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griffith9

Just got into my first car accident, please help!

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I just got into my first car accident today and I'm scared..

Please forgive me for any typos and disorganized sentences.. I'm freaking out so..

A little detail: live in Canada . the car's Toyota Camry. We have MB PUBLIC Insurance.(Valid until 09) we pay about $1300 annually.

The other car hit the "right frontal door" of my car from behind.

It could have been my fault but not sure.

The door got caved in but it's not too serious. No injuries on both drivers.

We exchanged license# &phone# plate#. NO witnesses.

I've renewed the insurance on behalf of my mother(away for 3 months)

and I'm the one paying for insurance(w/ visa).

I did renew my MOTHER's license too.

However.. the PROBLEM is my mother is the registered owner of the vehicle.

1. Could you explain the steps I need to go through? go to the "Toyota collision centre"?

2. Do I need to file a "police report"?

3. Do I have to contact the other driver about the details once things get straightened out?

4. The most important question.. would this car be "covered"? Technically I'm NOT the registered owner.

If I'm not covered by the insurance, I guess I'm doomed, I can't pay for any major repair on top of the monthly insurance i'm already paying..

man... I don't know. I feel so stupid.

Please give me some advice if you have a few minutes to spare..

Thank you very much for reading.. I do appreciate your help.

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If you're not included in the insurance, then I'm pretty sure there's nothing you can do about getting YOUR company to pay for it. Here in the States, if a car gets hit from behind, it's always the person in the rear's fault with almost no exceptions. So if you're sure it was the other person's fault then file a claim. It wouldn't hurt to file a claim because the worst thing that could happen is you get turned down and pay the amount of money you would had to pay if you didn't file a claim.

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File a claim. Whether it's your fault or not, file a claim. Also, keep tabs on your physical health. If you start getting headaches or sore spots in the next day or two, go to a doctor and have it all checked out so there's a record of it early on. The adrenaline rush will eventually wear off (if it hasn't already), and what didn't hurt at first, may afterwards.

Since it's already too late to do so, just rest tonight. But as soon as you get up tomorrow, gather up the needed papers, and start making your phone calls. While I'm not 100% sure about a police report, I believe it would be in your best interest to file one before you contact the insurance company. Just get your facts straight before doing this. Once that's done, then call the insurance company that covers the car you were driving so all that gets started. The faster you get these done, the better. God knows I'm no lawyer or legal expert, but I believe those are the proper actions from what I've read.

Also, don't drive the car anywhere, and don't try to fix anything, until someone can come and inspect the damage for the claim.

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I was always under the impression that most policies make some sort of allowance for family members occasionally driving each other's cars, but maybe I'm crazy.

I've only ever been in one accident, and while the official paperwork says it was my fault, I would like to point out that it occurred on 9/9/99 while I was making a left turn onto 9th Street. Higher forces were clearly involved.

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OK idiots, stop. I know you're trying to help, but you're misrepresenting the law on this shit. I'm even wary of commenting on it because he's a Canuck - but I'll do the best I can from an American legal perspective.

First thing's first. Tell me about the policy. Is it a joint policy? Are they same carrier/different policies (like I used to have, when I first started driving - where it was the same insurance company, but my name was on a completely separate policy than my parents?) Tell me about the car registration. Is your name on it? Or does mom just lend the car to you?

If you and your mom have different insurance policies then - contrary to what's been said - DO NOT file a claim. DO NOT call your carrier about this. If they're separate, then your carrier has nothing to do with it. It's your mom's car, it's your mom's policy - it's her problem. Literally. The only thing that'll happen if you file a claim, is they'll red flag your policy.

The other car hit the "right frontal door" of my car from behind.

It could have been my fault but not sure.

How could that have possibly been your fault? What, did you perpendicularly sideswipe a parked car? The only way I can even imagine it is, if they were backing up - and backed into you.

