: My poor sweet baby Brougham...WRECKED!!!

12-19-06, 11:55 PM
So here's the story, completely unbiased:

It was just this evening, five o'clock, foggily wet, semi-dark and rainy, and he didn't have his lights on. I was sitting in a school parking lot about to pull out onto a parkway - I had just picked my sister up from school. I sat there a good ten seconds to make sure that there was no traffic anywhere (I like to have both lanes clear, because my Brougham makes such wide turns). So I pull out everything is silent and fine. Then all of a sudden, when I'm halfway angled into the street, a little blue '95 Hayundi swipes into my driver door. No lights, no brakes, not even the blow of his horn. I immediately get over into a dogleg to pull into a nearby McDonald's parking lot. I look in my rear-view mirror to make sure they follow, but they are still sitting still in the middle of the street. The wife gets out and runs down the street, I assume to talk to me. So I put her in park and push the e-flashers and get out to talk to her. She says "Insurance, insurance...give me your insurance." She was about to write it on arm, but I say, "well let's at least pull over, OK?" So she runs back hesitantly, and get in the car to pull it into McDonald's. Once we all get out, I ask, "Is everyone OK? No one's hurt?" The wife says "No. Could I see your insurance. Now at this time I knew it wasn't my fault and the situation seemed a little eerie, so I say "Well just let me call the police." So I do, after all, I just wanted to do the right thing to make sure everything was legal. So the officer arrives, a friendly guy. His first words were "Is anyone hurt" and of course no one was. Then the officer proceeds to ask the husband of his story, but he cannot speak any English, so his wife and daughter help translate. After that, the officer asks to speak with me, so I tell him:

"Well I was pulling out after checking all directions and then they hit me while I was angled in the street, still turning."

"What lane were you entering?" he asks.

"The right one. But I made sure both lanes were clear, since this cars makes such wide turns." I reply, drawing it in the air with fingers.

"OK You think you were over the line?" he questions.

"Possibly; I was still cross-wise in the middle of the street and they kinda t-boned me at an angle. That's why I made sure both lanes were clear." I repond.

Then the officer went to his car for about twenty minutes. I sat there worrying about who's going to pay for the damage, because I have 39 cents in my bank account. After some time, he got out again and continued to speak to the family in the other car. Then after he was done, he came over to me with some papers. This time I was sitting in car. He asked the usual questions, "how old are you?" "What's your full name?" etc. Then I remembered: his lights were not on. So I proceeded to inform the officer of that.

"Also, I forgot to mention it, but their lights were not on." I suggest.

"Well why didn't you tell me this earlier?" he says sternly.

"Well, I just forgot. I'm sorry." I timidly reply

"That's a pretty important piece of information to leave out for the last minute" he angrily replies.

"I'm sorry" I say.

Then the officer gets back in his car and writes down some more stuff. After a minute or two he begins to speak with the driver who now sits in his driver seat, the rest of the family sitting in the car. I try not to listen as the officer interrigates him. "OK this translating business ins't going to work!" he commands, "You, [to the daughter] tell him what I ask and give me his response." The daughter is the only one who can really speak English fluently. The officer asks some more questions about the lights; then I hear the husband uproar in his native tongue something belligerent sounding. The officer tries to control the situation, while I try not to listen. The wife gets out of the front passenger door I assume to help, but is halted by a stern voice, "Ma'am get back in the car," she tries to say something. "Ma'am, I gonna have to ask you to get back in the car and shut the door!" She does, and the interrigation continues. After a minute or two, she dares out of the car again, this time to speak with me. She carries a notepad full of information, all the way to my mother's maiden name...literally!

"You phone number. Could you give me your phone number?" she asks.

"Umm, well, sure I guess." I respond questionatively.

So I write my number on her pad as I eyeball all that personal info she has of mine. I am quite concerned. Then she tells me more:

"Yeah. Someone hit us in the same place," she points to the dent that was supposedly caused when her husband hit me. "Someone hit us there and didn't pay." she remarks. (so apparently the car was already wrecked before they hit me)

"Oh" I respond disinterested.

She walks back to her car and I am thoroughly disappointed with the course of events that have ocurred. For another time, the officer comes to speak with me:

"OK. So you say his lights were not on?" he asks.

"That's correct." I reply

"Well how could you tell the lights were not on?" he asks.

"Well when I saw him, his lights were not on." I say.

"If you saw him, why did you pull out in front of him?" he asks accusingly.

"No. I mean, when I saw him after he hit me, the lights were off." I reply.

"When did you see him?" he rhetorically asks(I just told him).

"After he hit me, when he was between the curb and me, and after I pulled away and looked in the rear view mirror." I explain.

"Well this call came in at 5 o'clock. You didn't see him?" he sternly asks.

"Not that I could see." I respond.

"Well it still wasn't that dark, but you didn't see him, right?" He interrogates me.

"Well, no, I didn't" I reply.

So he proceeds to gives me some paperwork and a citation, of all things!!

