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Old 11-10-2003, 11:07 AM
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Do hit-and-run (minor damage) baddies actually get in any trouble?

So, yesterday I witnessed a minor-damage hit-and-run. Two women in a big, black SUV ( does it really have to conform to a bad stereotype?) tried to parallel park, and their front end tore off the rear light, red-plastic, cover-lens thing, off the van in front. After scrapping up two or three more times, they gave up and sped off.

Some other witnesses and I, with disgusted indignation, copied down the licence plate and called the cops, who didn't respond because no pedestrian or bicycle was involved, the van owner wasn't around, and we all said that it was unlikely that there was more than $40 damage.

And ten minutes later, the two women drove past again, slowly, to check out the damage and see how much trouble they were in, then they sped off again. Jerks!

So, aside from the bad karma points they just earned for their slimebucketry, are they actually going to get in any doo-doo? Will their insurance company be notifed and their premiums go up? Any kind of ticket in the mail? Or do they just get away with being jerks?
Old 11-10-2003, 11:08 AM
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If anyone tells the owner of the van they will.
Old 11-10-2003, 11:28 AM
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Remarkable. I went through an almost similar scenario a few months ago. Saw an accident as a minivan tried to park, saw the driver panic speed off, called the police with the license plate. Only in my case, an officer responded. While I was waiting for the police, to make this scenario even more similar, the driver came back to see the damage. She couldn't see it from inside her van (it was pretty minor--her van took the brunt of it) so she kept driving.

The police officer I met with took it very seriously. He and I both empathized with the woman because who hasn't been in that situation--one little dumbass thing and bingo you've damaged a car. But damnit, when you hit a car, you STOP. There was no doubt that a report was filed and she was contacted. Maybe it depends on the town? I live in a city of about 100,000 people without a lot of violent crime.
Old 11-10-2003, 11:30 AM
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Jonathan Chance well, heck yeah, the van owner knows. We left a message on his winshield (luckily after the jerks drove past the second time, otherwise they probably would've swiped the note.) So the van driver has all the details on the SUV, a description of the dirvers, and the list of witnesses who gave their phone numbers. (He called last night, really nice guy too.)

But what can he do about it? We already called the cops (who were only mildly interested in "whcih way did they go?") He's going to go and get a copy of our report, but since the damage is likely way, way below his deductible, do his insurace company and/or the cops even really care?

(I'm hoping so, because I'd hate to think jerks like that might have gotten away/get away with worse damage in the past/future.)
Old 11-10-2003, 11:42 AM
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A few years ago I came out of my apartment to go to work and saw that I had been the victim of a hit and run, some agressively bad parallel parking was my guess. A witness had left the license plate but no contact info. The cops didn't care but the insurance company had a field day with the info. They contacted the owner of the hit and run car and demanded payment for the damages. To emphasize their point, they put a hold on his registration such that he couldn't get new tabs until the insurance company was satisfied.
Old 11-10-2003, 11:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by CrankyAsAnOldMan
The police officer I met with took it very seriously. He and I both empathized with the woman because who hasn't been in that situation--one little dumbass thing and bingo you've damaged a car. But damnit, when you hit a car, you STOP. There was no doubt that a report was filed and she was contacted. Maybe it depends on the town? I live in a city of about 100,000 people without a lot of violent crime.
I think that's what annoyed all of us witnesses so much. Here was a big, shiny (and brand new model) SUV, that caused very little damage and they didn't even leave a note saying "oh, I'm so sorry, I'll buy you a new light plastic thingy." The van guy will probably be out about $30 or $40, the bulb wasn't even broken, and there's some black paint smeared/scratched against the back corner (not even a dent).

The van guy sounded disappointed over the phone, mostly because of the lack of common courtesy (and they could has caused more damage, they were just lucky.)

The population here is around 5 million, the cops have better things to do than go after a couple boneheads in an SUV -- hence I'm wondering if they just get to go off and repeat their little performance elsewhere.
Old 11-10-2003, 12:57 PM
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I think the party at fault's insurance is responsible for the damage, regardless of the amount or the deductible. I think when you are at fault, or it is a comprehensive claim (such as flood damage), your deductible applies. If I'm right about this, the injured party's insurance will be able to track down the accused's insurance, and go to bat for him.

