• filter:
  • Text Only
  • Search this Topic »
Voting History
rated:
I live in an at-fault state, and had my first car accident in 17 years when I went up to my hometown for a Thanksgiving meal we had a day early.  It was at Kroger, and I had just bought some food and backed out of a parking space.  I was stopped, was putting the car in gear to drive forward when a much larger vehicle backed out and rammed my driver door.  Since we typically have older vehicles and are pretty accident free, I have the type of insurance that only pays for uninsured and damage to the other driver's car - not our own.  The other vehicle took pretty much no damage to the rear corner that hit us, but I'm guessing ours will cost ~$700 to fix.  The other party seemed very concerned about our safety at first, though later while we were waiting for the police they said something like "I guess we both had some responsibility in this".  I did not respond to that, other than saying again that my car was not moving, and they hit me.  Now the other party is evidently claiming that we both agreed to partial fault and to have our respective insurance companies each pay for any damage to our own cars.  How convenient, since they had virtually no damage, and we were left with a lot.  The police did not take any statement, because evidently they don't for accidents on private property.  After the fact, once I got back home, I realized that Kroger probably has parking lot security cameras so they can track thieves' license plates.  I also realized that the camera footage from about 11:25 in the morning that day would almost certainly show my car stopped, and the other car backing into mine.  I asked my insurance agent about obtaining the footage, and this is what he said:

"There is a claim filed with the other insurance company and they will be in touch with you early next week.  At this time you will just go through the process of the investigation.  An adjuster will contact you and the other person and get both sides of the incident and at that time the adjuster will determine who is at fault.  I will check with claims about the video but I don’t think it would be necessary for State Farm unless they were trying to say it’s your fault.  Most likely video would need to be requested by Westfield insurance because they determine who’s at fault.  You can get an estimate that way you can let the Westfield adjuster know how much it is.  Hopefully, it gets handled smoothly but you’ll know more when you talk with them."

  I am confused about this, because he says that both the adjuster and the other insurance company determine who is at fault.  If it is the other insurance company, it seems like it would be a conflict of interest.  After all, why would they bother going to the trouble of getting the video evidence that would force them to pay for the damage to my car?

Member Summary
Most Recent Posts
Stores do help with the video footage if you request them nicely!

bharatiya (Dec. 01, 2016 @ 10:36a) |

Again, police are not the final authority.

It depends on the details. If it is a case where it is obviously one party's f... (more)

IMBoring25 (Dec. 01, 2016 @ 3:32p) |

Insurance cos. have formulas and standard forms of determining liability based on the circumstances of the accident. If... (more)

DonSho (Dec. 01, 2016 @ 6:24p) |

Staff Summary
Thanks for visiting FatWallet.com. Join for free to remove this ad.

rated:
Who is your insurance with? State?

rated:
IANAL but in my opinion, your insurance company will likely not do an investigation for this accident since you don't have collision coverage unless the other driver files a claim for damages against your insurance. If that happens, they'll conduct their own investigation and determine liability. The adjuster with the other company will also conduct an investigation and determine liability. If it was me, I would get a couple of estimates for vehicle repair and send that to the other driver's insurance company with a written statement of how the accident happened (to include a diagram) and demand a check for full payment for the damage to my car within X days. Depending on what the negligence laws are in the state you're in, if the other driver's adjuster believes you contributed to the accident, your payment could be reduced or denied. If that happens and you feel strongly about the situation, prepare to either hire an attorney and/or file a lawsuit.

*edit to add: I would also approach the manager at Kroger to ask about securing my own copy of the video footage now, just in case it's erased or written over later.

rated:
Yep, the insurance company's adjuster determines "at fault" and even in a case where you think it's 100% clear, IME they try to shift some of the blame to both parties. You're in worse luck when the other party will now have an entirely different recollection to the accident than what really happened.