"OK on this paper is my name, the date , and the report number. If you need to get a copy of the report, you call this number." He gives me the slip and proceeds. "Now I need you to sign this citation for failure to render right of way, saying you will be in court on this day. It doesn't say you're guilty, but you need to be there." So I relunctantly sign it, thinking 'what is happening in to me????' The he gives me another slip: "On this it gives you instructions on the defensive driving course and deferred ajudication if you choose to go with one of those options. Do you have any questions?"

"Well, no," I reply, "this is just my first time to go through this kind of thing."

He obliges and walks off. Everone goes home and I am typing this.


I called the police to make sure eveything would be fine. And they return the favor with a ticket!
She ran out and rushed me to give her my insurance.
She discouraged me from calling the police several times.
She tells me the car has been hit in that spot before.
The car's lights were OFF.
There was no honking of his horn.
They "didn't have time to brake" as he says, but I was in the intersection for a while (4 sec) before the crash.

HERE'S the DAMAGE: (click to enlarge)

http://s1.simpload.com/th_12194588ae0c40c02.jpg (http://show.simpload.com/12194588ae0c40c02.jpg?server=s1) http://s1.simpload.com/th_12194588adbe6ab8b.jpg (http://show.simpload.com/12194588adbe6ab8b.jpg?server=s1) http://s1.simpload.com/th_12194588ad1a2914a.jpg (http://show.simpload.com/12194588ad1a2914a.jpg?server=s1) http://s1.simpload.com/th_12194588adb0a4bfb.jpg (http://show.simpload.com/12194588adb0a4bfb.jpg?server=s1) http://s1.simpload.com/th_12194588ad70ad6b7.jpg (http://show.simpload.com/12194588ad70ad6b7.jpg?server=s1)

As far as I can tell there is no paint damage and the scuffs will come off with a good scrubbing. But what do I do about the dents. Can I take panel off and just pop them out? There's dents on the driver door and front-left quater panel. Also the plastic trim is pushed in. Is that sill good? I don't have any money and it looks like I'll be in the negative for quite some time. Is there a way for me to fix this w/o paying a shop the minimum fee of $700 per repair?

12-20-06, 12:53 AM
I would go into a tirade about undocumented individuals ... but at this time I'l simply offer my condolences, and encouragement to get her back in shape ASAP.

12-20-06, 05:26 AM
You're likely in for a long, drawn out legal battle, but if what you say is true you'll win. Good luck..

12-20-06, 06:47 AM
:( Hope it works out!

12-20-06, 09:43 AM
Oh man this sucks! Another classic Brougham gets nailed. The cop had the right to be upset with you for turning into the right lane, even though everyone does that you're still supposed to turn into the first lane and then signal over, but that's one small infraction against you. Of course the other car not having their lights on is a bigger mark against them. I hope this doesn't drag out too long for you. The fender might be able to be popped out, but if not, fenders aren't horribly expensive for new ones, I think around $450 on rockauto. Harder to find in a junkyard since only 90-92 parts cars will fit. Good luck!

Highway Star
12-20-06, 10:07 AM
Sorry about your accident. You might want to look into paintless dent repair. Do a search. It depends on certain factors, but if the dents aren't too bad and the paint isn't scraped off or anything you might save a little money with PDR.

12-20-06, 01:08 PM
The cop should have checked the headlight filaments if the lights were broken!
I saw this type of crash a few years ago and the driver who claimed somebody who "pulled out in front of him without warning" was actually mousetrapped because the bastard was driving without lights!
The cop found the shattered headlights with the filaments intact!
That led to a ticket with the additional charge of FILING A FALSE POLICE REPORT! (LOL!):bouncy:

12-20-06, 03:58 PM
This is why I turn my lights on no matter what. Even in super sunny weather, other cars can see you faster, even if it's milliseconds. The easier you make it for others to see you, the better. It boggles my mind how people will not turn on their lights just because it's daylight and you can see, even though it might be rainy and low visibility.

My condolences on your car dude. I hope you manage to make a case for yourself. Buy a newspaper for the weather report and anything showing the foggy conditions.

I'm glad my province in no-fault insurance.

12-20-06, 04:04 PM
That does suck. I feel for you. I wouldn't touch the damage until the insurance problem is settled. You're insurance company should fight for you.

Explain the story to them as clearly as possible and they'll go after the other drivers ins company. I think you'll be fine.

12-20-06, 05:17 PM
I was actually turning right, into the right lane...then I was going to signal over. But when you're turning out of a private drive, the front left corner of the car sometimes spills over the line just long enough to get straightened up. That's when it happened. And though his passenger headlight housing was broken, both his bulbs were intact for sure. He was just an idiot.

12-21-06, 03:16 AM
That can be tapped out to look better, but I doubt you'll get it looking perfect. Best bet would be to pull the panel off and lay it down in the grass. Come at it from behind with a small rounded hammer. Hit gently.

12-21-06, 11:12 AM
If you're going to try to fix it yourself I'd go to Sears and get a hammer and dolly set. Tapping it with a round hammer is only going to create out dents all over the place.

Cadillac Giovanni
12-21-06, 06:36 PM
That's terrible. I have to tell you, the cops and the insurance company suck. My mom borrowed my brougham a few weeks after i bought it. On the highway she got rear-ended when traffic jacked up. There was no real cosmetic damage to my car. The rear bumper was bend downward from the force, but no dents or scratches, surprisingly. Later it turned out that they had finished off my decaying exhaust system, which was rusted, but not broken, and had put a leak in my gas tank.

