Are non-reportable accident settlements that difficult?

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 4:43 am   Post subject: Are non-reportable accident settlements that difficult?  

Hi, I'm really hoping someone can give me some guidance. I'm desperate! Here's the story:



My little brother (18 yrs old) borrowed our car, with permission. He was in a very minor accident - no damage to our car and some paint scratches on the other. The people he ran into (they were stopped at a red light and he misjudged his stopping distance) immediately got out of their car and were belligerent. They said that the same thing had happened to them recently and the other driver gave them false information, and that they weren't going through that again, so they called the police. The police arrived, filed a non reportable accident report, issued my brother a citation and went on his way. The other driver would not give my brother his phone number, only his insurance information. So, we were unable to call them and ask that we just pay for the damage to their car. Today, our insurance adjuster contacted us about the accident - they apparently reported it immediately upon getting home and they're claiming "residual bodily injury." My brother and his friend said that everyone was fine at the accident scene, no one mentioned any pain or injury to him at all. He also said that while talking to the police my brother overhead them saying, "he was flying" and "my daughter had her laptop on her lap and it flew"....



I have a sinking feeling that these people are just trying to milk the situation for all it's worth - especially since they got scammed in their last accident.



Is it possible for them to claim bodily injury after a non-reportable accident report is filed? How do we handle the fact that there was no damage to our car and very little to theirs (we have pictures of what we think is damage my brother caused), but they're acting like he plowed into them at 50 miles an hour?



I need to know the best way to convey all of this to our insurance adjuster as well. Are there things that I should definitely say or not say?



Thank you so much for any insight you are able to provide.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 6:10 am   Post subject: Could be an insurance scam....  

Hi dee, your case is no doubt smelly. It seems like the other party is trying to milk you as much as possible. In a non reportable accident the parties involved suffer no bodily injury or property damage. Generally, police file a minor accident as a non reportable accident if the damage amount is below $7, 00. If there is any bodily injury involved then it is reportable accident.



Do you have any reason to believe that they were scammed in their last accident? If not, then it's not your look-out. You will only pay for the damages caused by your brother. Try and obtain the accident report from the police (they may have it filed). Inform your insurer immediately that you are suspicious about the other party involved. The accident report will help you to establish the facts. It will also give the name and contact detail of the party involved.



Meanwhile, keep us posting about the developments. I hope the other members will also come forward to help you.



Take care,

Juanita

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 6:31 am   Post subject:   

Hi, you may also find the following thread useful.



http://www.ampminsure.org/manage/about2753.html



Juanita

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 8:17 am   Post subject: Injuries can develop later on......  

Well my friend, it's not quite impossible for one to develop injuries later on after a minor accident. Injuries like-whiplash or back injury may not get diagnosed immediately at the time of the crash. However, even if the injuries arise out of a non reportable accident (where the police was not called or filed as non-reportable) will remain non-reportable afterward also. Now, it depends on your insurance company to accept or deny paying their claim. You may required to pay (depending upon your state's provisions) if they can establish that the injuries were due to the accident.



However, this is also a fact that fraudulent or inflated medical bills constitute 40% of all the bodily injury related claims in auto insurance.



Hope you will be able to get out of this jam soon. Rupert

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 10:04 am   Post subject:   

Good morning dee, welcome to our community, and I'm so sorry about this.... Sad



First, you have done the 'soooooooo' right thing by contacting your company immediately, likely a good thing you couldn't reach them and attempt settlement on your own, really, these are not the 'kind' of people you want to try and handle by yourself. I assure you. Taking photos immediately, man I wish everyone would do that! Laughing



These people, (hopefully) are just pissed because they got phony info the last time, which frankly was kind of their fault. They also 'tipped' their hand in going into this with your brother. Clearly some damage on their rear cover could be from that accident, and their claimed injury as well. Unless they can prove they had this 'other accident' repaired, (if same vehicle) so that is in YOUR favor. Another thing regarding any injury, it is never as 'expensive' to aggrivate a 'pre-existing' injury as it is to 'cause' the injury. Make sense? They've also tipped their hand again in that statement at the scene.



Hopefully you have a company and adjuster that will fight these kinds of injuries/damages. Some companies will offer up a small amount (a hundred bucks or so) to get a release, which really isn't a bad idea. Some will pit-bull fight it. I've seen the company I work for spend literally thousands and win suits like this non reportable accident too. I suspect though they tried to 'cash them out ' first before going this far.



