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Author Topic: Car accident - can't get in touch with the other guy  (Read 838 times)
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Lyno
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« on: August 13, 2011, 04:30:09 AM »

On Tue, a guy rear ends my motorcycle while I was waiting to turn right at a red light. I was behind a pickup truck at the time. The collision knocks both me and my passenger off the bike and onto the asphalt, the bike ends up partly in the adjacent lane. All traffic stops around us, the guy peels out in reverse, makes a reverse u-turn (so he's facing oncoming traffic), then takes off. Everyone else helps me and my passenger get off the road and move the bike. Me and my passenger are able to walk okay, but both of us are bruised (she ended up with severe whiplash and her entire back all black and blue the next day).

The other driver shows up 10 mins later (probably because his bumper is lying in the middle of turn lane - I took a picture of the license plate) and apologizes profusely. He claims he just bought the car that day from his cousin and that it's insured, but under his cousin's name, but he can't find the paperwork. I take his driver's license information and phone number down. He keeps apologizing and saying he'll make it up to me, etc.

I did not get a police report, nor did anyone call the cops. When I dropped by the Inglewood, CA police dept later that night, the officer explained they did not give accident reports unless it's a hit-n-run, but since the guy came back and we exchanged info, it's no longer a hit-n-run.

I called him 2 days after the accident after I researched the cost of replacement parts, got his gf, she said he'll call me back. I called again the next day, left  VM. Called again today, left another VM.

What should I do at this point? Should I get my insurance involved? I don't think I have uninsured vehicle coverage. Should I sue him in small claims court? I thought I got a witness, but he didn't want to give me his number, said he'd call me, but he never did. Can my passenger be the witness?

My bike still runs, the only obvious damage being the front fender is half destroyed, the license plate and holder are torn and will need replacing, and the left grip is all scratched up and no longer looks nice. The exhaust pipe is also damaged as it no longer seems to fit into the engine correctly and my bike keeps backfiring. If that's all that's wrong, then replacement parts come out to around $800-ish.

Thanks for any advice.

-Lyno
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Harkonis
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« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2011, 04:48:44 AM »

I still don't understand why people don't call the cops when in an accident, especially one with a motorcycle.

frown  Your life would be much easier if you had.
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SkyLander
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« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2011, 04:56:49 AM »

You should of called your insurance and filed with them right after you called the cops and got an accident report. And take your passenger to the hospital.

I'm confounded as to why you didn't do this.
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Sarkus
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« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2011, 05:20:52 AM »

If you want to give the guy another chance then call and this time tell him that if you don't hear anything in X amount of time you will call your insurance.  Or you could call your insurance now.  Either way, worst case scenario is that you end up having to pay it all yourself.  But that could end up happening whether he has insurance or not.

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« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2011, 05:37:19 AM »

It's customary to let your insurance company fight with his. Things vary from state to state, but generally speaking there's no reason to try to handle it yourself if you're insured.
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Lyno
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« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2011, 11:45:45 AM »

Quote from: Harkonis on August 13, 2011, 04:48:44 AM

I still don't understand why people don't call the cops when in an accident, especially one with a motorcycle.

frown  Your life would be much easier if you had.

Cops always make things more complicated. Disclaimer: I have never been arrested nor do I do anything that would get me arrested. I am also friends with a lot of cops.

Quote from: Sarkus on August 13, 2011, 05:20:52 AM

If you want to give the guy another chance then call and this time tell him that if you don't hear anything in X amount of time you will call your insurance.  Or you could call your insurance now.  Either way, worst case scenario is that you end up having to pay it all yourself.  But that could end up happening whether he has insurance or not.

I left a VM saying he had 2 days to get back to me. I have given him an update on the status of my bike with every message.

Quote from: SkyLander on August 13, 2011, 04:56:49 AM

You should of called your insurance and filed with them right after you called the cops and got an accident report. And take your passenger to the hospital.

I'm confounded as to why you didn't do this.

Quote from: Harkonis on August 13, 2011, 04:48:44 AM

I still don't understand why people don't call the cops when in an accident, especially one with a motorcycle.

frown  Your life would be much easier if you had.

I keep kicking myself for not calling the cops. But I couldn't stop fixating on the fact that you shouldn't call 911 unless you were in danger. The accident already happened, we were fine, and the guy was there giving me all his information. I was also in shock from getting rear ended while on a motorcycle.

Both me and my passenger felt fine after the accident. We even continued with our original plan to go dancing.

