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Discussion Starter #1
My wife recently got into an accident (wife and baby are fine, so is other driver). She was rear ended when she stopped short because of a jerk jumping out in front of her. My body shop manager suggested I wait to get the police report to determine if I file a claim thru our or the other driver's ins. He stated that if we file a claim with the other driver at fault, our ins company might charge us for the work of putting a claim on the other driver's ins.... I'm not sure what that means. But I wanted to get everyone's thoughts... Here's the situation....

My wife merges onto a fast 2 lane road (55mph limit) from the left. Traffic is light. There's a beetle driving behind her. She merges and goes into the right lane. Beetle stays in the left lane. About 500-600 feet ahead is a gas station on the right. An SUV waiting at the exit of the gas station, decides to get out just as my wife is approaching (approx. 50 ft away). Driver of the SUV sees her coming and stops, but is already out on the road (stupid). My wife hits the brakes and stops short of hitting the SUV. However, her car swerves over to the left lane (she didn't turn the wheel) and ended about 1-2 feet into the left lane. A few seconds later the beetle hits her in the driver's side rear bumper (about 6 inches from the bumper's corner is where the impact appears to be).

The beetle's driver tells my wife that she saw the SUV jump out in front of her. The officer, after taking statements, stated that my wife stopped short and swerved into the left lane and the beetle's driver drove staright and hit my wife's car. The road has a shoulder on the left side (none on the right), which I think the driver of the beetle could have moved to to avoid the accident, especially seeing what was what was happening.

I was wondering what your thoughts are about the accident and if my wife can be found at fault by the ins company.
I haven't gotten the police report yet. Will do in a couple of days. Thanks.
 

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Reading the sequence of events, it appears that unless you got the insurance information for the SUV that cut your wife off, then she is at fault. The Beetle technically did not rear end her, since she swerved in front of it from another lane (even though it was not intentionally done, nonetheless it was the outcome). At 50 feet away, its impossible to stop from 55mph. So if the SUV was really out into the road, then your wife would have had to swerve to avoid it right?

Ultimately the SUV that pulled out of the gas station was at fault, but unless you got that driver's insurance info, you don't really have any claim against another driver to file. I do not believe the Beetle is at fault at all since the Beetle did nothing to cause the accident. If someone cut me off, I would not want to be ruled "at fault" because I didn't swerve onto the shoulder.

The only situation where a car from behind is at fault is on a straight on rear end collision. Then in such a situation, the driver behind would be cited for following too close. But I don't think this applies for situations where a car swerved in front of you.
 

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yep...
Here they would cite your wife for failure to maintain her lane.
As a cop once told me, even if a mack truck pulls out in front of you, if you swerve out of your lane and something happens, it's your fault (by the law and insurance).
Of course the person who pulled out in front of her was really responsible, but unless you have a witness, it's moot.
Sorry man.
 

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I think in any state the Beetle would not be at fault.

If the driver of the SUV left, it would be concidered a hit and run, but its hard to prove that they knew they caused a accident. It sounds like the other driver confirmed your account that a SUV jumped out in front of you. So it would likely be covered under your uninsured motorist coverage. This shouldn't raise rates.

In California, if you can't identify the driver in a lineup (not just the car) the police will do very little to help you locate them. Without a positive ID it becomes a "Civil matter for your insurance company" Can you tell I've been down this road.

If you don't know who the driver is check with the station for security tapes and transactions just before the accident.

My policy is "If you cause the accident, I'm going to hit YOU first!" I know thats easy to say when I'm sitting at my desk!


Drive Safe

Ken D.
 

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Its possible the driver of the other SUV didn't even know there was an accident if it just kept going.
 

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kdesvern said:
I think in any state the Beetle would not be at fault.
Disagree.

Rear-End Collisions...

If someone hits you from behind, it is virtually never your fault, regardless of why you stopped. A basic rule of the road requires a vehicle to be able to stop safely if traffic is stopped ahead of it. If it cannot stop safely, the driver is not driving as safely as the person in front.