You absolutely need to do your own due diligence with regard to the video footage and get it if you can.  It would have been even better if you could have gotten a witness statement at the scene.  I've learned the hard way.  Yes, your insurance company is on your side, but only to an extent. With our screwed up system, even when an accident is found to not be your fault, your rates can still be affected.  It's a racket for sure!! Good luck.

rated:
It all hinges on whether the other insurance company will admit or accept fault, and whether it's cheaper for your insurance to roll over and pay, or cheaper to fight.

rated:
Get a dashcam, doesnt help now, but it may in the future.

rated:
IStillPickUpPennies said:   After all, why would they bother going to the trouble of getting the video evidence that would force them to pay for the damage to my car?
 
​Because they might want to see if they can get away with not admitting fault. But in such a low dollar value claim, it's probably not worth it for them.

rated:
mapen said:   It all hinges on whether the other insurance company will admit or accept fault, and whether it's cheaper for your insurance to roll over and pay, or cheaper to fight.
  
OP's insurance is not obligated to be involved unless the other driver claims against OP's liability policy.

I had a somewhat similar situation when I was in the aisle, positioning to back into a parking space when a Civic backed out from between two F-150s into my quarter panel.  I saw it coming once the car became visible from behind the F-150's tailgate and stopped in time to isolate the damage to the quarter panel, but didn't have time to do anything else.  The other party's insurer tried to call it 50/50 because my transmission was in Reverse.  Yes, it is not ideal that the party that should pay will make the initial determination, but you do have the option of going to court if they cheat and don't make you whole.  Some things to remember for your discussions:

1) What you're going to have to prove is that you had no negligence, defined as failure to operate your vehicle with the due care and attention a reasonable person would.  You had established position in the aisle and were stopped when struck by another vehicle that was exiting a parking space.  It absolutely should be cut-and-dried.  The guy that hit me made the same comment about it seeming 50/50 to him.  It wasn't.  See if you can get the video.  Even if you can't, the nature of the damage should almost-prove your vehicle was stopped at impact.  That's relevant because it indicates you were in the process of shifting gears and not in an ideal position to notice the other vehicle or take evasive action and because it establishes that you didn't hit the other vehicle.  You want the strongest case you can make before you talk to the insurance company.

2) Don't volunteer information unless they ask a leading question and you need to answer with context to prevent the answer from being misleading.

3) They will likely try to make you mad.  Keep your head.  Calmly escalate to supervisors if you're not getting anywhere with the front-line adjuster.

4) They deal with blowhards all the time.  I don't expect, "You'll hear from my lawyer," or, "I'm going to sue," to be all that effective because they're often empty threats.  If you are in a position to forgo loss-of-use payments, that gave a little carrot counterpoint to the "civil action, pursuing everything to which I'm entitled" stick in my case.

rated:
megatard said:   
IStillPickUpPennies said:   After all, why would they bother going to the trouble of getting the video evidence that would force them to pay for the damage to my car?
 
​Because they might want to see if they can get away with not admitting fault. But in such a low dollar value claim, it's probably not worth it for them.

  No "evidence" can "force them to pay" or assign fault.  It's all up to the two insurance cos and they could use tarot cards if they wanted to*. If you disagree and can't convince them to accept your argument, the only recourse is to sue, in which case the court will decide based on "evidence"

*(Their objective is to collectively pay out as little as possible and also avoid potential legal fees if/when someone sues.  If they assigned "fault" for payment purposes completely arbitrarily, this would potentially drive up their legal fees by causing more people to sue)

rated:
I thought OP's insurance policy should "help" even if they don't cover the loss.

rated:
Minoritydan said:   Get a dashcam, doesnt help now, but it may in the future.
  Dash cam does not help when hit on the side or rear.

rated:
I had a situation where my unattended parked car was hit in a parking garage. There were cameras in the garage but the building management company said they only released the tapes to police or under subpoena. I told the insurance company about the tapes, but since the damage was under my deductible, they opted not to pursue. I guess I could have lawyered up, but wouldn't have been worth it versus the $500 to fix the damage.

