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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    3

    Default Lane Change Accident

    My question involves a traffic accident in the State of: Maryland (yikes)

    I was traveling south on Rt. 5 and coming up to an intersection/traffic light. There was a total of three lanes. The left lane had approx. 35 to 40 cars that were stopped, most likely waiting to get into the left turn lane and for the left turn light to turn green. The middle and right lane only had a few cars in them heading towards the light. Without a turn signal or other warning, a Dodge Silverado attempts to change lanes from the left lane into the middle lane, but collides into my Lincoln. I was traveling approx. 5 miles under the 55mph speed limit while the Dodge has been completely stopped a fraction of a second earlier. There was no time to react/break, as I was not attempting to switch lanes and was hit from the side as opposed to rear-ending someone.

    On the Dodge there is damage to the passenger side fender and on the Lincoln there is damage starting at the driver's side fender, stretching through the driver door, rear door, and quarter-panel. After pulling to the side of the road, the driver of the Dodge stated he did not see the Lincoln and urged me to not call the police and that we could meet at a body shop the next day. I then promptly called the police who took both statements and provided a case number. To my knowledge no tickets were issued. After all of this took place, I asked the officer if the stories added up to which he replied "Yup, everyone said the same thing". The officer then gave me an "exchange of information" sheet, that had our insurance policy/provider, but it also said there would not be a report because nobody was injured and both vehicles were able to drive away from the scene.

    The very next day as I was attempting file the claim through my insurance, I learned that the other driver is claiming it was my fault and that they had made a claim. The insurance adjuster is now telling me that it may be an issue of "shared responsibility" and that I will need to give a recorded account of what happened. I also took pictures of the damage on my car and submitted it using my insurance's website. I was told that the other driver only admitted to merging, but not anything else.

    The first question I have is; who is at fault here? Is it possible that I could somehow be pinned for even a small fraction of the fault? Is there anything else I can be doing right that would help my situation?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    OH10
    Posts
    14,009

    Default Re: Lane Change Accident

    Fault will be determined by the insurance companies. Possibly yes. Reinforce in your statement the truck merged from almost a standstill.
    With enough thrust, pigs fly just fine.
    You may believe that you understood what you think I said. I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Tacoma, WA
    Posts
    1,202

    Default Re: Lane Change Accident

    From you description, the other driver was 100% at fault (and, in my opinion, should have been cited). However, that does not always matter to the insurance companies. In some states, it doesn't matter who is at fault, each driver's insurance is responsible for their own vehicle. I don't know what the rules are for MD. Give the insurance company the statement they are asking for and let them handle it...you pay them to handle this stuff so that you don't have to stress it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Lane Change Accident

    Quote Quoting PTPD22
    View Post
    From you description, the other driver was 100% at fault (and, in my opinion, should have been cited). However, that does not always matter to the insurance companies. In some states, it doesn't matter who is at fault, each driver's insurance is responsible for their own vehicle. I don't know what the rules are for MD. Give the insurance company the statement they are asking for and let them handle it...you pay them to handle this stuff so that you don't have to stress it.
    Thanks for the reply. From my understanding of MD's contributory negligence policy, unless the driver is found to be 100% at fault I cannot claim damages. It has been suggested that the damages on my vehicle can run up to $3,000, even though it is really only cosmetic. The damages do not mean nearly as much to me as a clean driving record and most of all my insurance rates. 18 year old male driver with less than 1 year of experience, a 25 year old could have three accidents and two DWI's and pay less than me, without the accident added in.

    But anyway, if the insurance companies decide on me having some kind of fault, does this count as an at-fault accident and increased premiums? If that's the case it seems they would have motivation to dish out fault to as many as possible regardless of the accident.
    Thanks again

    Edit: The police officer gave me a Case #, but also said there would be no police report. Does this mean there isn't any kind of record or documentation they have that this incident even existed?

    I just managed to find online that the driver has quite a record:
    - Failure to stop at a stop sign
    - Driving on expired lic.
    - Driving on learner's permit without supervision
    - Going 79 in a 55
    - Failure to display license to uniformed officer
    - Failure to display registration card to a uniformed officer
    - Driving or attempting to drive motor vehicle on highway without required license or authorization.

    These are all within the past two years

    Is this at all relevant or do I need to get off the computer and do something else

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Tacoma, WA
    Posts
    1,202

    Default Re: Lane Change Accident

    If your insurance company finds you to have any degree of fault, yes, they will likely raise your rates. And, yes, that does give them a certain amount of financial incentive to attach fault to their own customers. You were not cited, so your driving record will not be affected.

    If the officer gave you a case number, then there will be documentation of the incident. However, that may or may not mean that he actually wrote a report describing the circumstances of the collision, statements from the drivers and any witnesses, description of the scene and damage, etc. There may only be documentation that the collision was reported, what officer(s) responded, and the time it was reported, officers arrived, and officers cleared the scene.

    The other driver's offense history is not going to be very relevant to your insurance company. They are only going to focus on THIS collision, not past incidents. However, you need to keep on them and continue to adamantly state that the collision was 100% the other driver's fault. Do not admit or even imply that you were even 1% at fault. They may assign you some degree of fault anyway, but don't let them justify it by your statements to them.

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