The other sure-fire part of the rear-end accident claim is that the damage proves how it happened: If one car's front end is damaged and the other's rear end is, there can't be much argument about who struck whom. Of course, the driver of the car that hit you may have a claim against someone who caused you to stop suddenly, or against a third car that pushed his car into yours. But that doesn't change his or her responsibility for injuries to you and damage to your car.

Keep in mind, however, that even if you have been rear-ended, in a few circumstances your own carelessness may reduce your compensation under the rule of "comparative negligence." A common example is when one or both of your brake or tail lights were out, especially if the accident happened at night. Another example is if you had mechanical problems but failed to do all you could to move the vehicle off the road.

I'll lay dollars to doughnuts the VW's insurance company pays.

Keep us posted.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks all for your input.
Unfortunately the SUV drove off after hearing the collision. My wife didn't think about getting his license, as she was more concerned about our baby. I'll have to ask the station manager if they have surveillance cameras and tapes.

I don't think my wife was driving 55mph.... knowing the way she drives (cautiously) she was proabably going 40-45mph, since she just merged into the road, which I think is why she was able to stop in time without hitting the SUV.

From what I've heard and know these are my thoughts on the parties who can/may be at fault, either partial or fully.
1) I think the beetle should be at fault (if not full then partial) for these reasons. a) She saw the SUV pull in front of my wife and had time to prepare for possiable trouble. b) Seeing whats coming she also had room to move to the side to avoid the collision, it's not like she's boxed in. c) Like Mr3Putt said, if you hit someone from behind you're always at fault.
2) That damn SUV should be 100% at fault... but he cannotbe ID'd at this time. :mad:
3) My wife may be partially at fault because she swerved into the left lane.... although intentional.... She said the car swerved from the hard braking, that she didn't turn the wheel to avoid hitting the SUV, since she knew the beetle was back there.... I hope this is not the case. :confused:


The other pisser to this story was that the cop taking statements was giving my wife an attitude, but not so to the beetle driver. I guess babies don't sweeten up cops as much as a pretty young girl, who was driving the beetle. Not to stereotype, since the first cop on the scene was really nice to my wife.... unfortunately it wasn't his jurisdiction to report the accident. :3:

My ins agent also wanted to see the police report and our statement before filing any claims. I'll keep you posted on the events and outcome.
 

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It is a tough call. Your wife did what's right in that she avoided the SUV - however she put herself in harms way by going in to another lane of traffic.

If the Beetle driver saw potential for an accident - she should have slowed/braked as needed.

Anyway - thumbs up to your wife for paying attention and not having things end up worse than they are now. At least everyone was able to walk away - which might not have been the case if she hit the SUV at 40.
 

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Unfortunately I do not see this as a rear end collision. Your wife drove into the Beetle's lane just before the accident so there was no requirement for the beetle to have maintained a safe distance with the car ahead, and it was therefore not its fault. The driver of the Beetle is only guilty of not having perhaps enough experience to have done the right thing.

When my wife totaled our 4-Runner, she drove out of driveway into a path of an oncoming truck. She insisted that the other driver was at fault because he could have moved to another lane to avoid hitting her. Granted, the other driver could have, and should have, easily avoided the accident as there was plenty of time and space. Even he said so himself! But he was only a 16 year old who was inexperienced and when my wife drove in front of him he just panicked. So it took a while for him to react to the situation and even longer to slam on his brakes.

Police report stated that my wife was 100% at fault, and I agree!
 

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The car involved "behind" in a rear ender is only at fault if both vehicles were travelling in the same lane at the time of the accident. If a car swerved suddenly into the lane in front of the car, then I cannot see how the driver of the beetle could be blamed for not maintaining a safe distance.
 

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zebelkhan said:
Unfortunately I do not see this as a rear end collision. Your wife drove into the Beetle's lane just before the accident so there was no requirement for the beetle to have maintained a safe distance with the car ahead, and it was therefore not its fault. The driver of the Beetle is only guilty of not having perhaps enough experience to have done the right thing.

When my wife totaled our 4-Runner, she drove out of driveway into a path of an oncoming truck. She insisted that the other driver was at fault because he could have moved to another lane to avoid hitting her. Granted, the other driver could have, and should have, easily avoided the accident as there was plenty of time and space. Even he said so himself! But he was only a 16 year old who was inexperienced and when my wife drove in front of him he just panicked. So it took a while for him to react to the situation and even longer to slam on his brakes.