You can ask Kroger, but I'm guessing they don't release tapes to individuals.

rated:
JW10 said:   
Minoritydan said:   Get a dashcam, doesnt help now, but it may in the future.
  Dash cam does not help when hit on the side or rear.

  My dash cam has a rear-view camera that means it only has about a 60-degree blind spot directly to each side the way I have it installed (aside from what the car itself blocks).  Also, a dash cam doesn't necessarily have to see anything to be of benefit.  Most record audio and accelerometer data, which will document when impact occurred.  Even if the camera never had the other car on screen, it will document what the camera car was doing leading up to and at the moment of impact.  Just that can be useful in a case where the other party may be willing to perjure themselves.

rated:
JW10 said:   
Minoritydan said:   Get a dashcam, doesnt help now, but it may in the future.
  Dash cam does not help when hit on the side or rear.

2 Channel (front and rear) Dash Cams have been out for a while and work quite well.

Blackvue 2-Channel Dash Cam
 

rated:
IStillPickUpPennies said:   
  I am confused about this, because he says that both the adjuster and the other insurance company determine who is at fault.  If it is the other insurance company, it seems like it would be a conflict of interest.  After all, why would they bother going to the trouble of getting the video evidence that would force them to pay for the damage to my car?
 

  There's a pretty significant distinction at play here - they do not determine fault, they determine if they feel their client is liable for your damage, which is based on who they feel is at fault.  If they determine their client is not at fault and thus has no liability, you then have to sue them.  Ultimately a judge or jury will determine fault, unless they and you can agree on a resolution before it gets to that point.

rated:
hold on a sec......isn't the car reversing automatically at fault always in every situation?
genuinely this has been my belief and I'm honestly interested to learn the correct thing

rated:
Had a similar situation. I was on vacation in Colorado and someone backed into my car while I was parking across from them. It was in a state park, no witnesses, no police involved. Clearly the other drivers was at fault which he admitted. Most of the damage was to his vehicle with just a few scuff marks on my Avis rental car. Later his insurance company called wanting a statement. I gave my account of the accident and then contacted my insurance and filed a claim. When I turned the car into Avis it was an extremely hot day. I told them about the minor damage, she took a quick look and then marked the car undamaged. It probably helped that my wife was passing out bottles to of ice water to the workers that we had left over and couldn't take with us.

A few weeks later I got a letter from the other insurance company stating that they determined that I was at fault and a bill for $1500 in damages. I told my insurance the story and they said that they would handle it and that they would not be paying for his damages. That was the last I heard about the case.

rated:
Obtain the footage from Kroger and then sue the other driver in small claims court for your damages.

rated:
dealgain said:   hold on a sec......isn't the car reversing automatically at fault always in every situation?
genuinely this has been my belief and I'm honestly interested to learn the correct thing

  
From what I understand, they both reverse.  He stopped while the other guy kept on reversing and hit him.  They both hit butt.  LOL

rated:
As a former claims adjuster, I can tell you that (and other people have basically said all this)
- neither insurance company will likely (99.9%) not go through the trouble of obtaining camera footage unless there was a serious injury. It's really, really difficult to get camera/security footage.
- OP's insurance company will tell you the equivalent of "sucks to be you" if you don't have collision coverage, not "help" OP pursue the other insurance company for damages.  If they're particularly nice they'll call up the other insurance company to submit the initial claim (they'd have to be really nice)
- "who determines liability" depends on "who's determination of liability do you care about/affects you", because essentially in a X # of parties accident, X # of insurance companies all make their own "determination of liability", and if it's not on private property/there is police involvement, the police will determine who THEY believe to be at fault, which will NOT necessarily be the same as what the insurance companies decide
- insurance companies will often go with a 50/50 liability split in parking lot claims (not parked/unattended, obviously) because it's easier and more expedient (Yes, I know that sounds ridiculous)
- the location of the damage on the vehicles is a huge contributing factor to liability determination even though it's not necessarily an accurate gauge. In a reasonable world, and particularly in one where both parties are insured, and the damage is substantial enough for both insurance companies to care, damage to your door would *generally* indicate that you've already established being in the "lane", or minimally that you're MORE in the lane already than the other person (door vs. rear bumper), so even if the other insurance tried to state split liability they should still owe you the majority of your repairs (depending on the other party's statement, and actually your own statement, the other insurance company might say you were "speeding" or "both backing up at once" or any number of things - it's hard for you to prove you were "stopped").
- The other insurance company is more likely to be ridiculous and say "our insured told us you were driving 100mph through the parking lot, so we'll accept 5% liability even though you were driving recklessly!" (or whatever) if you don't have insurance. Yeah, it does work that way. There's no one to fight it so be prepared for that scenario too.

