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Old 03-29-2010, 03:47 AM
 
Location: Washington DC
146 posts, read 360,891 times
Reputation: 69

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Hey, everybody...

When I rented a Hertz Toyata Yarius in northern CA a couple of weeks ago, I got in an accident with another vehicle. To keep it simple and sweet, I came to a full stop at a 3-way intersection stop sign (a small road going into a main street). I looked both ways to make sure no incoming traffic was coming, then made a left turn. Out of the blue, a SUV/van came barreling into me. Luckily (very), the van hit the back door on the driver's side... barely avoided hitting me directly. The damage was pretty bad, although not too bad. I wasn't hurt, just shaken up and had a few minor bruises. The back door was totaled, and a tire blew out, I believe. The car had to be towed away to the local Hertz where I was, where I did an exchange.

Now, what should I expect in terms of insurance/paying/etc? Here are the key points to know:

*I had LDW on the car. (Details)
*The other elderly couple involved weren't hurt seriously. The man, however, had a hurt arm, so he went to the hospital. He was able to drive away just fine, though.
*The van had a front rack, so only minimal damage was done--at least from my perspective.

The cop handling the situation didn't do a very good job of facilitating communication, and nor did the couple in the SUV. I'm not entirely blaming them, as I am Deaf, so it provided a somewhat unique situation. I had my information given to them. However, I never got their contact information, and the cop involved is currently digging his heels in getting their contact information to me, telling me to contact Hertz, claiming they have the information. They don't.

I'm in contact with the Hertz Claims department through email, although right now they are still establishing the information. I was determined to be at fault by the officer (making an unsafe entry on the road) although he told me there were many accidents at that corner, due to it being a blind corner. Hertz told me that if I was determined to be at fault, I wouldn't have to pay any damages, but if I was determined to be NOT at fault, I would have to pay. Kinda seems backwards, but the police report should work in my favor, then (although I disagree with their results).

My question is... what should I expect coming from the other party? I'm a college student not wanting to be sued, or having to fork over thousands... I have no idea if they have insurance, or what kind. Heck, I don't even know their names! The old man driving the SUV was very nice, however, and patted my cheeks when I told him I was sorry for what happened. Any advice/suggestions/pointers?

Thanks for your time, and my apologies for the length on this.

Andrew
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Old 03-29-2010, 07:31 AM
 
12,292 posts, read 18,409,613 times
Reputation: 19160
About 75% of your post was non-relevant (cop said lots of accidents at the intersection - doesn't matter). What you didn't include was things that do matter - your personal insurance or possibily some benifits on your credit card.

The LDW appears to cover your rental car, so I think you are safe from any Hertz liability. So the only question remains is your liability for the other car and hospital expenses. Theoritically they can sue you for that amount. My guess is there own insurance will handle it as they won't expect to get much out of a college student. But I would research options you have with your own insurance and/or credit cards.

This is a legal issue probably out of scope for this forum. If the other driver/insurance comes after you for payment then it's time to seek professional legal advice, not internet forum advice.
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Old 03-29-2010, 06:25 PM
 
162 posts, read 353,470 times
Reputation: 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy1369 View Post
Hey, everybody...

When I rented a Hertz Toyata Yarius in northern CA a couple of weeks ago, I got in an accident with another vehicle. To keep it simple and sweet, I came to a full stop at a 3-way intersection stop sign (a small road going into a main street). I looked both ways to make sure no incoming traffic was coming, then made a left turn. Out of the blue, a SUV/van came barreling into me. Luckily (very), the van hit the back door on the driver's side... barely avoided hitting me directly. The damage was pretty bad, although not too bad. I wasn't hurt, just shaken up and had a few minor bruises. The back door was totaled, and a tire blew out, I believe. The car had to be towed away to the local Hertz where I was, where I did an exchange.

Now, what should I expect in terms of insurance/paying/etc? Here are the key points to know:

*I had LDW on the car. (Details)
*The other elderly couple involved weren't hurt seriously. The man, however, had a hurt arm, so he went to the hospital. He was able to drive away just fine, though.
*The van had a front rack, so only minimal damage was done--at least from my perspective.

The cop handling the situation didn't do a very good job of facilitating communication, and nor did the couple in the SUV. I'm not entirely blaming them, as I am Deaf, so it provided a somewhat unique situation. I had my information given to them. However, I never got their contact information, and the cop involved is currently digging his heels in getting their contact information to me, telling me to contact Hertz, claiming they have the information. They don't.

I'm in contact with the Hertz Claims department through email, although right now they are still establishing the information. I was determined to be at fault by the officer (making an unsafe entry on the road) although he told me there were many accidents at that corner, due to it being a blind corner. Hertz told me that if I was determined to be at fault, I wouldn't have to pay any damages, but if I was determined to be NOT at fault, I would have to pay. Kinda seems backwards, but the police report should work in my favor, then (although I disagree with their results).

My question is... what should I expect coming from the other party? I'm a college student not wanting to be sued, or having to fork over thousands... I have no idea if they have insurance, or what kind. Heck, I don't even know their names! The old man driving the SUV was very nice, however, and patted my cheeks when I told him I was sorry for what happened. Any advice/suggestions/pointers?

Thanks for your time, and my apologies for the length on this.

