My question involves a traffic accident in the State of: North Carolina. I was driving on a fairly busy 35 mph road. I came to a stop behind several other cars stopped at a red light. I was hit from behind by a woman in an SUV, which caused significant damage to the back of my compact car.
When I finally figured out what had caused the tremendous bang I experienced, I turned around and saw the driver of the car behind me talking on a cell phone and smiling. She pointed to the parking lot right next to us, indicating we should turn in there to get out of traffic. I called the police and reported the accident. When the officer showed up and asked what happened, she claimed that a black truck struck the back of her SUV, pushing her into my car. This black truck then drove off instead of turning into the parking lot. This is hogwash and I said as much to the officer at the time (not in those words of course). Here are the facts:
I have seen and heard multi-car wrecks in the past. I used to work at a dry cleaner's next to a notoriously dangerous intersection; the front was all glass and the doors and windows were always open, so we saw and heard at least 3 wrecks per month, of varying seriousness. We were all very familiar with the sound of a car crash. In this instance I did not hear any other impact, nor the sound of brakes applied or tires being pushed across the asphalt. I heard exactly one sound and it was the sound of her car colliding with mine. My window was rolled down at the time because I quit smoking a month ago and still open the window whenever I drive out of habit.
There was no damage to the back of her car, not even a mark. There was a hitch on the back of it and she said it must have absorbed all the impact without causing any damage to her car.
Assuming the above to be true, the hitch should have caused some damage to the front of the truck. The officer and I examined the road and I was able to show him where my collision occurred because I found a magnet that fell off the back of my car, pieces of my taillights and a metal thing that was securing my tag lights. There was no debris in the area where the alleged first impact would have occurred.
I was in a car that was the victim of a hit-and-run once, and I have witnessed two others. In each case there was an overwhelming response from outraged bystanders. People tend to react to the injustice of a hit-and-run accident. No other people responded in this case, and we were surrounded by other drivers.
This woman was remarkably calm for someone who had just been the middle of a 3-car-wreck sandwich. When I turned around to find out what the heck just happened, she was facing forward and smiling, not looking behind her to figure out what the heck just happened. She didn't even look at the back of her car until the officer asked her if it was damaged. She was totally unperturbed by the fact that someone just rammed her car into mine and then drove off. She said she felt fine despite sustaining a double whammy impact. (I did not feel fine, in fact in addition to the pain in my back and neck, I have a bruise on the back of my head where it bounced off my headrest.)
I told the officer that I did not see or hear anything other than her car hitting mine, and pointed out the lack of damage to her car. He noted in the report that there was no damage to the back of her car, but he still characterized it as "hit-and-run" regarding her car and the black truck. Her insurance company supports her version of the story and I just received a letter informing me that my claim was denied because the fault lies with the invincible vanishing black truck and not with her. How is this possible? Even disregarding the circumstantial issues and personality observations, the fact remains that there is no physical evidence to support a collision between her car and a black truck, or any other car. I understand that her insurance doesn't want to pay, but how can they endorse such a flimsy story? Is that legal? Can they just decide to accept her version even though it does not align with any evidence? Is there anything I can do about this? I called that police officer to tell him the wreck occurred almost directly in front of an ATM and maybe its surveillance camera captured it, and he basically told me that my wreck was so low on his list of priorities that it's practically underground. I spoke to a lawyer who told me that a wreck involving a 12 year-old Toyota and nothing more serious than "lumbar strain" was not worth his time. My insurance company said that my "uninsured motorist" coverage requires that I actually prove the responsible motorist was not insured, which I obviously can't do. I don't understand why my insurance company can't tell her insurance company that they DON'T believe her story and DO think she was the at fault driver! Why does her insurance company get to decide this, and why isn't some kind of physical evidence weighed? Aside from the fact that I can't get my car fixed, the injustice of this is eating me up. I had no idea insurance companies worked this way. Any advice or opinions would be appreciated.