rated:
dealgain said:   hold on a sec......isn't the car reversing automatically at fault always in every situation?
genuinely this has been my belief and I'm honestly interested to learn the correct thing

  
The person who has voiced an opinion of shared responsibility in this case was the at-fault driver, not an expert.  There shouldn't be much issue with this one since only one vehicle was still in rearward motion, but I wouldn't put it completely out of the realm of possibility for the insurance company to try to feel out whether OP is a doormat who can be railroaded or a hothead who can be goaded into discrediting his/her own case.

Some special cases where the sole vehicle in rearward motion might not bear 100% of the negligence in a parking lot collision could include if the other vehicle is being operated at grossly excessive speed, crossing aisles through parking spaces, traveling against the flow of a one-way aisle, or disregarding traffic control devices or instructions of a police officer.

rated:
IMBoring25 said:   
mapen said:   It all hinges on whether the other insurance company will admit or accept fault, and whether it's cheaper for your insurance to roll over and pay, or cheaper to fight.
  
OP's insurance is not obligated to be involved unless the other driver claims against OP's liability policy.

I had a somewhat similar situation when I was in the aisle, positioning to back into a parking space when a Civic backed out from between two F-150s into my quarter panel.  I saw it coming once the car became visible from behind the F-150's tailgate and stopped in time to isolate the damage to the quarter panel, but didn't have time to do anything else.  The other party's insurer tried to call it 50/50 because my transmission was in Reverse.  Yes, it is not ideal that the party that should pay will make the initial determination, but you do have the option of going to court if they cheat and don't make you whole.  Some things to remember for your discussions:

1) What you're going to have to prove is that you had no negligence, defined as failure to operate your vehicle with the due care and attention a reasonable person would.  You had established position in the aisle and were stopped when struck by another vehicle that was exiting a parking space.  It absolutely should be cut-and-dried.  The guy that hit me made the same comment about it seeming 50/50 to him.  It wasn't.  See if you can get the video.  Even if you can't, the nature of the damage should almost-prove your vehicle was stopped at impact.  That's relevant because it indicates you were in the process of shifting gears and not in an ideal position to notice the other vehicle or take evasive action and because it establishes that you didn't hit the other vehicle.  You want the strongest case you can make before you talk to the insurance company.

2) Don't volunteer information unless they ask a leading question and you need to answer with context to prevent the answer from being misleading.

3) They will likely try to make you mad.  Keep your head.  Calmly escalate to supervisors if you're not getting anywhere with the front-line adjuster.

4) They deal with blowhards all the time.  I don't expect, "You'll hear from my lawyer," or, "I'm going to sue," to be all that effective because they're often empty threats.  If you are in a position to forgo loss-of-use payments, that gave a little carrot counterpoint to the "civil action, pursuing everything to which I'm entitled" stick in my case.

  
The only other thing I have to add here is don't forget that your state most likely has a department of ins regulation.  The insurance company doesn't have to agree with you on who is liable, but they can't ignore you or take too long to respond.  If they take too long to respond in writing (even if it's to say that their client is not at fault), you can file a written complaint with the state's dept of ins regulation regarding their handling of the claim.

rated:
Assuming you're not going to see an attorney and instead posted on fatwallet for legal advice...