Now, this guy rear ended me, and i learned that when you rear-end someone, it's your fault, and you pay. I'd like someone to tell me why i ended up paying for the exhaust parts, doing the repairs myself, and getting the bumper fixed for free by calling in a favor to some friends at a body shop. I didn't see a cent from that jackass, and the insurance company didn't want to hear from me because i wasn't the one driving the car at the time, and my mom lacked the aggression to pursue the matter.

If i were driving and got rear ended, i tell you, i think i'd have a pretty bad neck injury.

Good luck with your situation though. I hear those fix-a-dent things work good. They sell them at auto zones and whatnot.

12-21-06, 10:01 PM
Well the good news first: your car isn't totaled and the accident (in my eyes anyways) isn't your fault. The damage is quite minor actually, less than when that Del Sol backed up into my driver's door.

The bad news: this sounds like a rather complicated situation that could be a legal mess. It sounds very shady on their side.

12-22-06, 11:10 AM
I won't get into a big long thing here, but after two rear-ender accidents in 5 years (one bad, one light), the BIG thing you must know and get used to is that to ever get anything done and accomplished--especially if you're the innocent one.

Assume nothing. Give no one the benefit of the doubt. Be at the top of your game as much as possible, because insurance companies will call and try to lightly suggest things you did that never happened, etc. AND, by far, even though you're not in the best frame of mind at the accident scene, be an absolute pit bull in reporting the facts (i.e., lights weren't on and you checked multiple times before THEY hit you out of nowhere).

In this case, between their lights not being on, the lady's jumping your ass for information after they hit you, not speaking English (from local knowledge, this can be a HUGE factor in cases like this), etc., you're going to get screwed 3 ways to Sunday. From the talk of defensive driving school already, sounds like you're well on your way to that--as sad as it may be.

12-22-06, 06:50 PM
Why is he gonna get screwed so bad? The other party sounds so shady.

12-22-06, 10:06 PM
Any possibility you can afford Maaco? A Volvo wagon backed into my Crown Victoria a few years ago and they did a fine job. The Volvo driver paid about $500.

Regardless, sorry, but thankfully as others have said you didn't get totalled. Crap like this is exactly why I am enrolled in law school; at the very least I will be able to contest everything in court for free. I may have missed something, but I hope you got her insurance information not just given her your own. If you suspect they are "shady" inquries to the INS might also be in order. Did the other driver even have a license?

Just wondering. Since I have not yet taken and passed the bar I can't give any real advice.

12-22-06, 10:56 PM
Well I have some good news...at least for my driving record. I have hired a lawyer to first try and get the case dismissed. I refuse to secumb to Defensive Driving, which screams guilty. If that works, my record will be cleared and hopefully I will be absolved of guilt in the accident report. Hopefully then I can have their insurance pay for my damage. But here's the problem:

I am fighting two battles - The ticket and the wreck. I have to clear my name of the ticket AND have myself removed from the guilt of the wreck, just as if no ticket were issued at all. The lawyer is only fighting the ticket; he has nothing to do with the insurance battle I will face. But I'm hoping if I can get the ticket dismissed that will give me leverage with the insurance company.

Oh, and another suspicious note: they haven't even called in a claim with my insurance yet. You'd think they'd want their money. Does that mean I could call up their insurance and file a claim?

12-22-06, 11:58 PM
your telling me they didnt get issued a ticket?

12-23-06, 03:13 PM
Yep, they got all my information and drove off scott free. The officer even neglected to note in the police report that they didn't have their lights on.

12-23-06, 05:01 PM
Just out of curiosity, how old are you and do you have a clean driving record?

12-25-06, 04:15 PM
The cop took 2 looks at the wreck, saw two sides who didn't have their stories straight and went on what each side agree'd on and what the dents showed and cited you for blocking right of way.

Your mistakes were:

A: not having your story straight from the getgo.

B: not leaving the cars where they collided.

C: Not calling the cops the moment the lady started badgering you for insurance information

D: Not Staying calm.

As for the lady, first thing is to face the citation and beat it as the insurance company they will beat you over the head with it. That's simple; the state only has 2 dents on 2 cars and 6 people's differing recollection of the events, 3 of which do not speak english. They do not have evidence as to where the cars collided or any other information aside from the dents. Throwing out their side of the story will be simple; ask the cop if he understood everything they said and work at it from there.

After that, they have a burden of proof that you wronged them. Without the states conviction, they have to sue you or go through an insurance company that will sue you; they may also file a claim against you and your insurance company will talk with you. Your rates will rise, but make sure they know what's going on and that they should not pay until the state has made their verdict.

If they sue you, they have no more or less information than the state and will likely fail.