I worked in an auto claims office once, but it was a long time ago. Anyone with more recent/ accurate info care to clarify?

I once backed into someone's van in a shopping center parking lot, left my own insurance & contact info in a note, and they were able to make the claim against my insurance, no problem. My insurance went up substantially, but apparently I did $1800 of damage to the door???
Old 11-10-2003, 01:14 PM
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Back when I was in grad school, a woman I was dating sideswiped a parked car while driving home late at night. She claimed she was so exhausted that she didn't even notice she'd hit the other car, and didn't know what happened until the following day. If I recall correctly, there was more damage to the other car than in the OP, but not hugely so.

The police eventually found her (she may have called them the next morning and reported it), and she was charged with "leaving the scene of an accident". She was allowed to go through a diversion program instead of receiving a conventional sentence.

So, yes, hit-and-run does have criminal consequences.
Old 11-10-2003, 01:20 PM
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Harriet I'm in Ontario, does it make a difference i there is a no-fault insurance system?

I want them to have their comeuppance, dammit! Ideally, I wish the van owner would be allowed to go over to thier house and give them a swift kick in the shins. But in the absence of any forthcoming shin-kickery, I want to be assured that their insurance company will at least chew them out over the phone and threaten to raise their rates for being irresposible boobs!

I should Pit 'em.
Old 11-10-2003, 02:36 PM
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General Rule for the victim in this case:

Victim's insurance won't be able to get involved until the damage exceeds any collision deductible the victim may have on the auto policy.

Suzzbagg's insurance company (assuming there is one!) is on the loss from dollar 1 (Canadian or American) under her Liability coverage.

So here's the game plan:
1) Victim calls Scuzzbagg and says, "Gimme the name of your insurance company. I have witnesses to the accident if you wanna start denying responsibility."
2) Victim calls Scuzzbagg's Insurance company and proceeds with repairs.
3) If there is a God, Scuzzbagg's insurance company will be VERY unimpressed with their customer's wanton disregard of traffic laws and cancels the policy in anticipation of future irresponsibility (they can do this--it is a little-known fact that most insurance companies have a special department staffed with people specially trained in swift shin-kicking).

Under NO circumstances should the victim attempt to handle the claim without the victims' insurance invlovement. The reasons are numerous, but boil down to 1) victim can totally get screwed 2) scuzzbagg deserves to be penalized in as many ways possible for being...what was the term.......a "jerk."
Old 11-10-2003, 02:39 PM
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Last paragraph: "victims' insurance invlovement" should read "Scuzzbagg's insurance involvement"
Old 11-10-2003, 02:50 PM
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It's not clear to me it this -- ...the rear light, red-plastic, cover-lens thing... -- describes one, two, or three pieces, but I find this -- ...unlikely that there was more than $40 damage. -- to be pretty optimistic. On some vehicles, one simple lens assembly will cost two to four times that much.
Old 11-10-2003, 03:00 PM
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Matchka -- so how does the whole "no-fault" thing work? (It's been explained to me before, but I still don't get it.)

FTR - the Victim Van guy, who seemed really nice on the phone, was going to get a report from the police to pursue it through the insurance company.

But won't they get a traffic ticket? Demerit points? Stern talking to from cops? Lump of a coal from Santa at Christamas? Or do the police need to catch the driver behind the wheel in order to ticket / arrest / demerit / shin-kick the SUV driver?

(I'm thinking that if the SUV belongs to someone whose wife/daughter/aunt was driving it at the time of the accident, it would be unjust for the owner to get a ticket in the mail later on.)
Old 11-10-2003, 03:09 PM
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It may be that the police and/or prosecutors are obliged to take action if the actual victim files a formal complaint.

It varies with jurisdiction and circumstances, but a conviction for hit and run or leaving the scene can carry a significant penalty.