1.  FILE YOUR SMALL CLAIMS CASE TODAY, ORDER SERVICE ON THE DEFENDANT.  You need to be assertive.
2.  OBTAIN A SUBPOENA FROM THE COURT AND SERVE IT ON KROGER FOR THE VIDEO.  IMMEDIATELY.
3.  GET THREE REPUTABLE ESTIMATES

Get a copy of the police report. I hope you forcefully told the officer you absolutely were standing still.  However even if you were, at least theoretically you could have suddenly backed into the path of the other car and stopped.  You definitely need the video --- now, before it is destroyed.   Were there any other witnesses?   Otherwise it's a "he said' "he said" situation.

rated:
I have a feeling that the truck guy was an insurance pro since he did everything by the book.

rated:
quaters said:   
JW10 said:   
Minoritydan said:   Get a dashcam, doesnt help now, but it may in the future.
  Dash cam does not help when hit on the side or rear.

2 Channel (front and rear) Dash Cams have been out for a while and work quite well.

Blackvue 2-Channel Dash Cam 

  Yeah but does it do the sides?

rated:
Question, OK, getting video from a store is hard. But can you ask a store nicely to take a look at the footage and give you a brief supporting statement of what they saw, and that the related footage is available per police request?

rated:
$700 is not enough to do a real investigation for. The insurance companies will likely just take your word against his and declare 50% responsibility... they won't waste any time on it.

If his damages were $0, and yours were $700 then you would get a $350 check since you are "50% responsible"

You could try to sue in small claims court and do your own legwork, but it won't be worth your time unless you want to do it as a matter of principle.

If I were you, I would shop around to find the highest Body Shop quote to repair the damage. If you can find an inflated quote for $1400 then you may be able to get your $700 in damages back. 

Sucks, but that's how it goes down.

rated:
Ecuadorgr said:   Question, OK, getting video from a store is hard. But can you ask a store nicely to take a look at the footage and give you a brief supporting statement of what they saw, and that the related footage is available per police request?
  The chance of them agreeing to this seems remote.

rated:
Also, for all the people referencing the police report:

In situations like this (not a multi car crash on the freeway with fatalities), the police determination of "who is at fault" is often based on the statements of the parties involved. So if one party says "I started backing up before they did! Then they zipped out of their spot and came out of nowhere!" And the other party says "I was stopped in the lane and about to proceed forward", the police are doing the same as the insurance company...he said she said. If it's not really clear cut (person x was stopped at a red light and was rear ended), their liability determination is a bit iffy. They aren't going to do extra research CSI style to figure out trajectory or if one party was braking or (insert act here). Alternately, you'll wait 6 weeks for a police report only to get something that says "unable to determine fault due to conflicting statements and insufficient evidence". So, as I stated before, the police determination of fault is often useless and isn't necessarily accurate. Insurance companies will get them as a token gesture and add them to the file for arbitration purposes...if the damages are high enough.

rated:
Police procedures for this type of accident are different in every state and can even be different according to the policies of each jurisdiction, but based on what OP wrote, I would think where ever he is is similar to most departments where I am (Virginia). When the accident is not reportable (on private property, under $1500 in total damage, no injuries), the police will just facilitate an information exchange. The insurance companies are aware of this and they know that the police don't want to do any extra work to make their job easier. A police report can be important when there are heavy damages and/or injuries, but they are pretty much useless in a situation like this.

rated:
The exact same scenario happened to me about 7 yrs ago. But the damage was to the moving car. I related my version of the story but unknown to me, I was determined to be at fault (wasn't even notified of it). I learnt of it later when my insurance rates skyrocketed (I was trying to move to someone else at the end of my term). The new insurance's rep had it somehow removed from my file and gave me a better rate.

rated:
i was in a similar situation a few months back in Texas, although it was in a Home Depot parking lot, police came and took statements. The other party claimed all that they could but eventually what mattered in determining fault was the point of impact. The fact that it was your driver door that the other guy backed into (so his trunk backed in to your driver door) proves that you weren't at fault. Also, the moment you get into an accident, always take pictures/video without altering the accident scene.

rated:
brettdoyle said:   $700 is not enough to do a real investigation for. The insurance companies will likely just take your word against his and declare 50% responsibility... they won't waste any time on it.