01-03-07, 11:08 AM

I am sorry to hear about your poor caddy getting some damage. I had to post because the one and only accident I have had was very similar to your situation. I was making a left turn out of a road with limited visibility in my first car, a very presentable 77 Grand Prix. It was early morning and still dark and the oncoming car, a Geo Metro (not kidding) was probably exceeding the speed limit and didn't have his lights on. The collision happened in the middle of the road and the Geo hit me at an angle that pushed in my driver's door and hit the rear wheel, pushing the axle back 2 inches on that side and spinning the car into the woods rear first. I figured a Geo Metro had to be going pretty fast to move a 4000 lb Pontiac that far.

Same kind of cop situation. I was at fault because I was technically in his lane. The gracious officer took pity on me and didn't write the citation (how nice of him) My insurance company at the time immediately paid off his claim and didn't even try to fight for me. (Allstate)

It was a pretty horrible experience to go through, but your car is much better off than my poor GP. The door, quarter panel and roof were all messed up and one of the T-tops ejected into the woods (James Bond style).

In the end, I learned an important lesson: If you're going to make blind left turns, don't use a 2-ton car with 135 hp to do it. The Pontiac 301-2bbl was a crime against humanity!!! When anyone says how a fast car is unsafe, I tell them my story. Admittedly I was inexperienced and boneheaded, but if I had some more horses under the hood at the time, I wouldn't have had a problem.

01-03-07, 03:29 PM
Well I don't know what the other party said to the cop, but I told him only what I knew and answered what he asked. And coming from the "don't speak unless spoken to" idea in regards to police officers, I answered all his questions to the best of my ability. During his interrogation, I knew and still know that it was not my fault. So I didn't feel I needed defend myself, being as I was sure the officer would discover the truth himself. So only when things began to turn sour, did I explain to him details beyond his questions (the lights). However, after he reprimanded me for withholding that information (which was never my intention), I did not feel that I could tell him of the others' suspicious behavior.

Secondly, had I left the cars (mine at least) in their original position, both lanes would have been block for the traffic to come. So I don't perceive that to be a fault of mine - I was merely getting out of the way.

Thirdly, I called the police as soon as I could. After all, I wanted them to be there during this suspicious encounter. But again, I did not need to accuse the other party if I was innocent.

Lastly, I do not recall having lost my cool. In fact the whole issue was so new to me that I just went with the flow. I answered what I was asked and remained silent. I didn't want to do anything that would indicate backtalk to a policeman (same etiquette as a speeding ticket stop).

01-03-07, 05:10 PM
You have to understand that cops understand only one thing; being civil and professional in your demeanor. Most of these guys don't get out of bed in the morning and decide "hey, I'm goona get some people good today!". Now, if the other party is acting suspicious, don't use the word suspicious. Lemme show you how the conversation should've gone.

*Cop car pulls up, surveys situation, cop gets out of car.* Is anyone hurt?

You: I am fine and my sister seems ok. I am unsure about the people in the other car; they don't speak english but they seem ok.

*Cop will probably approach them and visually check, asking in english, if everyone is ok. At this point, he'll have ascertained there is no danger to himself or others, and will probably then take out a notepad and paper, and ask for lisence and registration from each side, then begin asking questions."

*He'll also notice the cars have been moved.*

Cop: Lisence and registration please.

*Hand it to the cop.*

Cop: Allright, what happened?

You: "I was coming to pick my sister up from school. I was coming out of the parking lot at *point to entrance* that entrance, making a lefthand turn onto *road name*. My car is nearly 2 tons and since it moves slow I always make sure I have clearance. I waited, checked both directions to ensure they were clear and proceeded to make the turn. About a third of the way through the turn they hit my front drivers side quarterpanel, between the wheel well and the door. I did not hear any brakes, honking, and I did not see any lights. Once I got hit I proceeded to pull over to the side of the road and ascertain the damage to my automobile, they fallowed me and did as I did. I set my blinkers on, turned the car off and proceeded to get out when, who I can only presume is the wife, began running towards me shouting "insurance". It's at the point I realized they didn't speak english and got a little spooked so I called you.

Cop: Ok....

*you can hear from the sound of his voice that he believes you and got whatever you said. He may then begin asking questions about the story*.

Cop: Now, you said you didn't see any lights, is that correct?

You: Yes. I did not see that their lights were on, nor did I hear any horns or hear the breaks.

Cop: Ok. Do you believe you were over the line?

You: Which line? (he asked a vague question.)

Cop: The median which seperates the street and the parkway over there.

You: I am unsure. I know that half of the entire car was blocking his lane and at a low angle, and since it takes 2-3 seconds for me perform that manuver, I believe he would have had ample time to slow down or stop at the 20MPH limit.

Cop: It isn't that dark; you say that despite that you couldn't see him?

You: I would not have made the lane change if I noticed a car was going to impact with mine. More importantly, when I look for a car in fog I always look for the reflection of the lights off of the fog and ground and I saw none. Additionally, his car is dark blue and matches the dark, so if his lights were off chances are despite what light is left, I wouldn't have been able to see it.


The officer would've probably given you a ticket, but the report would be more exact.

01-03-07, 05:38 PM
So what do I do now?

01-04-07, 01:14 AM
So what do I do now?

i think your doing everything right...... you can pray......do you have full coverage or just liability?