From http://thekansan.com/stories/120202/...02020011.shtml

"Under Kansas law, a hit-and-run conviction can result in a penalty of a month in jail and a $500 fine. The maximum penalty increases to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine if the accident involves injury or death."

And from http://huntington.edu/students/H...APPENDIX-B.htm

"Leaving the scene of an accident is a class B misdemeanor. The maximum penalty would be 180 days in jail and a fine not to exceed $1,000. The standard sentence normally given in Huntington County Superior Court for leaving the scene of an accident is the same as a DWI conviction except that the driving privileges are suspended for a period of 180 days rather than 90 days."
Old 11-10-2003, 03:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Gary T
...unlikely that there was more than $40 damage. -- to be pretty optimistic. On some vehicles, one simple lens assembly will cost two to four times that much.
True, I must confess my estimate may be way off, I was guessing based on the time I busted my own.

The whole lens assembly was not damaged, it remains perfectly intact. The top lens popped out in one perfect piece, but then shattered when it hit the ground. Otherwise, he'd have been able to pick it up and snap it back into place.

I was able to replace my red, plastic lens myself, buying a replacement from a junkyard for $25. His is a not-so-new, domestic utility van. It's very comon so it shouldn't be too hard to find a replacement at a reasonable price. Unless he's really mechanically inept, he should be able to click it into place quite easily.

If on the other hand, there's more damage than what we noticed, the guy's gonna be really mad and in a serious shin-kicking mood!
Old 11-10-2003, 04:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Gary T
...unlikely that there was more than $40 damage. -- to be pretty optimistic. On some vehicles, one simple lens assembly will cost two to four times that much.
True, I must confess my estimate may be way off, I was guessing based on the time I busted my own.

The whole lens assembly was not damaged, it remains perfectly intact. The top lens popped out in one perfect piece, but then shattered when it hit the ground. Otherwise, he'd have been able to pick it up and snap it back into place.

I was able to replace my red, plastic lens myself, buying a replacement from a junkyard for $25. His is a not-so-new, domestic utility van. It's very comon so it shouldn't be too hard to find a replacement at a reasonable price. Unless he's really mechanically inept, he should be able to click it into place quite easily.

If on the other hand, there's more damage than what we noticed, the guy's gonna be really mad and in a serious shin-kicking mood!
Old 11-10-2003, 04:22 PM
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Matchka -- so how does the whole "no-fault" thing work? (It's been explained to me before, but I still don't get it.)

My pleasure. No Fault refers to Injury claims. Not really relevant to this one, but since you asked….

First: LIABILITY insurance is what all of us responsible drivers (have to) pay for. It takes care of our victims’ injuries and property damage. Without getting into the specifics of “limits,” we carry 2 kinds of LIABILITY insurance: Bodily Injury (BI) and Property Damage (PD). Pretty self-explanatory, yes? So If I bash a parked car with my elephantine, gasoline-swilling, politically-incorrect, socially, and environmentally irresponsible SUV…where was I? Oh yeah…MY PD LIABILITY insurance will take care of the damage I cause to that car. If, in the process of executing the above maneuver, I cause Bodily Injury to someone (or if I just run ‘em down because I’ve failed to take into account the increased braking distance of my EGSPISEI SUV) my BI LIABILITY insurance will pay for those damages.

“No-Fault” when I have encountered it refers only to medical injuries and as far as I can tell refers to nothing else. The idea is that we will all take responsibility for insuring against our own injuries that arise out of a car crash. Why this is a good idea is based on the nature of how LIABILITY claims are paid. See, when I run you down in the intersection, I owe you for your BI. Your BI claim will consist of actual medical and related costs (Special) as well as possibly “intangible” expenses like pain/suffering/loss of consortium (General). The amount you can expect to get paid for your General BI claim depends on the size and nature of your Special BI Claim (you’re not getting a ton of boo-hoo money if all you had was an ambulance ride with no ER treatment). In order for you to be fairly paid for your whole BI claim, the insurer needs to be able to look at ALL the facts before finalizing a settlement. This can take a long time if you’re severely injured and are receiving treatment months or YEARS after the accident…all that time, you are not getting paid because ALL the facts are not in…and the insurance company would like you to please hurry up with ALL the facts, so payment is withheld until you say you are done.

