My First Collision; Suggestions for what to do after a traffic collision

MY FIRST COLLISION!

Moriarty Law, PC, has been in operation for almost a year and a half, and I cannot believe how fast the time passed. As always, I want to thank all of the people who have been kind enough to refer potential clients to me. I think that a referral is one of the highest compliments.

I want to share information about my first vehicle collision. Last month I was stopped at a red light at the intersection across from my office (almost there!). With no warning….BAM. It felt like a bomb had gone off in my car. A college student, using her phone, had rear-ended me. I think that she thought the light had turned green, so she accelerated. I was shocked at how little property damage was done by what felt, to me, like a significant impact. There was some damage to my rear bumper, and almost no damage to her front bumper.

But things got more interesting when I went to speak to the girl who had hit me. She just sat in her car looking like a deer in the headlights. Would not look at me. Acted like she was the victim. Did not get out to look at her car. Did not ask if I was OK. I asked if she was hurt, and then noticed that she was still holding her phone with both thumbs on the touchscreen in classic “texting mode”. I pointed out the obvious reason for the collision, but she denied texting.

Then, and this was awesome, she tried to blame a mystery driver (“John Doe”) for the collision. Her story was that she was hit from behind and pushed into me. Now, I knew darned well that there was only a single collision. I would have heard an impact prior to the impact with my car (my windows were down, no radio). But, giving her the benefit of the doubt, I checked her rear bumper. There was no evidence of an impact with anything. There was not even a “clean spot”; her rear bumper was dirty, and an impact with John Doe would have rubbed some dirt away.

When Law Enforcement arrived, I told the Officer everything about the collision that I could remember, and I prepped him about the girl’s ridiculous story. I told him about the lack of two impacts and pointed out that her rear bumper showed no evidence of a collision form John Doe. When the at-fault driver tried to sell her story to the Officer, he was already prepped. He pointed out all of the inconsistencies with her story, at which point she said “Maybe I made a mistake”. She was cited appropriately for Following too Closely.

Why am I typing this? To explain that if her version of the collision had gone unchallenged, then her insurer probably would have denied liability for the collision and refused to repair my vehicle. I would have had to use my own insurance and paid my deductible. I might have had difficulty getting a rental while my vehicle was repaired. If I had required medical treatment, then my bills would not have been covered by her insurance.

All of this is to stress how important it is to tell the Law Enforcement Officer who responds to your collision everything about the collision. Do not leave it at “He hit me”, or “Whatever the other guy said is fine”.  And absolutely tell the Officer any and all physical complaints you have, even if they are minor! If you learn that there are inaccuracies in the Officer’s report (after you get a copy), then you can request a supplemental report with your version of what happened or what was said.   Do not accept a report that is wrong. Insist that the report be either corrected or supplemented. Insurance companies will leap at the opportunity to deny a claim, and the police report can help the insurer deny your claim if it is not accurate.

Please let me know if you have any questions about your collision.  I look forward to discussing your case and your options.