Andrew
Hmmmm...it was a "blind corner" and many other accidents had occurred there? You might have a case to assert that the county is negligent for allowing that situation to continue (depending on whether the signs were visible, if there is an overgrowth of foliage, obstructing one's view, etc), in which case you would not be held liable. There has been precedent set for this. It might be advantageous for you to go back and take a few snapshots of that corner.
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Old 03-29-2010, 10:58 PM
 
Location: Washington DC
146 posts, read 360,891 times
Reputation: 69
kap121483,

That's a very good point. I don't know if they will be able to assert that there were many accidents on that corner, but that's what the cop said. There definitely was no signage there at all. How would I go about doing that? Take a few snapshots, sure, then...? The problem is, I'm in DC, clear across the country for school... I can have my mom take the snapshots, no problem, but I don't know what the next step would be.

That's a really good idea, though. I'm just afraid the cop would backpedal and say that there weren't many accidents at that corner. There was no written confirmation of the fact. Unless records can prove that there were many accidents there?
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Old 03-30-2010, 07:37 AM
 
9,193 posts, read 9,273,624 times
Reputation: 28802
I am a lawyer who handles accident cases. I feel comfortable saying the following. I am sure you felt the corner or intersection was "blind". This is a common point made by people who pull away from stop signs or yield signs and than are struck by vehicles on the roadway with the right of way. It may be true in some instances. However, the accident almost always could have been avoided by waiting a little longer before entering the roadway.

California does not have a no-fault insurance system, so there is no need for the people in the other vehicle to meet some kind of a threshhold as a prerequisite to filing suit against you or making a claim against your insurance company for money for general damages (pain and suffering) as well as their medical expenses.

The fact that the other person could drive after the accident is also irrelevant. Many injured people have enough capacity following an accident to get home or to the hospital. Sometimes their car is driveable as well. This means nothing. Despite what the cop said you if you are at fault in causing the accident (and I am saying you almost certainly are) than your insurance will pay.

If you don't like what I'm saying, I suggest you contact a lawyer in the area where this accident occurred and ask him/her the same questions. Most lawyers will consult for a few minutes for free. Although, if you are deaf this maybe a challenge.

What will probably happen is they will make a claim against your insurance company
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Old 03-30-2010, 07:58 AM
 
12,292 posts, read 18,409,613 times
Reputation: 19160
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy1369 View Post
kap121483,

That's a very good point. I don't know if they will be able to assert that there were many accidents on that corner, but that's what the cop said.
Reality check time. That ain't happening. I know it's the response you want and it makes you feel a bit better, but it is unrealistic. Face it - you were at fault! Listen to the lawyer guy above. It's about the best advice you will find in an internet forum.
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Old 03-30-2010, 09:26 AM
 
162 posts, read 353,470 times
Reputation: 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy1369 View Post
kap121483,

That's a very good point. I don't know if they will be able to assert that there were many accidents on that corner, but that's what the cop said. There definitely was no signage there at all. How would I go about doing that? Take a few snapshots, sure, then...? The problem is, I'm in DC, clear across the country for school... I can have my mom take the snapshots, no problem, but I don't know what the next step would be.

That's a really good idea, though. I'm just afraid the cop would backpedal and say that there weren't many accidents at that corner. There was no written confirmation of the fact. Unless records can prove that there were many accidents there?
The next step would be bringing the pictures to court with you. Records SHOULD be able to prove that there have been many accidents at that corner (presumably because of the lack of a sign/lack of visibility of a sign). Call up your local police department and ask them for something in writing. This should be no problem, they'll probably just require a small fee, but this IS public information. Good luck!
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Old 03-30-2010, 03:05 PM
 
4,919 posts, read 19,859,989 times
Reputation: 6215
You have two things and one does not play well with the other.

The accident is the accident and no amount of finger pointing to the intersecttion is likely to change that. The police report will stand as far as the insurance companies are concern. If they wantt o fight the city, thats their business.

If you want to fight the intersection as a hazard and that you shouldn't be at fault, thats another matter, but in the mean time, the insurance companies and all the others are coming after you and they don't give 2 bits about what you see as fault.

That dont mean you should not go after the intersection thing and maybe in several years you get them to say the intersection was at fault, but its not going to have any impact on what is going to happen now.
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Old 03-30-2010, 03:38 PM
 
Location: Washington DC
146 posts, read 360,891 times
Reputation: 69
Okay, I see your points, markg91359 and PacificFlights, I really do. However, my mom said that she was positive that their insurance company would take care of it ... and especially considering the injuries were minor, their insurance should take care of it and things will just move on. So... I don't know. I guess it's confusing.
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Old 03-31-2010, 04:01 PM
 
Location: Washington DC
146 posts, read 360,891 times
Reputation: 69
An update-

I heard back from the claims liability adjuster today... it turns out the couple involved have filed claims against Hertz/me for injuries and damage to their vehicle. The adjuster did not know what amount they wanted, and said Hertz would pay them up to $5000 (collecting from me, of course). I'm going to see what my parents' insurance can do, so I don't have to go through Hertz. My dad owns the local body shop, and I was considering having him offer them free car repair for a year or so as a way of making up for everything, but I can't even offer them that due to not having their number, and I'm sure they have found another body shop (there are a few in my hometown) anyway... of course, I end up getting screwed on the end, even though I have good intentions and want to help (and protect myself, ultimately).

Another thing I have tried is contacting the county, because it was a blind corner, and the policeman had it in verbal writing that many accidents had occurred there, so why still allow people to turn there if it's considered unsafe? Am following kap121483's advice.

Other advice? The adjuster gave me their attorney's phone number, but not their direct number. Any chance I can call the attorney and explain my situation, and see if their insurance would just cover it? I know I sound naive, but what do I know... I'm just a college kid who never had to deal with this kind of thing before.

So, yeah... any further advice/insight would be appreciated.
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