Police report stated that my wife was 100% at fault, and I agree!
I agree completely. There are rules of the road and claiming that someone could have accomodated another driver who is not following those rules, opens the door to others to continually abuse the rights of other drivers and perform intentional and unintential dangerous acts without concern for consequences.

It's a shame when something truly is an error in judgement or a lapse of attention, but that doesn't make it OK. And that's part of accepting the privilege of driving.

I used to have a manufacturers rep in the DC area that would drive on the highway, with his daytimer open, a coffee in one hand and cell phone in the other. Drove me nuts. One time he called me while doing this and all of a sudden started screaming.

Dumped the fresh hot coffee on his lap. It was funny in a scary way, as he was doing 70 MPH at the time.:eek:
 

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jaak said:


There are rules of the road and claiming that someone could have accomodated another driver who is not following those rules, opens the door to others to continually abuse the rights of other drivers and perform intentional and unintential dangerous acts without concern for consequences.

Like it or not, that's the way it is.

In a perfect world there would be no such thing as a tort.

(Just for the record, personally I agree that the VW should NOT be liable)

That said: Any takers on the doughnut bet?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well, my wife is going to see if the police report is ready and will pick it up. I'll post updates.

Mr3Putt - To clarify... you're betting doughnuts that the beetle will be found at fault and her ins co pays? But you believe that should not be the case?
 

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mozman said:
Well, my wife is going to see if the police report is ready and will pick it up. I'll post updates.

Mr3Putt - To clarify... you're betting doughnuts that the beetle will be found at fault and her ins co pays? But you believe that should not be the case?
To clarify:

I'm betting the Insurance company for the VW pays, fault is irrelevant.

And personally, I don't think that's how it should work, only how I believe it will.

As an aside, I've been wrong before.

It will be interesting to see how this issue is resolved.

What state are you in?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I'm in NJ.... thought I had it posted... will fix....

Curious as to why you think the VW ins pays with fault irrelevant? Wouldn't they pay out only if they found the beetle to be at fault or partially pay if found partially at fault?
 

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In some states, and even in some cities, unless it is quite obviously malicious, everything is "no fault" in car accidents. Saves time. It does make insurance for that area very high.
 

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We went no fault in Ontario. Yes, it saves time and saves the insurance companies money. However, people that are not at fault, end up subsidising those that are. I hate it.

So what's the end result? Shareholders want profit. Easy profit is raise rates for anyone involved in an accident, which effectively doubles who's rates you can raise when it's no fault, or as we say, it's always "Yo Fault" even if you aren't.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Is it possible to have a police report changed????
We got a copy of the police report and it's totally wrong. Here's what is states:

" Driver 1 (my wife) states a MV exited the gulf stationg into her lane. Driver 1 states she applied the brakes and attempted to avoid a crash. When she atempted to avoid the crash MV1 crossed into the left lane and MV1 struck MV2. Driver 2 states she saw MV1 trying to avoid a crash but had no time to react to MV1 entering her lane. Mv1 struck MV2."

I don't know how the officer can stated that my wife struck the beetle, when the point of impact on my wife's car is at the rear of the car. Not the side. This is so frustrating. I would think that any ins co would take a look at the damage and come to the same conclusion. Am I wrong here?

We're going to call the police department and see if we can get the statement corrected... if possible.

ugh....:3:
 

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mozman said:
Is it possible to have a police report changed????
Yes. Unless the word "struck" means something else, clearly the officer confused the MV1 and MV2 in his statement and that is correctible. Just contact either the officer or his station.
 

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I would like to say that it is typical.....but that doesn't help anything.

I have had a police report done on an accident were a girl rammed me from an isle lane in a parking lot while I was in the main thoroughfare. She obviously had exit fever and was blasting up the isle intending on crossing the main thoroughfare and going diagonally across the remaining empty isles to an exit.
The policeman wrote it up like we turned into each other.

She not only hit me once but attempted to drive off an hit me again and broke her axle. That totalled a car I really loved....cost me about 4k....

If you do get the report ammended, it will be a miracle.
Sorry.
:(
 
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