My question involves an injury that occurred in the state of: CA
About three months ago, I was involved in a 3 car collision in which I was the lone driver in the rear position (#3). My car collided with the middle position car (#2) and supposedly, that car collided with the vehicle in front of them (#1). There were two people in car #2 and four people in car #1.
The whole accident occurred when all our cars were stacked at a shopping lot traffic light, ready to pull out left onto the road. Upon the green light, both cars proceeded to pull out and I followed suit. Not too far from the intersection of our original stopped position did I collide with car #2. The speed limit there is 35 and the citation I received for no-liability noted approx. speed at 35. Also, I was going relatively slow because the collision occurred about four car lengths from the original stopped position. This is how the accident occurred: As I was turning left onto traffic, as the other vehicles, I momentarily (literally one second) took my eyes off in front of me (as I noticed a broken down car on the right side shoulder). Unfortunately, literally a second later, as I turned my head towards in front of me, I immediately collided with the car in front of me; no time for reaction, etc. Fortunately, my seat belt held me in place. Couple ambulances showed up as well as the LAPD. I told the officer what happened and he gave me a citation for no proof of liability insurance. I thought I had insurance at the time but it looks like after looking at my bank statements, I hadn't made a payment for the current month and the insurer had cancelled my policy 20 days prior to the accident. Not that this really matters, but I HONESTLY thought I had paid my insurance premium (month to month); this was not a willful act, but a simple forgetting to pay the bill. But, unfortunately, it looks like reality doesn't care. As far as property damage, vehicle #2 sustained rear bumper damage and supposedly, some in the front when it "tapped" the vehicle in front of it. Vehicle #1 (relative late model Japanese mid size passenger car) was literally almost non-existent as I only saw a black streak on the bumper; not even an indentation. I was sent a letter from vehicle #1's insurer that I was the proximate cause and wanted compensation for the repair to the rear bumper; approximately $500. They had indicated that the occupants of vehicle #1 had obtained an attorney; why??? You can't get any less of a fender bender cost than $500 so this obviously was the most minimum you can get; in fact, anything less than $750 is not even reportable to DMV. Now, they've obtained an attorney and for what? When I contacted their insurer, they informed me that the property damage was such and such and that they have not gotten figures for bodily injury yet!!! I said what bodily injury? They were all fine. All the occupants were out of their vehicle and were calmly standing at the median. No complaint, or signs of distress. There were two ambulances called and they did not seek any service. Even the police report I obtained from one of the parties involved showed 'NO INJURY". And that includes the other party as well, so I can't understand why they are claiming to their insurer for this. If any was injured, it would have been me and I didn't think it was necessary and declined to be transported to the hospital by ambulance. Incidentally, as I was providing my insurance info. and license to the parties, vehicle #1 driver snugged off my request for insurance info. and license info. At the time, I didn't demand as I saw his, if any damages were very minor and I didn't think any of it as I was more dazed and traumatized from the incident. Vehicle #2's occupant was hopping up and down at the officers that I didn't have current insurance info. and this even upset the officer enough to demand that he calm down. Anyway, after our vehicles were towed, I was contacted by the parties insurer/attorneys for a statement as to what happened. I told them the same thing here as described. About three months later, I received the letters demanding payment for the property damage. Incidentally, the vehicle I hit (#2) was a late model expensive European vehicle. Their property damage was approximated at $8000+. When I contacted this attorney, they told me that I needed to pay the $8000 and that they are still waiting on the bodily injury. Here's the supposedly bodily injury again! Incidentally, she indicated that she was authorized to accept 80% of bill including BI as she indicated that the police report was inconclusive. She is representing the insurance co. that has already paid out the property damage estimates to the insured. I've looked at the police report and it indicates that prior to the accident, I was "inattentive and moving" and the other two parties were "stopped". So, why would this attorney concede to inconclusiveness and ready to possibly accept 80%? I'd like to contact the other parties directly, unfortunately, I no longer have their contact info. Is this something I can get from the police? I noticed that the contact info that the attorney sent me had this info. but the addresses were blacked out. Don't I have a right to have their info. as they have mine? If I request the police report, will the addresses on their also be blacked out? I realize due to not being vigilant about paying my premiums, I am in this severe predicament, but I know this whole bodily injury is a scam to get money!!! Can anyone tell me how to combat this or am I SOL? I've seen articles on this bodily injury claims and are refer to as "phantom" injuries or "soft tissue" and are hard case to prove that they don't suffer some sort of injury. Is the onus on them or me to prove/disprove the medical injury? I know if they had to take a lie detector test, they would fail miserably and would not make any bodily injury claim; is there any way I could have them do this? They haven't sued me yet, but if they took me to court, what can I do if any and what would be the likely scenario? How do I negotiate? What is the best thing I can/should do? Thanks!