Quote from: Ironrod on August 13, 2011, 05:37:19 AM

It's customary to let your insurance company fight with his. Things vary from state to state, but generally speaking there's no reason to try to handle it yourself if you're insured.

That's the problem, I don't know who the guy's insurance is. He says it's under his cousin's name, but couldn't find the paperwork and didn't know who the company was. I have his name, his Driver's License number, his address, his phone number and his cousin's name (whom the car is supposedly insured). But he doesn't answer my phone calls so I can't get more info from him. I'm tempted to drive over to his house and see what he says face-to-face.

-Lyno
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rshetts2
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« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2011, 12:36:14 PM »

Insurance laws vary so much from state to state, it really depends on where you live.  As far as going to the house for a face to face,  just my opinion, but that sounds like a very bad idea.  You have no idea of who this guy really is and what he may do if confronted.  Seriously, people have been shot over less.
 If you have insurance, then let YOUR insurance company sort things out.  Call your agent immediately and find out exactly what your rights and obligations are and then go from there.
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Lyno
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« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2011, 01:13:13 PM »

Quote from: rshetts2 on August 13, 2011, 12:36:14 PM

Insurance laws vary so much from state to state, it really depends on where you live.  As far as going to the house for a face to face,  just my opinion, but that sounds like a very bad idea.  You have no idea of who this guy really is and what he may do if confronted.  Seriously, people have been shot over less.
 If you have insurance, then let YOUR insurance company sort things out.  Call your agent immediately and find out exactly what your rights and obligations are and then go from there.

I'm in southern California, I live in Buena Park (Orange County), the accident happened in Inglewood (middle of Los Angeles), but he lives in Paramount, about 15 mins from me. His car's front bumper fell off after he hit me. I'm pretty sure that's the only reason he came back.

I plan to call my insurance company today. I would have preferred to have settled this without getting them involved as I didn't want to have any accidents on my record, even if I wasn't at fault, as I understand my rates would go up.

-Lyno
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MonkeyFinger
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« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2011, 01:36:53 PM »

http://www.carinsurancerates.com/news/311-i-was-in-an-accident-that-wasnt-my-fault-will-my-car-insurance-go-up.html
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wonderpug
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« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2011, 01:40:55 PM »

Getting rear ended by a car so hard that you and your passenger get knocked off your bike and then having that driver attempt to flee the scene and then he comes back 10 minutes later and tells some sketchy story about how he just bought the car from his cousin but it's totally insured I swear... seems like a perfect time to get your insurance involved, even if there's a chance of your rates going up.  

You're already paying a ton of money to have your insurance company ready and waiting to help for a situation like this, is it not worth paying a bit more to actually get them engaged in a problem?  Every time you make a move on your own, like calling the guy's girlfriend or hatching a plan to knock on his front door, you hurt your case more and more.  You are not Perry Mason.  Get your insurance company's help.
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Ironrod
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« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2011, 05:33:50 PM »

Quote from: rshetts2 on August 13, 2011, 12:36:14 PM

If you have insurance, then let YOUR insurance company sort things out.  Call your agent immediately and find out exactly what your rights and obligations are and then go from there.

Yeah, that's what I was trying to say. Leave it to them to sort out the other guy's insurance status -- that's what they do. Don't know about CA, but here in MA an accident doesn't raise your insurance rate unless you are >50% at fault.
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corruptrelic
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« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2011, 07:15:49 PM »

Sounds like something that happened to me a number of years ago in Hallandale Beach, FL. I was riding my ninja (a bike..) just got off of I-95 and waiting at the light to get on Hallandale Bch Blvd when this idiot comes flying down the ramp and smacks into the back of my bike, sending me off of it and my bike to the asphalt. I was so pissed off I immediately got back up and was ready to fight, but he gets out of his car apologizing to no end. A car next to us rolled down their window and yelled "Sue him!!" so I said we needed to call the cops. He asked how much it'd cost to settle this between us so I said $500 (just threw a number out there) and he said OK didn't have the cash on him but I could follow him to the bank. Got back on my bike and followed him to the bank. Sure enough, he took out $500 and gave it to me, still apologizing. I accepted the apology and moved on. My bike luckily did not require any work (and I didn't have insurance for it either - not a requirement in Florida) so I walked away with $500.
If it had not been for the bribe, I would have called the cops and got his insurance involved. (Assuming he even had it, in South Florida you'd be surprised how many people drive without insurance.)

