Car accident - what's my responsibility?

Discussion in 'General' started by MichelleVDH, Aug 13, 2009.

  1. MichelleVDH

    MichelleVDH Well-Known Member

    I rear-ended someone this week. I was not issued a ticket, but I was at fault.
    The girl I hit just called me and has PLPD on her car. I have full coverage on mine. She had an estimate on the damage to her vehicle, and the estimate was $4500 to repair her car. Michigan is a no-fault state, and my insurance company told me I am only responsible for $500. She can contact an attorney, but Michigan law says $500 is the limit. She is asking me for more. What do I do? I feel really bad about it, but I don't have $4500. I don't want to be mean, but how do I say my insurance company paid her $500 and I'm not responsible for the rest? She is very upset with me.
  2. twin_trip_mommy

    twin_trip_mommy Well-Known Member

    WOW! that is all you are responsible for and that is all your Ins Co is going to pay WOW!

    Hay if thats the law then thats all your responsible for thats it. I would think if she keeps calling and bugging you you could consider it harassing and get a restraining order against her.

    I am just shocked that that is all your Ins. Co has to pay. You have to understand I am from MA and we do not have that limit/law here. Your personal Ins must be super expensive and be great coverage otherwise if someone else hits you how could you afford to fix or replace your vehicle out of your own pocket.
  3. MrsBQ02

    MrsBQ02 Well-Known Member

    I don't know the law, and I don't know what PLPD is... but from what I understand from past experiences is if you have insurance, then it's between her ins. co and yours to duke it out. Or just yours-- I was hit once, I left my company out of it, but his ins. company paid for my repairs. You shouldn't pay her anything directly. I suppose your insurance can raise your rates or charge your deductible, but there shouldn't be any paying her directly unless you're wanting to avoid insurance companies being involved and anyone's rates going up.
  4. Babies4Susan

    Babies4Susan Well-Known Member

    I would stay out of it and let your insurance company take care of it. I am taking it your deductible is $500, that's what you have to pay, period. If she has PLPD, that was her choice. But I am pretty sure your insurance company handles her costs if you are at fault.

    Anyways, it's a no fault state. Definitely let your insurance deal with her. That's why you pay them.
  5. Ange2k25

    Ange2k25 Well-Known Member

    Wow! Only a $500 limit on responsibility? That would suck for us since we've been rear ended 4 times in the last 3 1/2 years. The other driver has chosen to cover the full cost of repairs without going through insurance each time. The lowest was about $600 and the highest was over $1200. I would hate to be stuck paying everything beyond $500 myself when someone else hit me. I would feel really badly if I hit someone and she was left having to pay $4000 for damages I caused, but she must be aware of the law in Michigan and chose not to cover her vehicle with collision insurance that would have covered some of the repairs. Having googled it, the law is pretty clear that you are only responsible for up to $500 of her damages. Let your insurance company deal with her and make sure any monies go through them so you have solid proof that your legal liability has been met.

    For the previous poster:
    PLPD is Public Liability and Property Damage. It satisfies your obligation to the state, and offers no coverage to your vehicle's damage.
  6. MichelleVDH

    MichelleVDH Well-Known Member

    Yes, I do feel VERY badly about what happened. But it was an accident, and my break lines were faulty, which was why no ticket for me. It was like I was driving on ice and just couldn't stop. But I accept full responsibility.
    My insurance lady told me that she knew the risk she was taking by not fully insuring her vehicle with collision coverage, and that I am satisfying my obligation to her and the state by paying what the law says. Michigan law is very clear, and although I was the one that hit her, it is her responsibility to put the correct amount of insurance on her vehicle. Everyone that lives here knows the risk you are taking with only PLPD. That still doesn't ease my guilt.
    I just wish she would stop calling me directly. I am more than willing to do what I am responsible for, but I wish she would let the insurance people deal with it. Maybe I should just stop answering the phone. And I wish she didn't have my home address. That scares me a little.
  7. AmynTony

    AmynTony Well-Known Member

    I'm a licensed agent and I write in MI - since you're both MI residents you don't owe her anything...they way they see it is too bad so sad if all you carry is PLPD

    as for calling you directly - the next time she calls give her your insurance companies phone# and claims adjuster information - they are the ones to handle it...
  8. Ange2k25