There is nothing not to tell your adjuster, stay on top of it with the adjuster, offer to have your vehicle available for a ''match up'' of damage (if claimant tries to claim damage he didn't cause, we will many times get both vehicles together and attempt to 'match up' the impacts to see if even possible that insured vehicle caused the damage).



Let us know, and good luck.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 1:53 pm   Post subject: followup  

Thanks everyone. I appreciate the time you've taken to address my problem. Can I bother you with a few more questions?

Is there any way to prove/disprove "bodily injury" in this case? I feel like there should be some link to how small the damage was and what they are claiming. Does that make sense?

Also, this really comes down to "he said/she said" kind of thing. The only people that witnessed the minor accident were those involved. Obviously my brother didn't stop, but if they say he was flying, but he only misjudged his stopping distance, how do they go about proving that?



I guess the bottom line is that I feel like there was so little damage to both cars - not even any dents, just some paint - that there has to be some correlation between this non reportable accident, damage and the insurance payout. Is that right or can these people claim that my brother ruined them?



I'm so frustrated. Thanks again for your help!


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 1:56 pm   Post subject: Juanita, question for you.  

You said that the police file a non reportable accident if damage is below a certain amount - did you mean $700 or $7,000? Thanks for your help!


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 3:00 pm   Post subject:   

Quote:
Is there any way to prove/disprove "bodily injury" in this case? I feel like there should be some link to how small the damage was and what they are claiming. Does that make sense?
Yes and no. There is no absolute way to prove or disprove injury but the extent of the damages, thereby indicating the force of the impact can be used as a defense to the claim of injuries.



As Rupert mentioned, it's very common for soft tissue injuries to manifest themselves even several hours after a non reportable accident like this one.



Many times when a person has just been struck by another vehicle they are very upset. Also, their gut reaction is that they don't want to say something wrong, like they feel fine and have that used against them later on. I'm betting as time goes on that everything will level out.



Keep in mind that any substantial claim of injury will have your adjuster ask for medical records from the injured party. While these records don't always make things clear, they can help the adjuster understand if the person is just going to be sore for a few days or something worse.



Lastly, in some states it's not possible to file an injury claim against the at fault party. This may be true, or true to a _certain extent_, if your state is a "No-Fault" state.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 9:15 am   Post subject:   

Hi dee, the limit for a non reportable accident normally lies between $7, 00 and $1, 000. However a particular state may have its own specifications.



Quote:
When do I call the police ?



According to most jurisdictions you would certainly need to inform the police when someone gets hurt or the vehicle damage exceeds a certain dollar limit (generally $700).




Or, you can find the information in the Auto Insurance First Aid Box also.



Hope the input helps.



Regards,

Juanita
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 11:01 am   Post subject:   

Good morning Dee,



I agree with tcope, you cannot prove or disprove the injury.



And the physcial damage will 'usually' tell you the force of the impact. But even a minor 'bump' especially when unexpected can hurt some.



Let me tell/warn you though about something, that I have seen many times. A vehicle with urethan bumper covers have little damage on the outside, (they are made to flex), then when the cover is removed there is an absorber, generally long styrafoam or hard plastic honeycomb under this cover then a metal 'rebar' or the actual bumper. I have seen these literally creamed when little to no 'apparent' damage on the outside, have even seen the rearbody panel shoved way in. So what I'm saying is you really won't know the extent of the impact until the cover is removed. You don't say type of vehicle so we don't know if it is a urethan cover or chrome, if a chrome bumper, most damage will be evident without disassembly, if you crawl under and look at the brkts. bars, etc.



Something too that you should know, all insurance companies that I am aware of use some type of 'indexing' system for injuries. Any time there is an injury that persons information is sent to the 'big system in the sky' and the adjuster will get a 'hit' or 'hits' if this person has had any injury that has been paid by a property/causualty even a work comp injury.



Hopefully tcope is right and it will all calm down and they won't be unreasonable about this.



Did you say your brother had a passenger? Your company too will contact him or his parents if a minor to gaurd against an injury there as well.



