Property & Casualty Insurance/Rear Bumper Damaged From Car Behind
QUESTION: Hello Mr. Berliner,
On 12-1-15, at night in bumper to bumper traffic, an automobile behind me struck my Jeep's rear bumper. My lights and directional signals were and are working properly. My bumper was dented in about two inches but there was no other visible damage to my vehicle above or behind my rear bumper. After the accident, my lights and directional signals are all continuing to work properly, although there was considerable damage to the other driver's front grill, radiator frame/housing, and front hood. There was another adult and a child in the car with the other driver but no admitted injuries
After writing down the name, personal telephone number, and license plate number of the driver behind me, we both pulled off of the street into a fast food restaurant parking lot about fifty feet away where the driver of the car behind me gave me their personal and work address, work telephone number, insurance agency name, agency telephone number, and policy number. Since there were no admitted injuries to anyone involved, I did not call for a police report. The driver asked to pay my damages out of their own pocket once I get a few estimates and they will be calling me back by evening of 12-7-15. They also asked me if I would not call their auto insurance agency which they listed.
There are four questions:
1. Should both I and/or the other driver have called police for a report and left our vehicles in the street, even with this minor of damage and no admitted injuries?
2. Will not having a police report filed jeopardize or nullify my right to receive damage payment from this other driver in the future?
3. After damage estimates are completed, if the other driver changes mind and decides to let their insurance pay for damages, will my not having an accident report filed jeopardize or nullify my right to receive damage payment from their insurance company?
4. Do I need to have this other driver sign any type of paper(s) or form(s) after the driver and I agree to an estimate price early next week and my vehicle goes in for repair?
Thank you so much for any help.
ANSWER: So sorry to hear about the accident. To fully protect your rights, it is advantageous to have police come to the scene of an accident when you are not at fault. If the person who struck you is an honest, law-abiding citizen, you need not worry, but that is hard to tell from an 'accidental' meeting.
At this point, if you get the check from the person you are all set. If there are any pauses or hiccups, I would get the police involved, it is not too late.
Sometimes the person repairing your car finds additional damage once the car is opened up, so make sure everyone is on board with that possibility.
No need for the other driver to sign anything if they are willing to take responsibility.
Again, if the person admits responsibility to their own insurance company, they should believe him and make payments to you.
Apologies for the rushed response, heading out for the weekend. Please get back to me if there are any additional follow-up questions.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Thank you Mr. Berliner,
I informed the girl who hit my rear bumper last week that I would get back with her by 12/7/15 with a couple of estimates, of which one she happily accepted. The phone number the girl gave me was to her Mom. She was in her Mom's car. The Mother told me yesterday that they would cover damages themselves and asked if I could wait until Friday 12/11/15 for the girl to sell some bonds. I told her that is o.k. She has also agreed to sign a form I constructed for the mother and daughter to sign relating to any further damages which may be found during repair of the bumper and also a clause asking her to pay for a rental car during repairs. I have copied and pasted the form I emailed her today below:
I,(We), understand that a vehicle rental fee will be needed by Michael D. Eidson during the rear bumper repair process of Michael D. Eidson's 1993 Jeep Cherokee Sport 4X4 by Maaco Collision Repair and Auto Painting, 5169 Hickory Hollow Parkway in Antioch, Tennessee 37013. Michael has stated that Maaco Collision Repair and Auto Painting has stated that the repair should take two to possibly three days and that the vehicle rental fee will be $35.00 per day.
The estimate for the bumper repair given to Michael D. Eidson by Maaco Collision Repair and Auto Painting, at the aforementioned address in Antioch, Tennessee, comes to a grand total of $624.80. Maaco Collision Repair and Auto Painting has additionally informed Michael D. Eidson that in such an event that any further damage above and beyond the grand total of $624.80, due only to the collision by Mrs. Randi Rickles, may be discovered during the bumper repair process, that Mrs. Rickles will agree to pay for those additional damages which may be discovered during the bumper repair process. Any further damages which may be discovered during this bumper repair process would be documented in writing by Maaco Collision Repair and Auto painting at the aforementioned address in Antioch, Tennessee.
A four page photocopy of this Maaco repair estimate is available upon request from Michael D. Eidson. Any further information will gladly be provided by Michael D. Eidson upon request.
Michael D. Eidson
420 Welshwood Drive
End of Form
I will contact you again Mr. Berliner should I run into any snags.
Thank you greatly for your previous reply.
Michael D. Eidson
Not sure how this slipped by me, just saw it. The form looks good to me, though it is more of a legal form than an insurance form. Sounds like you are well on your way to having this repaired, happy to assist in any way if you need me...
Best wishes for a Happy New Year