THAT means you could be left sitting on your medical bills (specials) for a long time. Your Health Insurance carrier won’t pay because an Auto Insurance company has accepted liability and will pay the expenses…later…but the doctors, ambulance drivers & hospital want payment as expenses are incurred! What to do? Your credit gets hosed and all you did was get run over!

Enter: No Fault [FANFARE & Image of Superhero with cape flapping majestically in the breeze]. The coverage we can buy (in some states/provinces) to take care of medical costs as they are incurred. Because you are paying for the coverage, it kicks in irrespective of who is at fault in the accident (just like you can file a collision claim even though it was I who crushed your puny little girly-car with my EGSPISEI SUV). You can still file a BI claim for your General claim, but now you don’t have to deal directly with the debtors. Oh yeah, it ALSO protects you from jerks who drive uninsured and walk away from injury claims because they’re deabeats who don’t have any assets to sue for and little if any future earnings potential to garnish.

There are problems with No Fault, but those deserve their own post/pit
Old 11-10-2003, 04:55 PM
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Ah, I see Master MatchkaYoda.

But, to thoroughly confuse matters, my bank discusses the Ontario "no-fault" stuff here which seems to say that property damage is included.

*twitch*... Confusion... returning... *twitch*

But back to the OP.... Eureka! Took me awhile, but I found this at the Ministry of Ontario's website:
Quote:
The penalty for failing to report a collision and/or failing to provide the required information is a fine of $200 to $1,000, three demerit points, a possible jail term and suspension of your driver’s licence. The penalty for leaving the scene of a collision also includes seven demerit points.
Emphasis, yours truly. Okay, so fine and dandy. This one is (probably) not a must-report collision. Nonetheless, if I understand that correctly, they still must have coughed up their info, and they are still guilty of fleeing the scene. They've officially done a Very Bad Thing.

This much, I'm pretty sure I knew already (aside from the penalty details).

So what I want to know is will the cops actually do anything for a less-than $1000 collision, and who will end up in the doghouse? The cops didn't catch the driver behind the wheel, so is the owner of the car going to end up with seven demerit points? What if the owner wasn't the driver? Do they get away with it, if they can't prove who was behind the wheel? Does the innocent owner get railroaded?
Old 11-10-2003, 05:02 PM
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"So what I want to know is will the cops actually do anything for a less-than $1000 collision"

I asked the cops about this after someone did it to my car recently & they said if its under $750 they won't do a report. One insurance company said they won't raise insurance rate if it's under $750.
Old 11-10-2003, 05:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by handy
I asked the cops about this after someone did it to my car recently & they said if its under $750 they won't do a report. One insurance company said they won't raise insurance rate if it's under $750.
That's like here, you don't need to file a collision report if it's less than $1000 (although I know people who have filed a report with the Collision Centre "just in case"). And cops don't come if it's under $1000 (with exceptions such as injury, pedestrian involvement etc.)

However, if the car takes off and leaves the scene (and couldn't possibly have known what the damage was at the time that they took off), isn't that a separate issue? Does it all boil down to the "under $1000="unworthy" rule? That's like saying "it's not illegal to flee the scene if it was cheap to fix" and that doesn't seem right.

I suppose that's pretty much the answer though. It's illegal to leave the scene, but -- practically speaking -- the cops won't waste time with the paperwork. Dammit, I want them to be at least scolded! I hope the insurance company kicks them in the shins. Kick 'em!
Old 11-10-2003, 05:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by handy
"So what I want to know is will the cops actually do anything for a less-than $1000 collision"

I asked the cops about this after someone did it to my car recently & they said if its under $750 they won't do a report. One insurance company said they won't raise insurance rate if it's under $750.
They'll do a report for less then that here (suburbs of Dallas, Texas), at least.