The simple presumption in America is, if they're backing - you have the right of way. It's a bitch to prove that it's your fault, when someone backs into you.

However.. the PROBLEM is my mother is the registered owner of the vehicle.

OK, that changes things. See, because you're not the owner of the car, you're not liable for damages in it. It's not your car, it's not "your" insurance carrier, really - it's not your problem. It's your mom's problem. (FYI, this is why you shouldn't loan your car to your friends. I had the same exact problem when my brother wrecked my car.)

Your mom needs to call and file a claim.

1. Could you explain the steps I need to go through? go to the "Toyota collision centre"?

Technically, you don't need to do a damn thing. Realistically, you need to call up mom and have her file a claim. And since you were driving - when she calls to file, she'll give all the personal detail and then turn the phone over to you to explain the circumstances.

I don't know what the Toyota Collision Center is - but I'm assuming that's like a repair center. No, you don't need to call them for purposes of the claim. When you go to get the car fixed, they'll take up the payment for repairs with your mom's insurance company.

2. Do I need to file a "police report"?

No, you don't NEED to file a police report. But you can, if you want. It's nice to get your version of the story on official public record (in case they file some kind of civil charge), but with just property damage and the other party not really raising a fuss, it's probably just a waste of time. Still, a lot of people do it just for peace of mind.

But if you DO decide to file one - be careful of what you write. It's a public record, and it WILL be used in a civil action.

3. Do I have to contact the other driver about the details once things get straightened out?

No. That's your carrier's job. Don't even THINK of contacting the other party anymore. Some free advice - never ever talk to someone you might be getting into a legal battle with.

4. The most important question.. would this car be "covered"? Technically I'm NOT the registered owner.

Unless your policy has some explicit claim to that effect ("This policy only covers the named policy holder..." - and some do, so read the policy top to bottom) then no. The car would be covered under your mom's policy, just as if it had been parked somewhere with nobody in it, and someone hit it.

I don't know. I feel so stupid.

Chill out. Take a deep breath and relax. This shit happens all the time. This is WHY WE HAVE automobile insurance. You'll be fine. At best, this sounds like it's the other person's fault. At worse, it sounds like it's no fault. (But that's only an evaluation based on the very limited details about the accident. If you give me more, I can try and give a better analysis.) Either way, in the grand scheme, this isn't a big deal. Trust me.

Also:

Seriously guys, I know you want to help - but you really need to come to me, or IronKnuckle (at least, I think it's IK) about this kind of stuff. I mean, I know you mean well, but you're not giving them the right advice about this. I don't have all the time in the world - but I'll help ya'll out with this kind of shit when I can.

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My advice was still reasonably sound for the most part :-P

Well, I appreciate that your heart was in the right place. And I agree with your points about keeping tabs on your physical health and trying to keep further driving to a minimum. I just... well, don't call your insurance carrier if you don't need to. That's almost never a good thing.

The reality is (again, if they were in America - I don't know how they do things in Mapletown), unless he's a named policy holder on the vehicle, it's really not his problem. And even if he WANTED to do something, the insurance companies wouldn't talk to him - at least, not without talking to his mom first. Because it's HER car. She's the claimant in the event of damages. Like when my brother wrecked my Chevy - I wasn't in the car, but it was still my car, and therefore my problem. They'll probably want to talk to him - but the reality is in modern insurance investigation is, they'll look at the circumstances to determine fault, and they'll look at the car to determine damages (FYI, if you have an undamaged high-end stereo/speakers in there, pull it out before they come and replace it with the stock deck.) and that's about as far as your involvement will go. You'll tell your carrier your side, they'll tell their carrier their side - and they'll battle it out themselves.

If I can offer future advice - in an age of cell phone cameras, take pictures of the scene IMMEDIATELY. Even if it's completely your fault.

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You should thank the good lord above that you don't live in Japan. Even if you aren't at fault, you are at fault. I ended up losing a prefectly good Skyline over the accident.

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