Your case is different though as others already pointed out.. in your first post you said you both got hurt including your girlfriend getting bruised up black and blue on her back, your bike got a little messed up.. and the idiot who hit you flew the scene of an accident after he hit you. Realizing his bumper was still there and knowing they have something to track it back to him, he comes back with some BS story that may or may not be true. Point is, by him fleeing the scene he already proved he couldn't be trusted. That alone would have had me calling the police.  Now that he's not returning your calls (big surprise for someone involved in a hit and run!) it only proves he can't be trusted. I second calling your insurance company right now and getting them involved. It was his fault, not yours. You gave him too many chances to work this out with you already and he chose not to.. now it's time to get others involved.

Good luck.
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Harkonis
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« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2011, 07:44:34 PM »

heh, corruptaholic takes a bribe..  fitting name I suppose slywink
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Lyno
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« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2011, 10:11:15 PM »

I called my insurance today (Progressive), the guy on the line was very understanding and sympathetic. Says this happens pretty often, ie guy hits someone, takes off, then realizes their bumper fell off and comes back.

He also explained that I could have called 911 at any time and they would route my call accordingly, even if it was no longer a life threatening emergency. He also said that calling the cops is an appropriate action if the other driver couldn't provide insurance information. So hope someone learns from my experience and doesn't get worried about calling 911 for a non-injury accident.

The insurance guy says they will call me before noon Mon to take me through the next step in the process. I hope the next guy is as helpful and understanding as this guy was. Progressive gets 5 stars for customer service at this point in the claims process.

-Lyno
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Lyno
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« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2011, 10:46:58 PM »

Progressive just called me about an hour after I reported the initial claim. Took my statement and says he will run the guy's plates through the system to see if the car is insured or not, but he's not too hopeful about that. I have liability only insurance on the bike (collision would have doubled the insurance rate), so I would need to take the guy to small claims court to recover the money. He says I would have no problem winning the judgement, but collecting the money on the other hand... He'll give me an update by Tue or Wed.

So far the Progressive customer service has been top notch. My own fault for being cheap and not getting collision insurance as well. Damn those uninsured drivers!

-Lyno
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Lyno
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« Reply #15 on: August 14, 2011, 12:25:50 AM »

The Progressive agent also recommend I call both the CHP and the Inglewood police dept to report this guy as an uninsured driver. I will have fond daydreams of him getting hassled daily by the cops.

-Lyno
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« Reply #16 on: August 14, 2011, 04:54:43 AM »

First off, you had EVERY reason to call 911 at the time. A driver fleeing the scene of an accident sounds like a recipe for more problems to me.

I can't help but wonder if the guy that came back in the car is the same one that was driving or if anything or anyone was removed from the car in the meantime.
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« Reply #17 on: August 15, 2011, 12:08:46 AM »

Depending on the local ordances, you should also be able to go to the police station and issue a summons/ticket for uninsured motorist...
Also, just because he says he just bought his cosuins vehicle doesn't make it true... You may be able to go after the cousins insurance....
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Lyno
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« Reply #18 on: August 15, 2011, 09:33:50 AM »

Quote from: Punisher on August 15, 2011, 12:08:46 AM

Depending on the local ordances, you should also be able to go to the police station and issue a summons/ticket for uninsured motorist...
Also, just because he says he just bought his cosuins vehicle doesn't make it true... You may be able to go after the cousins insurance....

The insurance claims guy from Progressive recommended I do this, so I called the California Highway Patrol and the Inglewood Police Dept and reported him.

Oh yeah, CHP - very helpful. Inglewood PD - not so much.

-Lyno
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« Reply #19 on: August 16, 2011, 09:43:30 PM »

Quote from: Harkonis on August 13, 2011, 04:48:44 AM

I still don't understand why people don't call the cops when in an accident, especially one with a motorcycle.

frown  Your life would be much easier if you had.

Police don't want to be involved unless there is a need to.  Seriously.  I've been a passenger in two accidents, and the officers were call.  In both cases they were non-injury situations.  Officers took over an hour to show up, handed each of the drivers accident report pages and told them to 'Send them in to Austin so they'd have the accident numbers for the year.' and left.

911/Police only care if there has been a criminal situation or someone is injured and needs EMT/Ambulance (at least here in Dallas/Ft. Worth)

What I have learned is that no matter what, inform your insurance.  The other guy in one of those accidents did not, while we did, and he called my friend up *really quick* after we reported yelling 'What did you say? They #$%@#% dropped me from my insurance.'  We asked if he reported it.  He said 'No, there wasn't any damage to my car.  Didn't need to.'  Insurance companies don't like it if you don't call in an accident, claim or no.
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