    Ange2k25 Well-Known Member

    ITA. I'm sure she had no problem saving money by having only PLPD and not paying for collision coverage. I'd feel guilty too, but you're meeting your legal liabilty. It sounds like you are covered properly by insurance and this gal chose not to cover herself fully. As a driver, she was taking a chance of this happening. You have no obligation beyond the $500 mini-tort.
  9. twin_trip_mommy

    twin_trip_mommy Well-Known Member

    after reading the last few replies you should just do as Amy shared and tell her to call the Ins Co. stop calling
  10. 4jsinPA

    4jsinPA Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I would try hard not to let it get to you. Just try to figure all the money she has saved by having cheaper insurance and you have shelled out....maybe it will ease your mind as over time I am sure you have paid more over the years to have good insurance while she has coasted by. Thats the price she pays for having that insurance. You went above and beyond what was necessary.
  11. Oneplus2more

    Oneplus2more Well-Known Member

    Wow - what a tough situation. It was her decision to only get the PLPD. Did she just assume someone would happily fork over thousands of dollars they are not legally obligated to pay? What if her car has been totaled?

    I would feel bad for her but not guilty for not paying her $4000 out of pocket. It is a shame, but not your fault. I would calmly ask her to not call you again, if she does I would consider a restraining order under the circumstances. UGH! That really sucks.

    All our MI TSers, I hope you have coverage above the PLPD.

    BTW - I have never heard of this before - anyone know how many states operate under this system?
  12. TwinsItIs

    TwinsItIs Well-Known Member

    Another thought - don't be so sure that the estimated cost she quoted you is true. You'd need a heck of a lot of damage to get a 4500 bill, and she can give you any price.
  13. Chrissy Nelson

    Chrissy Nelson Well-Known Member

    I am so glad we are not a no fault state. That is not how it works here in Indiana. Alot of people with older cars here only carry liability only but if they are in a no fault accident the other party is responsible for damage.
  14. AmynTony

    AmynTony Well-Known Member

    in the 19 states I write insurance in MI is the only state that is this way for comprehensive/collision as well as for PIP (personal injury protection)...other states have no fault for just PIP coverage...
  15. bu2full

    bu2full Well-Known Member

    Can you ask your insurance lady to call her and explain to her you are NOT responsible for mroe than $500 and if she has any further questions she should call her own agent or yours and leave you out of it? I think most agents would do this. The lady sound immature to be bugging you. I completely understand this sucks for her but she knew the risk driving under insured.
  16. CapeBretoner_123

    CapeBretoner_123 Well-Known Member

    First: get 2 -3 more estimates from different places. NO way I'd pay that amount, 4500 is a write off here. She's asking for a new car.

    You did it, but only pay for the damage that was done. Not her old repairs.
  17. kingeomer

    kingeomer Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I would do what Amy said and also add the extra caveat the next time she calls that either she lets the insurance companies work it out or you will contact the police to have her stop her harassing you. It is an unfortunate situation but you did your part.
  18. 2plusbgtwins

    2plusbgtwins Well-Known Member

    I agree that she knew what she was getting into with only having PLPD. I would also feel guilty knowing that it was my fault, but if you fulfill your legal obligations, she needs to stop calling you. Basically, ditto what PP have said about the restraining order and having your insurance contact her and let her know to leave you alone.. .etc

    Here, in VA, we are not a no-fault state, but there is an option to just pay a one-time $500 payment to DMV in order to not have insurance. In that case if an insured driver hit them, the person who hit them would be responsible. . .I'd like to know what happens if they hit someone. Im pretty sure they would have to pay out of pocket for damages, since they dont have insurance. Im pretty sure thats how it works here.
  19. MichelleVDH

