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Car accident nightmare(32 Posts)
I was in a long queue of traffic. 5mph maximum - just crawling. My suspension collapsed - cue loads of flashing lights on dashboard. My attention was obviously affected for a moment. Noticed that the car in front had stopped. Slammed on brakes, and just hit it. Clearly not hard. My DDs were in the back - didn't notice a bump, just felt me brake hard.
I pulled over and spoke to the lovely old lady who I had hit. My car is much larger, and took the most impact. The suspension had pulled the bumper down, so it looked bad. Her car had a very tiny amount of damage. The plate that attaches under the rear bumper had a couple of bolts missing, so was slightly hanging down. Nothing else evident, other than a few minor scratches that appeared to be preexisting due to paint colour. My car is very dark - her car was red. Scratches seemed pale blue.
I spoke to her, and she was quite shocked (as was I). She told me she was off on a long journey, and would have to call her DH to get her car to a garage. We exchanged details. She returned to her vehicle.
I limped the DDs to school, then limped to local garage. The pump had gone, plus front tyres damaged by suspension drop. £1500 bill. Not able to claim on insurance, as it was a 'wear and tear' issue - irrelevant to incident.
I had to drive past incident site to go to garage. Her car had gone (in 5 minutes), so she had driven to her destination.
Later that day, I called her to check if she was OK. Her DH was mystified. She had gone to the coast for a few days and he had no knowledge of the incident. The coast is as far as you get from our area. I was relieved.
Until her DH called me to advise that the car needs a new bumper. £500+
There was genuinely not a mark on it.
I drive a 4x4. My bumper took all of the impact. Her car is small, and her bumper was well below any impact. He told me which garage he had taken it to, and that it was a company car.
Research shows that she is approximately 90yrs old. They are very well heeled (millionaires). Irrelevant if the damage mentioned was realistic, but it absolutely isn't.
I wish I had taken photos of both cars, but didn't.
Am I within my rights to phone the garage to discuss this claim, or do I just have to suck it up? I haven't gone through insurance due to £500 excess.
I'd be totally happy to cover it if it was realistic, but there is no way that she needs a new bumper. I tapped her car due to a failure in mine.
call your insurance, let them deal with it.
500£ sounds about right tbh. bumpers have an important function.
Similar happened to me a few years ago. Crawling traffic approaching a traffic light. The woman in front suddenly decided to brake to turn up a side road. Presumably to avoid the traffic lights. I was too close and bumped her. We had been doing minimal speed like you, only 5ishmph. There wasn't a mark in either of our cars. she called me that evening with a £1500 quote for damage!! my insurance company paid out as well as £7,500 for whiplash I genuinely don't know where the £1500 of damage was as there wasn't a mark.
You have my sympathies OP. I would suggest asking for a quote with another garage.
I would ask them to supply you with 2 quotes from different garages for the repair work. When you request to use your own garage if claiming off insurance they require you to supply multiple quotes, so that they can check you're not inflating cost / getting your friend down the road to fix it and both taking a cut. It will give you an idea of the actual damage, repair needed and total cost. Unfortunately sometimes damage can't be seen externally. It's a bit of a difficult one though as you did go into the back of her, if they take it to insurance they will likely win as you went into the back of her.
This needs to go thro insurance, she might later claim whiplash etc. Sounds like they will not do you any favours on a cheap cash.in hand repair
Regardless of the reasonableness of the cost, you cannot possibly know they are millionaires or that she did in fact go to the destination.
I was rear ended at a fairly low speed last year. The damage didn't look that extensive but when I got to the garage and they took a look they showed me that a lot had been shifted around inside that you couldn't really see externally. So I wouldn't assume you're being taken for a ride.
If you went into the back of her smaller car, bearing in mind you have described having a much bigger car, then yes you could have caused damage that wasn’t ‘visible’.
Pass it to your insurers. You need to notify them anyway. As previous posters have said, you may have caused damage that was not visible. It doesn't surprise me that she needs a new bumper after being hit by a much bigger car. Indeed, as she was in the smaller car I would expect her car to suffer more damage than yours. That is a simple question of physics.
