaByte on
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    VisionOfClarityVisionOfClarity Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    You may want to consider talking to an attorney if you feel like your insurance company or the person who hit you and caused the accident may be dicking you around.

    VisionOfClarity on
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    WezoinWezoin Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    Yeah, your steps should be

    1) Get your teeth checked out before agreeing on any reimbursement from insurance
    2) Figure out what the tow/impound charges will be and work to get your insurance to cover it
    3) Try to get out of being at fault for anything, but it may not be possible as from what I've heard in a 3 car crash the middle person is usually considered at fault for the person in front.
    4) Search on craigslist/Autotrader/local dealerships to look for a similar car and make sure your insurance is giving you enough to cover them + teeth repairs +towing/impound. They probably have a 'value' on paper for it, but they are responsible for covering replacement cost - what it would cost you to get a new one rather than their (probably low) estimated value. If you can show them that they aren't giving you enough to replace your car with the same make/model/similar mileage and features, they will have to give you more.

    Wezoin on
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    VisionOfClarityVisionOfClarity Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    Wezoin wrote: »
    3) Try to get out of being at fault for anything, but it may not be possible as from what I've heard in a 3 car crash the middle person is usually considered at fault for the person in front.

    This is why I think a lawyer could be worth it. Since the car that rear-ended him pushed him into the car in front of him he should not be at fault and needs to fight it if the insurance tries to get him for it.

    VisionOfClarity on
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    japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    If you're being held at fault for hitting the person in front, the question to ask is how many impacts that driver felt. If they felt one impact only, that's strong evidence in support of your version of events. Obviously this would be done via your insurer or representative, but make sure they ask the question.

    japan on
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    matt has a problemmatt has a problem Points to 'off' Points to 'on'Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    japan wrote: »
    If you're being held at fault for hitting the person in front, the question to ask is how many impacts that driver felt. If they felt one impact only, that's strong evidence in support of your version of events. Obviously this would be done via your insurer or representative, but make sure they ask the question.
    The police should've also asked this question at the scene, and put it on the police report. Be sure that in any communication with your insurance company you state that you were hit first, and pushed into the car in front of you.

    matt has a problem on
    nibXTE7.png
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    japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    japan wrote: »
    If you're being held at fault for hitting the person in front, the question to ask is how many impacts that driver felt. If they felt one impact only, that's strong evidence in support of your version of events. Obviously this would be done via your insurer or representative, but make sure they ask the question.
    The police should've also asked this question at the scene, and put it on the police report. Be sure that in any communication with your insurance company you state that you were hit first, and pushed into the car in front of you.

    I don't know what the situation is like in the US, but in the UK it isn't routine for solicitors or insurance companies to request the police report, because it costs money, rarely contains any information that can't be obtained from the drivers, and is of questionable reliability because whoever completed the report almost invariably didn't see the accident, and any statements made at the time by the drivers can't necessarily be taken as accurate (because they've just been in a car accident).

    japan on
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    matt has a problemmatt has a problem Points to 'off' Points to 'on'Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    japan wrote: »
    japan wrote: »
    If you're being held at fault for hitting the person in front, the question to ask is how many impacts that driver felt. If they felt one impact only, that's strong evidence in support of your version of events. Obviously this would be done via your insurer or representative, but make sure they ask the question.
    The police should've also asked this question at the scene, and put it on the police report. Be sure that in any communication with your insurance company you state that you were hit first, and pushed into the car in front of you.

    I don't know what the situation is like in the US, but in the UK it isn't routine for solicitors or insurance companies to request the police report, because it costs money, rarely contains any information that can't be obtained from the drivers, and is of questionable reliability because whoever completed the report almost invariably didn't see the accident, and any statements made at the time by the drivers can't necessarily be taken as accurate (because they've just been in a car accident).
    Insurance companies here tend to take the police reports as the gospel truth.

    matt has a problem on
    nibXTE7.png
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    WezoinWezoin Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    japan wrote: »
    If you're being held at fault for hitting the person in front, the question to ask is how many impacts that driver felt. If they felt one impact only, that's strong evidence in support of your version of events. Obviously this would be done via your insurer or representative, but make sure they ask the question.
    The police should've also asked this question at the scene, and put it on the police report. Be sure that in any communication with your insurance company you state that you were hit first, and pushed into the car in front of you.

    In most jurisdictions this is irrelevant. Most places if you're in an accident and you're the car behind a car you're automatically at fault for hitting the car in front of you, regardless of whether you actually could have prevented it. This includes being rear-ended into the car in front of you.

    Wezoin on
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    Shark_MegaByteShark_MegaByte Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    japan wrote: »
    the question to ask is how many impacts that driver felt. If they felt one impact only, that's strong evidence in support of your version of events.

    Thank you! Would not have thought of that. Definitely going to remember it and get that from the front driver if the police didn't.
    Be sure that in any communication with your insurance company you state that you were hit first, and pushed into the car in front of you.

    They actually called me back since my last post (reps working weekends = nice) and I told them this on the phone in addition to saying it in the online report. They also said not to stress about the tow yard charging for having the car over the weekend, they'll handle that.
    Wezoin wrote: »
    Most places if you're in an accident and you're the car behind a car you're automatically at fault for hitting the car in front of you, regardless of whether you actually could have prevented it. This includes being rear-ended into the car in front of you.

    That would suck, but noted. I guess I'll keep in mind that it might go either way.

    Shark_MegaByte on
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    ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    Wezoin wrote: »
    japan wrote: »
    If you're being held at fault for hitting the person in front, the question to ask is how many impacts that driver felt. If they felt one impact only, that's strong evidence in support of your version of events. Obviously this would be done via your insurer or representative, but make sure they ask the question.
    The police should've also asked this question at the scene, and put it on the police report. Be sure that in any communication with your insurance company you state that you were hit first, and pushed into the car in front of you.

    In most jurisdictions this is irrelevant. Most places if you're in an accident and you're the car behind a car you're automatically at fault for hitting the car in front of you, regardless of whether you actually could have prevented it. This includes being rear-ended into the car in front of you.
    Yup, in general, in the U.S., if you rear-ended someone, you were following too closely.

    This applies even if they roll back into you.

    Thanatos on
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    reddeathreddeath Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    I was the lead car in one of these type of wrecks a couple of years ago. From what I understand both people behind me were responsible to a degree according to my insurance company and the police. They ended up getting money from both to pay back my deductible. It's pretty much led to me never tailgating, ever.

    reddeath on
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    Iceman.USAFIceman.USAF Major East CoastRegistered User regular
    edited December 2010
    Also, about the tow company.

    If you're in the US and they have your vehicle, odds are they are legally bound to operate 24 hours for you. They cannot charge extra for this in most states. Obviously it varies but in MD and VA this is true at least.

    Iceman.USAF on
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    FiggyFiggy Fighter of the night man Champion of the sunRegistered User regular
    edited December 2010
    In a multiple car collision, you take a portion of fault if you are pushed into someone. The idea is that you should have been leaving enough room to stop AND get hit without hitting anyone else.

    Figgy on
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