    MichelleVDH Well-Known Member

    It's so funny you said this...her car is an older model Chevy Cavalier and my husband said he would bet everything we had that this estimate was not accurate. It was a fender-bender, she had rear bumper damage, not a demolished rear end. He and others have been advising me to not believe everything she is saying. Especially since she called me directly and tried to get money out of me, instead of going directly through the insurance company. She did have my insurance information. And she knew her insurance wouldn't pay anything. She wanted to scare me into giving her money.
    Funny - if I read this if someone else posted it, I think it would be so clear to me what to do, but when you're the one in the situation, everything is so fuzzy!
  20. twinbears

    twinbears Well-Known Member

    I think you are right and I would tell her to stop calling or you are going to call the cops for her harrasing you. That sounds like exactly what she is doing trying to bully you into givign her money. NO that is why you have insurance and the insurance paid her what they need too and I would not feel guilty about it. She sounds like she is trying to make money off of you. How did she even get your number anyway?
  21. MichelleVDH

    MichelleVDH Well-Known Member

    I'm assuming my home number was on the police report. We didn't even exchange names or any personal information at the time of the accident.
  22. MomofOneplusTwins

    MomofOneplusTwins Well-Known Member

    My father owns a Maaco at I worked for him for a while after I graduated college, so I know how this works. First, listen to everyone else, and let insurance handel it. They will send a check to her for the amount they owe, or directly to the shop, depending how how they have it contracted. Your insurance company, hers, and the shop will all do separate estimates, and negoiate on a rate. Your insurace will not just fork out money to her, without estimating the damage themselves. If the car is an older model Chevy, and she is claiming the car damage is over $4,000, it would be totalled. In most states damage would only have to be 60-70 percent of the cars value. If the car was totalled, it would be handeled complete differently.

    Off the top of my head, if her rear bumper needs to be replaced, and painted to match the rest of her car, the damage would start somewhere around $150 for the cost of the bumper,$100 if the rear absorber needs replaced, $200 for paint (and blend), and whatever hazard waste the shop charges, maybe another $50. So, I would say be cautious of anything over $500-$1000.

    Either way, I would let your insuance handel it. If she refuses to respect your wishes about contacting your directly, call your local PD and see what you can do.

    Good luck!
  23. ckreh

    ckreh Well-Known Member

    I live in Michigan too and DH's car was rear ended while he was sitting at a red light 5 years ago. Thankfully we had full coverage because she hit him so hard it totalled the car and no one was hurt. Our insurance companies handled it and hers paid the $500 deductible and our company paid us the rest of the value on the car. We then had to purchase a new car. That is why we carry full coverage on our cars and not just the minimum because we couldn't afford to replace a car out of pocket.

    I WOULD NOT take any more calls from her. I would call your insurance agent or company and give them her info and tell them to deal with it. That is what you are paying them for. It is not your fault she was under insured. You may have caused the accident, but it is everyone's own responsiblity to carry insurance to cover what they need.

    I also spoke with my friend who is an insurance agent who said if it was a parked car you would owe to repair it in Michigan, but if it was on a street it is considered a moving violation and you are only required to pay the $500.00 maximum per Michigan Law. She also said to call your local police dept to make a report if she keeps calling you because she is not allowed to harass you like that. Especially if she got your phone number from the police report because that is illegal in Michigan. The police dept is supposed to block out that info under the Michigan privacy law.

    Good luck and try not to feel too guilty. It was an accident. You didn't do it on purpose and that is why they call them accidents.
  24. AmynTony

    AmynTony Well-Known Member

    forgot about that part too...but I didn't really think about it since you were driving and she wasn't parked....please don't feel guilty - you've paid what you owe for the $4500 sounds like she can't get her "cash for clunkers" so she's trying to get it out of you!
  25. Chrissy Nelson

    Chrissy Nelson Well-Known Member

    LOL, that is what I was thinking too. She is just upset she did not qualify for the cash for clunker program.
  26. Becky02

    Becky02 Well-Known Member

    My dh and I (with our kids) got hit from behind in a little fender bender and when the ins adjuster came out to look at our car it was about $4500 since it hit our back bumper and trunk. We barely got hit but it was a lot of damage, so just wanted to say it can cost that much but our car is only 2 yrs old.