Keep us updated, and like tcope said, if you are in a P.I.P. state, they would have to reach an injury threshold to gain a settlement, and doesn't sound like that would happen here. If you want to let us know your state, or check yourself (your state's dept of insurance website would tell you as well as the 'thresold' amount). You might be worrying for nothing. P.I.P. is Personal Injury Protection and goes under your own policy (theirs in this case) to pay for med bills etc. and unless and until they hit the 'thresold' (state dependent think about 4500.00 is average), there is NO 'pain and suffering' settlement.



Good luck and keep us updated, or if we can assist anymore please allow us to do so. Smile

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2007 1:40 am   Post subject:   

Well personally I wanna be as honest as possible. It can be a 10 mph accident from behind and cause bodily harm. Your bro. was given a citation which will more or less prove him guilty. Therefore your screwed to some extent, as long as you have insurance your fine if it covers bodily injury . Now at worst this non reportable accident will see your insurance rate going up, but nothing to stress too much about. Also what state are u in?


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2007 3:12 am   Post subject: followup  

Thanks again everyone. I'm in pennsylvania, if that helps anyone.



I'm not denying that my brother was at fault. It's hard to miss the fact that he ran into them. I'm just saying that this non reportable accident was a very minor one.



Things are slowly evolving in the claim. They opted to have their entire bumper replaced (?!)and to get a rental car for two days, so there's a bunch of money already....and the woman is still claiming neck pain and has a doctors appointment next monday...I would think that if she was in such pain, she'd get to the doctor before next monday, but that's just me.



I feel like this whole thing is blown out of proportion and I really just feel like our insurance company will do anything to check this off their list -- even if it means throwing a bunch of money at these people. So frustrating.



Does anyone have any idea how insurance companies determine their rates after a minor accident like these?


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2007 10:14 am   Post subject:   

Good morning dee!



Wait a second here,

Quote:
They opted to have their entire bumper replaced (?!)and to get a rental car for two days, so there's a bunch of money already....
The 'they' you refer to is either your insurance adjuster or the shop that your company accepted the estimate from, so there was more damage than orginally thought. If you could let me know the year/make/model of their vehicle I could better understand the scope of damage. Dee there had to be more than just 'paint transfer' on this cover I promise you no insurance company is going to replace it if it were repairable. Is it ONLY the bumper cover being replaced? They are owed a rental vehicle while theirs is 'out of commission' or under repair/in the shop. Surely you agree with that.?



I know it's frustrating to you. Did you ACTUALLY SEE the vehicle or just two dimensional pictures? I have to take on an average of oh, 300 or so pictures of damaged vehicles every day. And I can tell you that many many times this damage does just not show up in a two dimensional photo. I have seen deep dents that I just cannot get no matter how hard I try to transfer to the camera.



Is it AT ALL possible that your brother was going a little faster than he told you? Discount what his passenger said, you (nor the insurance company) should pay too much attention to that. All I want you to 'think' about is, it sounds like there was more damage to the other vehicle than you were led to believe.



As far as your rates are concerned, this is company and state specific, they cannot rate you up until the end of the policy period (in otherwords can't just increase your rates next month if policy doesn't renew for five more months, they have to wait until then). Some companies if you have a 'safe drivers discount' you will only lose that, (for the first accident), others are different, either call your agent, or you companies policy services dept. and ask them.



Good luck and if you want let me know yr/make/model (both vehicles) I work on cars all day, and pretty much know how much of an impact one can take from another.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2007 4:31 pm   Post subject:   

Two vehicles: Hyundai Santa Fe 2000. Pontiac Grand Am 2000.

I have only seen the pictures that the insurance adjuster took of the bumper, and I realize that I'm no expert, but it really doesn't look like it's worth replacing the bumper to me. Maybe a new paint job. Plus, there is zero damage to our car. Zero. I do not believe that I'm trying to sugar coat anything that my brother did. I am concerned that we are being held responsible for damage caused by this other accident (read original post) that they were given false insurance information about. If I was sure that the bumper needed replaced and if I was sure that it was damage that he caused, I would be okay with the whole thing, but I'm not sure of either thing.

I guess that the bottom line is that I have no recourse in the whole thing anyway, correct? The insurance company will handle however they choose and I just have to go along with it?