01-04-07, 06:52 AM
As I said before, what is happening is that they are looking at what parts of the two stories are consistant. In any turn of events, there's two or mroe sides of a story; all sides are going to be different because they've been told from different points of view. What the officer does is sit back, listen, and then piece together what happened from the similar happenings in both stories. If you says your car was hit by his, and he says he hit your car, then infact, the officer is going to see that there's an agreement on what happened between the two parties.

Hence the reason you ask the officer if he understood everything the other side said at the traffic stop, on the bench, in court. The line of questioning will go something like this:

You: Officer, according to your report there were 3 people in the automobile who hit my clients car; an adult male, adult female and a female child?

Officer: Yes.

You: Did the adults speak any english?

Officer: No.

You: Did the daughter speak any english?

Officer: Yes.

You: What language did the parents speak, if any?

Officer: Spanish.

You: So the daughter translated the adults spanish to english for you, and vice versa, correct?

Officer: That is correct.

You: How old do you estemate the daughter was?

Officer: 5 years.

You: Did she speak fluent english?

Officer: No.

You: Were you able to understand every word the daughter said?

Officer: No.

You: Do you know weither or not the daughter was translating everything the parents said, word for word?

Officer: No. (If he says yes, then ask him how he knows).

Go at it from there. If the officer who was there at the time can't be 100% certain of his story, then his testimony is flawed and therefor inadmissable. It's VERY likely the daughter lied to the officer and the reason the officer wrote you the citation is becuase he smelled fear all over you and took that as a good reason. You are also young. Additionally, you left a part of your story out and the officer had to completly rewrite his paperwork.

In addition, you can work the angle the car was hit at, versus how fast the speed limit was, versus the maximum acceleration of your automobile. Coming out of a school, the speed limit is 20mph. If they had ample time to stop and didn't; if they were speeding, or if they weren't and had ample time to see you and their lights were not on, then they are at fault.

That'll get you out of the citation and out of the BS the cop threw at you.

The insurance company may, seeing that no fault was found on your part, decide not to give them a red cent. Without prooving liability, there is no liability, and therefor no reason to pay. Hence the reason you tell the insurance company not to pay a dime until the court case is over.

Something to keep in mind here is that you're dealing with mexicans. In mexico, there are no traffic laws; people go at 120MPH down the roads all the time. You're likely dealing with a couple and their anchor baby; I don't proclaim to be a racist or nationalist, but when you come to my territory, you had better fallow my rules. Sure, I hate the american federal government with a passion, but I don't hate (most) traffic laws.

01-04-07, 01:20 PM
You seem to be very knowledgable in this type of matter - thank you. And you are right; I am young, only eighteen, and that probably didn't do me any good with the officer. And you are correct in that the other party was/is Mexican, but I fail to see how that pertains to the issue other than the language barrier. (I have no proof that they were speeding over that hill.) But one concern - This possible court scenario will only come if the matter goes to trial, right? If I get this dismissed, will I still be liable? Or will I need a trial to prove my innocence beyond the dismissal? I am concerned, because I don't have the means to affird a lawyer, and I doubt one will be appointed for me.

Also: If I am lucky enough to be absolved of liability, is there any possibility that I could get the other party's issurance to fix my damage? After all, they haven't even filed with my insurance (Geico) yet. You'd think they'd want their money.

01-04-07, 07:53 PM
I'll put it to you this way. I know mexicans who'd I'd consider "classy"; they speak spanish and english fluently, take care of their kids and work hard shifts doing remedial jobs which even I consider underneath them; some even own their own businesses and I know a few who have learned english then taught themselves skills. These people I have respect for and I enjoy their company because they understand what it is to be a human being.

Then there's the other type of mexican who comes here thinking the streets are going to be paved in gold and everything is just going to be handed to them. They have no respect for the law, and no respect for you and I. They do not act civil unless a gun is involved, and they can and will steal, lie, and do what they consider is necissary to get what they want. Some of them even believe in white euthenasia, and carry out said campaigns across the border in the USA where populations of mexicans outnumber the "gringo's".

If you ever go to a boarder town you'll notice the drug cartels in mexico have taken over a few american cities and have corrupted the government there. I remember one case where 3 mexicans broke into someone's house, with knives, and were rushing a guy and he pulled a loaded shotgun and started pumping rounds. The judge, mexican himself, decided that the one remaining living mexican would get the guys ranch as a settlement and that guy and his family were going to federal prison. And stories like that are not uncommon there; shootings are common and the Federal government allows the drug smuggling operations because they get a couple of benefits, including money and the ability to flood any major american city that has an uprising with drugs.

Hence the reason I'm rooting for you to kick these people's asses. I wasn't there at the time, so I can't tell what happened or what kind of people they are but I'm pretty sure, from past experience, that they were speeding without their lights on through a school zone, probably picking their kid up, didn't think twice about the hill, and nailed you. I wouldn't be suprised if they got their license out of a crackerjack box either; my mother got hers that way by walking through the door at the DMV with the shorter line. Hell, I wouldn't be suprised if 8 seconds out the father thought "hey, a big cadillac. Must be a rich guy, If I hit him I can get good money!".