I got rear ended while waiting to make a left-turn, pulled into a gas station with the other guy, called the cops, and swapped insurance info. Very polite cop showed up about 20 minutes later. She took our info let me go, and (I learn later from the report) ticketed the other guy for "Failure to Control Speed." She checked a box on the accident form saying that there was probabably less then $1000 dollars of damage involved (ultimately, my car needed about $1050 worth of body work--new bumper and impact bars).

Dealing with "the other guys" insurance is an absolute breeze when you have a report number and the citation number from his ticket.
Old 11-10-2003, 05:54 PM
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Eats I expected as much...that's why I paid extra for Weasel Words 101 as part of my English degree.

Observe:
“No-Fault” when I have encountered it and "as far as I can tell"

On re-reading the Ontario article I notice verbiage like, "You don't have to go after the at-fault driver for compensation." (my emphasis) this sounds a bit like my earlier (obtuse and well-hidden) comment, "(just like you can file a collision claim even though it was I who crushed your puny little girly-car with my EGSPISEI SUV). Which basically implies that one can file a collision claim against one's own policy (and pay the deductible) or file a PD claim against someone else's. In the first case, who is at fault doesn't matter--your insurer pays your claim.

Thus I clothe my naked villainy.
Old 11-10-2003, 06:54 PM
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Matchka I think part of my long-standing confusion also stems from information that comes from juristictions that are "similar" but "different." That whole "fault point system" confused the crap outta me.

In any case, if the Van Guy has to repair his light out of his own pocket, I really hope it's as easy as snapping a new red lens into place and that he can get the replacement part cheaply.

I pitted the Scuzzbuckets for good measure.
Old 11-10-2003, 07:18 PM
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I pitted the Scuzzbuckets for good measure.

Yeah, I been with ya all day
Old 11-11-2003, 12:42 AM
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Ahem.

A few weeks ago, I was in a hit-and-run.

I was the perp.

I did not know that I had hit anyone. I was changing lanes and BARELY brushed her on the driver's side, up front. It was windy that day, and I had felt something on the back of my car, but I thought it was the wind. She honked at me once, but that was it, and so I thought she was honking at my bumper sticker. She made no attempt to get me to pull over, either, so I went on my merry way.

So imagine my surprise when I get a letter a few days later from the police department saying I'm being investigated for a hit-and-run and I have 3 days before they file criminal charges

Being a legal student and knowing what they do to hit-and-runs, I panicked and called the cop halfway in tears. He sort of laughed at me, told me to chill out and call the lady I hit.

So I did, and turns out she realized when it happened that I didn't know I had hit her. She didn't even know for sure until she got out of her car to look. The crook car dealer she took her car to estimated $650 in damages, so I probably did about $300 (a little scratch and I gave her a bit of my paint, even though there is no paint missing from my car).

Called my insurance company, told 'em the story. I don't know yet if my insurance is going to go up but if it does, it won't be much.
Old 11-11-2003, 01:17 AM
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A few years ago someone backed into my car in a theater parking lot while I was inside watching a movie. Fortunately for me, an anonymous witness left me a note with the licence number and description of the car and driver. I called the cops, who told me that (here in Maryland) leaving the scene of an accident is an arrestable offense!

The officer took the info in the note and visited the perp's house before the end of her shift (about 7 am on a Sunday). Within a couple of hours, the father of the 16-year-old perp called me to apologize and offer to pay for the repairs without involving insurance companies.

AFAIK, no charges were filed, but the visit from the cop apparently shook them up pretty good.
Old 11-11-2003, 01:25 AM
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As someone in the OP's neighbourhood. let me pipe up with what I [think] I know.

Failure to remain is indeed taken pretty seriously in Ontario, regardless of the total damage. If the 'victim' files a report with the Accident Reporting Centre, the driver of the SUV will be charged.

If the total damage is over $1000, the driver of the SUV will also be charged with failure to report, which is also pretty serious.