    I would also stop talking her like others have said and make sure she knows that if she talks to you again that you will report it as harassment. Since her car is older then it's more than likely not going to cost that much. Also I wouldn't take her word for it I would want to see a couple of estimates on paper. I would have her only talk to the ins company. We are still waiting on the other ins co. to give us the go ahead to get our car fixed at their recommended facility because they are questioning their own insured person and they think he doesn't live where that guy sas he does. We also got that guys name and address and everything off of the police report.
    I hope you can clear this up. It's not your fault that she didn't have proper ins on her car.
  27. Jennifer P

    Jennifer P Well-Known Member

    If your number is public, she may have gotten it that way...if not...then I would call the police dept to complain. She has no reason to contact you directly. I also would not accept any more calls from her. If your brake lines were faulty...there shouldn't be any guilt involved. It wasn't your fault that they didn't work. Don't let her guilt you into anything! Also, your insurance company should be doing all the work for you comparing quotes to get the work done.
  28. momotwinsmom

    momotwinsmom Well-Known Member

    I fully agree with the bolded part. The other I am not familiar with.
  29. Cynthia3200

    Cynthia3200 Well-Known Member

    I live in Michigan and am very aware of the no-fault law and that PLPD pretty much is useless- thats why I never carry that type. It's her fault for not carrying good insurance on her car.
  30. MichelleVDH

    MichelleVDH Well-Known Member

    I know, and you're all right. I can't let her guilt me into anything outside of my legal responsibility. Not that it matters - I don't have the money anyway! ;)
    In an attempt to make myself feel better, I have tried to put myself in her situation. If I didn't carry full coverage and only put PLPD on my car and got hit, I really cannot imagine calling up the person that hit me and telling them to pay my bill. I'd think oh *%#! I don't have full coverage! but I wouldn't demand money directly from the second party. I think when you sign up for PLPD you know what you're getting into.
  31. MichelleVDH

    MichelleVDH Well-Known Member

    UPDATE: I called my insurance agent this afternoon to see if anything happened. It appears the girl called there yesterday afternoon, and was upset to learn she would only receive $500. She told my agent she'll be taking me to small claims court for the rest. My agent explained to her that the law is pretty clear and if she wants to go to court it is her decision, but she would be wasting her money. The girl was "aggressive" and "upset" at first, but then she appeared to calm down after my agent told her she'd rush the $500 to her as soon as she received a copy of the estimate, her insurance, and police report. That was yesterday, and she still has not sent in those items to my agent.
    I'm not worried about having to pay her money I don't have because the law is very clear on the limit. I have done a lot of research. But I am wondering if I need to contact an attorney? Or wait and see what happens? I've never so much as been pulled over before and this scares me a lot.
  32. Jennifer P

    Jennifer P Well-Known Member

    I would wait to get an attorney until she actually does something. She will have to serve you with notice of a court date...and you could countersue for attorneys fees.
  33. Renald99

    Renald99 Well-Known Member

    I think that some of the pp's suggestions: asking for other estimates, having your insurance company contact her, picking up the phone one last time to tell her to go through your insurance company and then not answering her calls...all are good ideas. If you've fulfilled your legal responsibility, its in her court. She's the one who had cruddy insurance, probably because her car wasn't worth much. She made that choice. FWIW, I used to drive an older model (at the time) cavalier. If its more than say 10 years old, getting the bumper replaced (a $600 or so affair) would total the car. When I traded mine in (~9 yrs old), it was worth about $500. She's trying to get a downpayment for a new car or a new car out of you.

    To the pp who's been rearended 4 times in 3.5 years: If its been the same person driving for each accident, that person might want to take a look at their braking habits (ie suddenly slamming on the brakes, for example). Yes, it would be deemed the fault of the person behind your car for following too closely...but that is a lot of the same type of accident in a short period of time. Hopefully nobody has been injured in any of the accidents :)
  34. AmynTony

    AmynTony Well-Known Member

    an attorney would be a fool to take her case - she won't win...

    she's probably one of our deadbeat policyholders! :laughing:
  35. twin_trip_mommy

    twin_trip_mommy Well-Known Member

    sounds like she might have over estimated the amount of damage that happened to her vehicle if she has not sent in the estimate yet.

    I'm with the other in thinking it might be premature and unnecessary for you to contact a lawyer.
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