As for liability, if the case gets dismissed, then technically there is no liability that has been prooven. They have to sue you, with offence to a public tort, and then proove guilt in order to get any money out of you. If they do then your insurance company will get involved. The insurance company will see that there's a case already going to court and should, if they are smart, decline payment until that case is over. If it goes to court, and if you lose, the insurance company will see that the liability is yours and decide to settle with them instead of argueing the case further; if they want more than the settlement they have to sue and win and the insurance company is legally bound to defend you.

If it gets dismissed, the insurance company will see they don't have to pay a red cent since any court case they file can be dismissed for lack of evidence from then on. If a previous court case was dismissed in a similar fashon, then they have to bring new evidence to the court in order to proove guilt. They can still sue you, but you can dismiss that case. If the judge doesn't dismiss the case when they sue, then the insurance company will probably meet with them, discourage them and offer a small-change settlement.

Not to mention they don't know english, and probably are so poor they can't afford a lawyer (just like you). They are probably just going to file with your insurance company and hope/wait for a check.

IF it goes to court, and at this point that's a pretty big IF, you definatly have the means to throw enough doubt in the states accusation to get a not-guilty verdict.

"Your honor, what we have here are two sides of the same story; one spoken in spanish, translated to english by a child in a manner so broken the officer at the scene didn't fully understand it. The other side, spoken by my client, clearly illustrates the offending vehicle was speeding and didn't have their lights on. There can be no certianty weither or not my client was over the line and violating a lane during the accident, as he is unsure and the cars were moved after said crash. All we can be certain of is that these two cars collided and that is evidenced by the damage to both automobiles. Liability cannot be determined by the court for lack of conclusive evidence."

Any lawyer worth his salt can do that for you; a good lawyer can get that dismissed. Personally, I'd look at my options. Price a lawyer, see how expensive it is to fight it. Then look at driving school and how high your insurance rates will go; a $120-150 a month insurance rate until you're 25 may be way more money than a lawyer right now.

You may also try going to the court and try to plea bargain. Usually, plea bargaining is used to get the court out of a long, drawn out mess where they know they, or the officer, will get embarassed for some mistake. Sometimes the judge wants to be merciful, but a lot of them are just lawyers in black robes.

However, you can bargain that you'll admit guilt if the court only does court supervision (6 months, no tickets, and it doesn't go on your driving record and therefor only your insurance company will know; you can switch and get a better rate elsewhere), and that you'll pay the fine in a timely manner. Go in a nice tux, look good, be pleasant, don't yell and don't sweat bricks. Remember, you can ask the judge questions.

This isn't the end of your life here guy, and it isn't like their car was worth much in the first place if it has been previously damaged, not by you. The fair market value is the blue-book value of the car, at poor. It may very well be that the car is worth less . If the car is a 95, hasn't been maintained, has been in one accident and has bad cosmetic or physical damage, and has around 150,000-200,000 miles on it, it ain't worth more than $500.


That sight will give you an idea of what you're looking at.

As far as repairing your car goes; a new door panel, a new quarterpanel, new chrome, a wheel well, and some paint. $400 tops for all the parts from a remanufacturer or $200 tops for the parts from a junkyard. Mabye $150 for all the materials to do it yourself however, if you take it to a shop, after stripping the paint yourself, you're probably looking at $600 for them to color match it and it probably won't turn out 100% the same. About $1,000 in damage, $500 if you do the work yourself.

Will their insurance cover it? You have to sue them, and proove liability. It's likely that it'll be your word against theirs, and if liability can't be assigned to you for lack of information then probably it can't be assigned to them either.

01-04-07, 10:59 PM
If I may kindly rebut, This car is (was really, now) a solid 8 out of 10. The paint's perfect, the interior and the headeliner are excellent with the exception of leather creases and flaky chrome on the driver-side window controls. Working antenna and an OEM CD player, and the car has 130K miles, leather steering wheel, new radiator, hoses, and waterpump. And the market for these cars are far above blue book value - I paid 500 over kbb for this beauty. The former owner was an elderly gentleman who kept the car maintained. And I doubt any blue book has mint 90-92 Broughams ranked in the 15,000 dollar range for which I have seen many sell. Now mine is certainly not mint, but I do know there is a market for these cars. And I believe that I could have still regained my money. I would appreciate it if you would not put the worth of my automobile down. :)

01-05-07, 07:16 PM
If I may kindly rebut, This car is (was really, now) a solid 8 out of 10. The paint's perfect, the interior and the headeliner are excellent with the exception of leather creases and flaky chrome on the driver-side window controls. Working antenna and an OEM CD player, and the car has 130K miles, leather steering wheel, new radiator, hoses, and waterpump. And the market for these cars are far above blue book value - I paid 500 over kbb for this beauty. The former owner was an elderly gentleman who kept the car maintained. And I doubt any blue book has mint 90-92 Broughams ranked in the 15,000 dollar range for which I have seen many sell. Now mine is certainly not mint, but I do know there is a market for these cars. And I believe that I could have still regained my money. I would appreciate it if you would not put the worth of my automobile down. :)

Whatever you do, ignore the above advice to appear in court in a "nice tux". That would be rediculous, laughable, and make everyone there think you were either crazy or looking down on them. Blazer or suit.