The apparent lack of interest from the police is because they generally do not attend minor accidents where there are no injuries. They let the Reporting Centres take care of it.
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Old 11-11-2003, 09:55 AM
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I am surprised to hear that the police don't want to be involved if the damage is less than $1000 and there appear to be no injuries. I'd be paranoid that the other person might later use the accident to their advantage--sue for injuries, or, say, claim greater damage to their car or try to blame me for subsequent damage they did. Frankly, I want the safety of the police report, knowing that a third party with experience in documenting these things wrote down the relevant information (including a summary of the damage and the fact that the other guy seemed fine). But then my husband is a fornesic animator so I always hear the worst of these things. Paranoia.
Old 11-11-2003, 08:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by CrankyAsAnOldMan
I am surprised to hear that the police don't want to be involved if the damage is less than $1000 and there appear to be no injuries. I'd be paranoid that the other person might later use the accident to their advantage--sue for injuries,
Cranky the law here says the police won't come if it's under $1000 unless there are injuries. If some weasel tried to sue later, I expect the courts would be highly skeptical and wonder "if you were hurt, why didn't you call the cops when it happened?"

My ex is a lawyer and did a lot of insurance suits while articling. What happens is that the driver and the victim each go through their insurance companies. As far as the lawsuits go, she said that most of the time it was the insurance companies suing each other back and forth with bewildered clients tagging along for the ride.

Cerowyn, oh, you have restored my faith in Toronto's traffic cops! Thank you! Thank you!

I hope the baddies got their shins kicked!
Old 04-01-2015, 08:55 AM
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You do not have to fork over your insurance information in PA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pork Rind View Post
A few years ago I came out of my apartment to go to work and saw that I had been the victim of a hit and run, some agressively bad parallel parking was my guess. A witness had left the license plate but no contact info. The cops didn't care but the insurance company had a field day with the info. They contacted the owner of the hit and run car and demanded payment for the damages. To emphasize their point, they put a hold on his registration such that he couldn't get new tabs until the insurance company was satisfied.
I read several comments and felt that I should respond. I don't know the laws in other states, but in PA (which is a no fault state) you are not legally required to give ANYONE your insurance info if you do not wish to. No matter how much damage to the other car. It would then become a civil matter in which you could be sued for probably much more than the damages you caused. If you can't pay however it will go into collections.

The laws are different state to state but, again, I'm PA you are not legally required to give anyone your insurance info
Old 04-01-2015, 09:14 AM
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I know it's old, but I had a Honda Civic long before the date of this zombie, and a rear tail light assembly cost about $200. A simple fender scrape and headlight scrape (not even broken!) on a concrete post in a parking garage (on a cheaper rental car) back in 2005 cost over $1400. Any significant damage to a bumper, or even some serious paint scratch, will NOT be cheap.

I would imagine you have to try VERY hard nowadays to avoid the $1000 limit (which does not appear to have changed much with the times).

Last edited by md2000; 04-01-2015 at 09:15 AM.
Old 04-01-2015, 09:49 AM
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The situation is pretty similar here in the UK. If I drove off from a minor (no injury) scrape, I would be committing a criminal offence and could well be prosecuted if a witness was prepared to stand up and be counted. The police would send a form to the registered keeper of the car asking who the driver was at the time and when they got that they would probably issue a fixed penalty. I would have to inform my insurance company and would almost certainly get a hike in my premium on the grounds that I am a bad risk. If I stayed around (or left a note), I could well negotiate with the third party and avoid criminal and insurance consequences.

The police won't generally come to a no-injury collision unless there is some physical (shin kicking) dispute. All that stuff about special and general claims is the same, except that the insurer will often make interim payments without prejudice and of course the medical costs are limited to a specialist's opinion on long term prognosis and anything like private physiotherapy. (This would be different for a foreign citizen who should have cover for medical expenses as well)

I am reminded of the (apocryphal) story about the guy who got back to his car and saw that it had a bad scrape. He was relieved when he saw the note under the wiper until he read it. "The people watching think I am writing my name and address on this note - Sorry".

Last edited by bob++; 04-01-2015 at 09:51 AM.
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