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 10:34 am   Post subject:   

Oh De honey, I wasn't saying this,

Quote:
I do not believe that I'm trying to sugar coat anything that my brother did
I don't think you are either, (sugar coating or playing down anything I really don't) just that you weren't there, and maybe brother wasn't 100% sure of how hard he bumped them. I've raised two teenagers and was the oldest sister (one eight years younger one ten) to two younger brothers. Nor am I saying your brother would lie to you, but again I've been there, and also 'done that', when I told my Dad (at 16) I bumped into someone, (almost exact same circumstances) with HIS truck, I didn't exactly 'bump' them, and really didn't know myself, as I was pretty busy messing with the '8 track' (I know I know WHAT is an 8 Track right? Wink ) and waving and looking mighty cool driving! Cool at some friends near by. (lost the cool thing pretty quick let me tell you when I hit the guy in front of me! Shocked )



Quote:
Plus, there is zero damage to our car. Zero.
I believe you I really do, I've seen it hundreds of times, the strongest part of your vehicle (as far as reinforcement) hit the weakest part (rearend) of the other vehicle. It isn't uncommon for there to be little - no damage to your front and damage to their rear. You didn't say which is which. Which vehicle is yours?



Quote:
I am concerned that we are being held responsible for damage caused by this other accident (read original post) that they were given false insurance information about.




I did and this is how I responded to it;
Quote:
They also 'tipped' their hand in going into this with your brother. Clearly some damage on their rear cover could be from that accident, and their claimed injury as well. Unless they can prove they had this 'other accident' repaired, (if same vehicle) so that is in YOUR favor. Another thing regarding any injury, it is never as 'expensive' to aggrivate a 'pre-existing' injury as it is to 'cause' the injury. Make sense? They've also tipped their hand again in that statement at the scene.




Did your adjuster check this out? Your adjuster has many many different ways to check this out, among them, the prior police report, their insurance company, where they said they had it repaired, the pictures (I'm sure they took) after the prior accident?



Quote:
If I was sure that the bumper needed replaced and if I was sure that it was damage that he caused, I would be okay with the whole thing, but I'm not sure of either thing.




I understand, which vehicle was yours??????????? The ponitac? (I hope)..............



Quote:
I guess that the bottom line is that I have no recourse in the whole thing anyway, correct? The insurance company will handle however they choose and I just have to go along with it?
No not necessarily correct, your company (adjuster) owe you an investigation. But you might need to insist upon it (and hope not too late). What about 'matching up the damage' like I said in a prior post? That will tell you for sure. You need to call the adjuster immediately and keep calling him (again if not too late) and tell him/her you want this prior loss investigated.....There are times (for instance) a vehicle has some prior gouges or scuffs on (let's say) a bumper cover, that would've easily repaired, then another loss/accident comes along, and that accident caused the cover to need to be replaced. You would owe replacement regardless of the prior, however, if your wreck also was repairable, then the owner of the vehicle would be required to pay (if they want it fixed, have also just 'painted over' that damage for those owners that do not want to pay the difference) for that portion of the 'related prior damage' (related in this tense means in the same area or on the same panel, not what we normally would use the word related for).



The adjuster must've written the estimate, again, (especially with an injury looming) they wouldn't replace that cover if it didn't need one. (both from a cost stand point and to further prove the 'light' impact when injury settlement time comes). Now are there some adjusters that just 'pay it' to get it closed? Absolutely but these are sloppy, lazy adjusters, if you cannot get your adjuster to pay any creedence to your requests, ask for that adjusters supervisor.



I really do understand your concern and frustration. Here's one way you MIGHT find out about the prior damage. Did the claimants chose the shop where it is being repaired? Ask the shop if there was a prior (to this loss) estimate written on this vehicle. All shops have computerized estimating (and shop) systems and should be able to easily access this data, if not for you then for your adjuster.



Please understand I'm not 'against' you and understand, and certainly do not think you are 'sugar coating' what happened, I believe you, just wanted to see if there is any 'room' there for another opinion/scenrio?



Something else that just 'dawned' on me, if the occupants were 'injured' in this prior loss, they should've had an Uninsured Motorist claim (for their injuries) with their carrier........ And you can just about 'take it to the bank' if there was an Uninsured Motorist claim, that company took pictures of the vehicle. The would've had to prove (the owners) that an impact occured.



Please let us know how you come out with the adjuster, (and of course anything else we can assist with) let me know which vehicle is which I have a few thoughts on that (if you care to hear them), that may make a difference dependent upon which vehicle belongs to whom.
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