01-06-07, 03:32 AM
Tux, suit, blazer; same diff. Only real difference is the tie and cumberbund. :P

Dress nice.

I said THEIR car was worth about $500 due to the accidents prior to the accident you got in. That's likely your maximum liability if anything actually comes of this. They can't say you have to fix their car because that'd require a few grand worth of work that wasn't your fault; they can't hold you liable for damages to the vehicle, over the fair-market cost of the vehicle which is, unfortunatly, kelly blue book. KBB has a tendancy to under-value cars which have excellant maintainance and overvalue pieces of crap.

01-07-07, 02:08 AM
Whoops! Sorry, I didn't know you were talking about their car. Yes it was a piece of junk, even though is was 12 years newer than my Brougham. Sorry if I seemed angry. :bang2:

01-08-07, 11:35 PM

Well I spoke with my lawyer today, and he said the issue has been put on an "attorney docket." Now I have no idea what this means, be he did say it would be a month or so before I found out any results.
Also, Geico called today, and when they heard about the ticket, they said that usually the ticket will be dismissed once they have confirmation that the claim has been paid out. So here's the question, should I go ahead and let Geico pay (and hope for my insurance rates not to go up)? That way the ticket will be gone. Or should I continue to hope for a dismissal from the judge?

My two concerns are: Once a hearing has passed, and if the ticket is not dismissed, could I still get it dismissed if the claim is paid? Secondly, my lawyer said that's not the case in my county, and I may be issued the ticket regardless.

Either way, my car has a huge dent, and there's no hope of getting it fixed on someone else's money (I wish it had at least been a dual fault, so he'd pay mine, too). It just really bothers me that there's nothing I can do when their lights were not on, their car was previously wrecked, they were screaming for "insurance, insurance" and now two of them claim to have whiplash which is IMPOSSIBLE. I was there and I know; I was not hurt and neither were they upon repeated questionings (the hit was not a sudden stop, we just bumped each other and kept rolling side-by-side), only after they spoke with my insurance did they bring that up.

I don't know what to do, and at this point need to find the least financially-painful way out.

01-09-07, 01:54 AM
Do yourself a favor; take two deep breaths, calm down, and remember something. Life is full of bullshit; every DAY officers, and judges, and all manner of governmental work deal with this sort of thing. And you know what? They're ****ing sick of it; they're so sick of it officers will tazer little old ladies in wheel chairs becuase they just snap. They take out billybats and beat the hell out of some poor black guy for getting 2 inches too close to their face. Hell, they harass soccer moms at random roadblocks, for fun. What's Worse? Judges act without respect to the law, however they want, and they aren't fired.

And you, an 18 year old inexpereinced unprepared man are thrown into the midst of these pack of raving lunatics. Unless you show you have teeth, they are going to eat you alive; that's just how it is.

What do they do to deal with it? They sit back, take a deep breath, and relax before going into a shitty situation. If you do not allow yourself to be emotionally manipulated you will be operating on a higher plateau of existance and their attempts at manipulating you will be seen as just that. Sure, it's hard to do, especially if fear is involved. You have to grit through it, and sometimes save the tears for another day. You have to detach from what's happening around you and not allow fear, depression, anxiety, paranoia, and other problems surround, confuse, and consume you. If you allow that you're going to be screwed no matter where you go.

Most importantly, if you have NO freaking clue as to what's going on, then read. In only know what I know because I'v read and mabye I'm special in that regard.

Back to the issues at hand..

A competant judge will look at their whiplash claims and see that after the accident they didn't visit the emergency room or a doctor; insurance company will do the same and call BS. Without any medical bills or medical proof the case for medical compensation is VERY slim. If their whiplash was SO bad they'd have seen a doctor and have a diagnosis, complete with x-rays and other evidence. Or, at least, they would've made some kind of documentation themselves; pictures, diaries, reciepts for medication, ect.

As far as the rest of this mess goes.

I wouldn't be so quick to trust an insurance agency. Sure, they do this kind of work for a living, but knowing judges and buearocrats they can't be trusted either. Judges do shit every day which defies the spirit of the law.

That leaves you with 3 possible scenario's:

1: You cut your losses now. Dump the lawyer, tell Geico to pay out, and hope the court doesn't proceed any further.

Consequence: The court may not dismiss anything, and you may still have to go to court; without a lawyer you may need to take one of the aformentioned options such as driving school. Additionally, the money you've spent now will have been wasted. Your insurance will go up.

Benefit: No additional lawyers fee's, potential for no bad driving record.

2: Fight it out. Keep the lawer, tell the insurance company to pay nothing until a final judgement is given. If you're innocent, pay nothing.

Consequence: Lawyers fee's, no garountee it will go your way, and if it all goes horribly wrong you get sacked with higher insurance rates, a fine, driving school and lawyers fee's.

Benefit: If it does go your way, you do not have to deal with higher rates, just lawyers fee's.

3: Fight it smart. See if the dismissal goes through. If it does then you're basically home free; if it doesn't, have the claim fulfilled then weigh your options. If the court still decides they want to persue, then you may have to fight it out.

Do this:

How much has the lawyer cost you, right now?