Your car was a bigger 4x4 of of course it did more damage. The bumper is designed to take the impact of a crash to save the rest of the car, there will be crumple zones crumpled even if you couldn't see that at a glance.
Cough up the money.
Her car had a very tiny amount of damage. The plate that attaches under the rear bumper had a couple of bolts missing, so was slightly hanging down.
So you damaged it. The fact they are rich has nothing to do with it. It was your fault so you need to pay up. I would get the three quotes as suggested though to ensure transparency though.
I had someone hit my back bumper last year. It was fibreglass (like most are now) and dented in a bit first, then popped out again literally about 30 seconds after the impact.
Visually it looked fine. Hardly a mark on the outside. Structually inside it was wrecked and was no longer fit for purpose as the impact meant it had no strength left to with hold any further type of bump.
New bumper needed.
Completely feasible. Someone drove into me at lights (green light, car in front of me didn't move, so I didn't either. Car behind saw green = go)
My bumper was destroyed, despite being being low speed implact. Couldn't see it from the outside at ALL
Tbh a dash cam wouldn't save you in this situation. Rear end damage isn't always visible. DS had a lady cause £1500 worth of damages to his rear end after a low speed shunt. Car looked fine, underneath not so much.
I think you'll have to take this one on the chin.
I would be careful of asking her to faff on getting multiple quotes - as her alternative is to claim off your insurance. As it's your fault you're pretty much in her hands, unless you want to just go via insurance
If it was me I'd just use insurance. Looks like the cheap solution isn't going to happen so it is now much easier to hand the problem to your insurers. They can manage costs, quotes, future whiplash claims...
Although in truth, if it was me I'd do exactly what you have done! Try to sort it out directly, stress about it, post on mumsnet, and then go to insurance. ;)
You are meant to tell them anyway, so your premium will be impacted regardless.
It's annoying, but looks like the informal way will cost as much as the formal approach, but with much more risk and stress.
£500 sounds quite low. People don't realise that costs very quickly add up. A new bumper or even bashing out an old one and then a bit of a paint re-spray is easily £500+.
Whether she's a millionaire. or drive to the coast and put her car in for a quote the next day. Are both irrelevant.
Always take photos.
I wrote of a mercedes in a 15mph crash, yes i was in a discovery but mine cost £2000 to fix including new bumper, my car had just a scratch on it after the collision! Oh and have just had to have the bumper replaced on my kia (downsized as kias are cheaper) and that was £900 because its body coloured and its the time for respray.
You damaged her car. The fact that she's old and rich is neither here nor there. Just let the insurance company deal with it.
Someone rear ended dh at traffic lights at low speed. No visible damage so dh didn't even bother getting the blokes details even though he offered.
Got home and checked it out more and yes the rear bumper was a right off. Dh ended up removing it and not bothering replacing it as it was going to be £hundreds for a new one. It was kind of cracked underneath. I was so cross he hadn't got details and we had to drive around with a weird looking car.
If you are going to your insurers I'd reword your explanation. You say you took your dcs to school,went to your garage to show/get quote drove back past where it happened all within 5 minutes. Their insurers would question that which would lead them into questioning other aspects of the accident. A few years ago a car reversed into me in a car park. Thankfully my car was undamaged whilst theirs had a fair knock to the bumper . A while later I had a letter stating the opposite- that I had driven into their car. I argued the case , they came back saying knock for knock. I wrote back suggesting my car was completely scratch free and suggesting damage to their car could have been pre existing - never heard a word back.
Tbh a dash cam wouldn't save you in this situation.
The footage can be analysed to demonstrate speed, deceleration, rebound and timing of events which may contradict the claim being made.
Someone did this to me last year. The impact was sligtly larger by the sounds of it but as other posters have said, although it only looked like scratches the whole bumper needed replacing.
Be thankful it's only £500. By the time the person who hit me (or rather her insurance) had paid for a hire car for me etc the bill was £2k plus!
and if I was the other party, I would never agree to a 'mates' job.
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