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Had first auto accident - ever. Frazzled - questions.

Old 09-03-11, 04:25 PM
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episodic
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Had first auto accident - ever. Frazzled - questions.

I did something stupid in a parking lot. I stopped at a stop sign and foolishly 'assumed' that it was a 4 way stop. Well it wasn't. I bumped a car that was passing through the intersection as I pulled out. It glanced their driver side behind their rear door and made a dent and a scratch. The damage was only on that panel. The other person called the police and said she was uninjured.

I apologized to her - which now that I go home and google auto accident I learned I should never do (hindsight). My 17 year old son was with me. Her husband showed up. I was really shaken (I had been hit on a bike a few months ago, and this just really freaked me out).

The officer showed up and was happy there was no injuries and said very matter of fact that it was obvious I failed to yield and put me at fault. I just nodded and took the report. We drove away with the report which of course has my insurance and their information on it.

How bad did I mess up apologizing, etc? I've had so much happen in my life lately that I just really wasn't thinking after it happened. I have no pics either sadly, as I stupidly left my phone at home.

I'm just really feeling paniced.
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Old 09-03-11, 04:29 PM
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I don't see any problem with apologizing as it was clear to all involved that you were at fault. If that were a question, then maybe...but in this case it just show's you're a nice enough person to recognize it and apologize.
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Old 09-03-11, 04:30 PM
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Try to relax. Everyone makes mistakes when driving. Luckily nobody was hurt.

I'll let someone from the States respond to your question. I live in Canada where things are likely different.
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Old 09-03-11, 04:33 PM
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Don't feel bad about being honest. While it's true your insurer never wants you to admit fault so they can get out of paying, they will and this will be a part of history before you know it.
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Old 09-03-11, 04:35 PM
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So my statements won't void my insurance will it?
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Old 09-03-11, 04:51 PM
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if you've been cited as at fault by the police, that pretty much guarantees that it doesn't matter if you apologize or not.

The rest of it is totally up to your insurance company and the person at loss.

at least, that's how it works in canada.
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Old 09-03-11, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by episodic View Post
So my statements won't void my insurance will it?
Your insurance will almost undoubtedly raise your rates, but it has nothing to do with apologizing. It will be because you were the cause of an accident that caused damage.
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Old 09-03-11, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by episodic View Post
So my statements won't void my insurance will it?
No, it won't. Personally I don't see anything wrong with apologizing if you're at fault, it's not going to change the liability for your insurance. I don't know why insurance companies get all bent out of shape over it.
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Old 09-03-11, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by CbadRider View Post
No, it won't. Personally I don't see anything wrong with apologizing if you're at fault, it's not going to change the liability for your insurance. I don't know why insurance companies get all bent out of shape over it.
They get bent out of shape because it increases the chance that they'll have to make a payout.

OTOH, apologizing when you know you're at fault should never be contingent on saving your insurance company from paying what they are contractually obligated to do.
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Old 09-03-11, 07:22 PM
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Don't try to make less out of two cars crashing into each other by saying you "bumped" the other. I have heard some say who were at fault say, "I 'tapped' the other car".

Any car of mine that was hit by someone was never "tapped" or "bumped". It was hit. You "bump" into someone at the checkout line. You "tap" out a tune on the steering wheel.

This has always been a peeve of mine. I was backing out of a spot at a fast food joint in my big ass dually plumbing van with a pipe vise on the back bumper. Some fat cow could not wait to get her three big macs and was speeding through the drive through line. I backed the truck out and could barely feel the almost imperceptible feeling knowing something was not right. My imperceptible nothingness was the vise on the back of my truck ripping open her car from the front fender all the way down to the rear fender like a can of tuna fish. "Bump"??? She sure did not think so.

Yeah, I am glad no one was hurt. Did the police tell you that parking lots are the NUMBER ONE place for minor auto accidents? Look it up. They are by a long shot. Please be careful next time. I learned from my above experience NEVER to park in a spot in my work trucks where I have to back out. I always park at the pumps, truck parking etc, but never do I back out of any spot in a parking lot.
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Old 09-03-11, 10:56 PM
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Apologizing is fine; admitting liability is not. I run into this all the time when I teach doctors how to apologize for a bad outcome.

Saying: "I am so sorry that this complication happened, and we will work together to get through this' is good. This is apologizing.

Saying" "I am so sorry that this complication happened, and it was because I really screwed up the procedure', is not. This is admitting liability, and only I get to do that.

The equivalent in an auto accident would be saying "I am so sorry I hit you' versus 'I am so sorry I hit you; it was my fault because I was texting at the time'. Saying the latter can serve as an admission of liability, which can impair the ability to defend the case and can increase the damages.
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Old 09-04-11, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by MillCreek View Post
Apologizing is fine; admitting liability is not. I run into this all the time when I teach doctors how to apologize for a bad outcome.

Saying: "I am so sorry that this complication happened, and we will work together to get through this' is good. This is apologizing.

Saying" "I am so sorry that this complication happened, and it was because I really screwed up the procedure', is not. This is admitting liability, and only I get to do that.

The equivalent in an auto accident would be saying "I am so sorry I hit you' versus 'I am so sorry I hit you; it was my fault because I was texting at the time'. Saying the latter can serve as an admission of liability, which can impair the ability to defend the case and can increase the damages.
This makes me inexpressibly sad.

If there's one thing I've taught my kids, it's that an "apology" expressed in the third-person or passive voice doesn't count. "I'm sorry I broke your tonka truck" is an apology. "I'm sorry your tonka truck was broken" is an evasion and dishonorable, and reflects worse on the speaker than the act of breaking the toy itself.
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Old 09-04-11, 08:45 AM
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Since the other driver told the police she was not injured, there will likely be no lawsuit for damages or anything, because like admitting liability, telling the police there is no injury is similar. Not that a good lawyer couldn't get around that, but a minor accident like that will probably be a straightforward repair claim.

On another topic, I thought parking lots were considered no-fault zones? Aren't stop signs in a parking lot on private property and technically not enforceable by police? And if so, wouldn't that mean each driver's insurance will cover their own driver?
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Old 09-04-11, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by mulveyr View Post
This makes me inexpressibly sad.

If there's one thing I've taught my kids, it's that an "apology" expressed in the third-person or passive voice doesn't count. "I'm sorry I broke your tonka truck" is an apology. "I'm sorry your tonka truck was broken" is an evasion and dishonorable, and reflects worse on the speaker than the act of breaking the toy itself.
Welcome to the world of 21st century American litigation. Also, in your model, you are expressing responsibility for the truck being broken as a result of your actions. Very often in medicine, you don't know if something broke as a result of your actions or something else entirely different. Such as the reason your surgical wound is not healing is because the patient is a smoker, not due to your surgical technique. Saying 'I am sorry your surgical wound is not healing' is accurate and expresses empathy. Saying 'I am sorry your surgical wound is not healing because you are a smoker' may or may not be accurate, but it sure makes the patient feel like crap. We try to avoid this.
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