If his damages were $0, and yours were $700 then you would get a $350 check since you are "50% responsible"

You could try to sue in small claims court and do your own legwork, but it won't be worth your time unless you want to do it as a matter of principle.

If I were you, I would shop around to find the highest Body Shop quote to repair the damage. If you can find an inflated quote for $1400 then you may be able to get your $700 in damages back. 

Sucks, but that's how it goes down.


This is one reason doing your own legwork can be better than subrogating under a collision policy. It's potentially worth half the damages to the insurer to fight it (which they may recoup anyway through hiking your premiums). To you, it could be worth half the damages PLUS the potential premium increases.

rated:
IStillPickUpPennies said:   I was at Kroger.....
 

  
Private parking lot, each company pays their own (after your deductible, of course).

rated:
Separate note, a lot of insurance companies will pay claims based off their own adjusters' estimates. The general rule is that they won't pay for damage they can't see even if it's really likely (the bumper is crushed but they won't pay for the foam under the bumper that couldn't possibly be survived, because they can't "see" it). So, either you plan on actually repairing and get an estimate when everything is removed, or risk getting an estimate for partial damages. A Body Shop will write on for that foam piece or to replace instead of repair, etc, but the insurance company won't pay if they can't see.

rated:
marcopolomle said:   
quaters said:   
JW10 said:   
Minoritydan said:   Get a dashcam, doesnt help now, but it may in the future.
  Dash cam does not help when hit on the side or rear.

2 Channel (front and rear) Dash Cams have been out for a while and work quite well.

Blackvue 2-Channel Dash Cam

  Yeah but does it do the sides?

You can always set up an additional two channels to cover the sides.  Many people have done it.

Here is one setup:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBCQ-83NKMI



rated:
Easy way to get police to come if they refuse to attend to parking lot accidents. Casually mention that you *think* the other driver is *possibly* impaired.

rated:
alamo11 said:   Easy way to get police to come if they refuse to attend to parking lot accidents. Casually mention that you *think* the other driver is *possibly* impaired.
  
I thought 'hot, white, young, woman in distress' will get them on the scene faster. 

rated:
You'll both end up paying to get your vehicles fixed. Store won't assist with the video footage. Seen this hundreds of times.

Skipping 4 Messages...
rated:
Insurance cos. have formulas and standard forms of determining liability based on the circumstances of the accident. If you do a Google search with some terms that describe your accident, you may be able to determine how the company will come down. I say this based on experience....I just had an accident where I hit a police car and everyone I know couldn't imagine how I would not be at fault. The officer made an unsafe left turn, admittted it, and it turns out left turn accidents are almost universally scored 100% the fault of the person making the turn. The police dept.'s insurance has already paid in full.

I do not have collision ins. on my vehicle and my ins. co. was no help at all in dealing with the other company....I did all my own contacts and legwork. The police report was merely an accurate telling of the facts and assigned no blame. My guess would be this will be called 2 cars backing out at the same time (whether or not this is precisely the case) = shared responsibility. Hope I'm wrong and Good Luck!

  • Quick Reply:  Have something quick to contribute? Just reply below and you're done! hide Quick Reply
     
    Click here for full-featured reply.


Disclaimer: By providing links to other sites, FatWallet.com does not guarantee, approve or endorse the information or products available at these sites, nor does a link indicate any association with or endorsement by the linked site to FatWallet.com.

Thanks for visiting FatWallet.com. Join for free to remove this ad.

While FatWallet makes every effort to post correct information, offers are subject to change without notice.
Some exclusions may apply based upon merchant policies.
© 1999-2016