How much will it cost to see the dismissal through?

How much will the lawyer cost you if it goes to court? Write that down on a piece of paper.

Call geico, ask them how high your insurance rate will go, then calculate if you can afford it. They should be able to give you a rough estemate, but it'll probably be in the 120-130/month range. Caculate the difference for paying that until you're 25, since that's how long it'll last. Over 7 years, if you're paying about 80 right now, it'll be right around $4200.

What is the amount of the fine, and the expense of the driving school?

Then, come up with a good solution.

01-09-07, 01:01 PM
Hello. I am new here so I am a little confused.

Why does everbody assume you are innocent? You pulled out in front of another car. You did. Not them. You are at fault.

Why do you assume they are suspious just because they are Hispanic?
They may be legit. May not. Just because the wife came running out doesn't make them guilty.

Why do you assume that just because you told the cop their lights were off it will make a difference? Can you prove it? NO.

In my experience, you will be fined and maybe given the option to go to driving school. Big deal. Where I live if you take the course the ticket never shows up on your record. Not on the record, your insurance doesn't go up.
Take the course, get rid of the attorney, fix it yourself or pay someone.
You will probably save money in the long run.

Good luck

01-09-07, 02:45 PM
Homer, let me first assure that I am not assuming anything based on the other party's ethnicity. I didn't even mention it; the conversation just started to go in that direction. Personally, I don't think it has anything to do with the case, and will surely have not basis in court.

Secondly, I am not saying I'm free of guilt - I'll leave that for the courts to decide. I just feel wronged because they were driving w/o lights, whereupon some questionable ethics appeared. (whiplash, previous damage, etc.)

And you are right, I can take the driving course to have the ticket expunged, but I would still have to pay the higher rates to Geico for liability in the wreck, even though they would not hold the ticket against me (essentially eliminating one of two potential rate increases). But the reason I contest the ticket is because I called the police for help - I could have just given them the insurance and left, but I didn't because I didn't feel the other party was completely honest. Then they wrote me the ticket. I don't feel that was right, regardless of whose fault it was, because I called out of fear.

The ticket is was infuriates me most, so I will fight it. As for the insurance claim, I hope that the dismissal of this ticket will give me some leverage, just so maybe the insurance calls off the wreck rate increase (since I will have already been excused from the ticket rate increase). But I can't do that if I take the driving class.

Thanks for your input.

01-10-07, 04:22 AM
Homer; one judges an individual by their character as all other forms of predjudice are flawed methods of understanding an individual. An understanding of their culture merely enhances the understanding of them.

If you look at the angle atwhich his car got hit, you'll notice the impact is with the drivers side edge of the front bumper. The impact skided towards the rear, which would be expected when a 1500 pound car comes into that kind of an impact with a 4000 pound car at 20-30 miles an hour at an ever increasing angle of turn; all the force was absorbed by the bumper of the hyundai and the quarterpanel and door of his caddy. In order to generate that kind of an impact at those speeds without severely damaging either car, they would've had to hit at roughly a 5-10 degree difference of angle. It takes a brougham roughly 3 seconds make a turn with the petal to the metal from full stop, 5-6 seconds if you take the turn slow, which means he would have nearly completed that turn.

30 miles an hour is 44 feet per second; 20 miles an hour is roughly 30 feet per second. They would've been between 90 and 132 feet to see his car and slow down. Most cars can stop on a dime at those speeds. A full brake stop takes around 20-40 feet to perform in good conditions.

The driver in the hyundai had time to slow down and react; had he engauged the breaks he'd had at least enough time to turn that dent into some paint scratches instead. He likely didn't engauge the brakes until after hitting the cadillac and only did so after hitting it and beginning to tailfish. This means one of two things; he didn't see the cadillac, or he didn't think it was going to be a problem. He also may have been speeding and not paying attention, or may have come out of another street and turned in from a blindspot.

Physically, he had time to slow down to avoid the accident but for some reason didn't.

In my book, if you have time to avoid a potential accident and fail to do so, you're liable.

01-10-07, 10:18 AM
Hello. Fist of all. I am sorry if I gave the impression that I know it all. I don't. I try not to sound like a jerk, but sometimes it just slips out.

I am still confused by the first part of your statement. What are you saying? That the driver of the caddy has character and the other guy doesn't?

Homer; one judges an individual by their character as all other forms of predjudice are flawed methods of understanding an individual. An understanding of their culture merely enhances the understanding of them.

This means one of two things; he didn't see the cadillac, or he didn't think it was going to be a problem. He also may have been speeding and not paying attention, or may have come out of another street and turned in from a blindspot.

*I agree, he was probly not paying attention and or speeding.

Physically, he had time to slow down to avoid the accident but for some reason didn't.

*I don't think you can say that without knowing what really happened in his car.
In my book, if you have time to avoid a potential accident and fail to do so, you're liable.

*I agree again, but I don't think a judge would always agree with that statement.

Again, I don't mean to sound like a jerk, it just slips out.

Good luck.

01-10-07, 02:14 PM
Gwokable, I agree with the science of what you're saying, and that's a very good arguement. However, what they failed to do does not clear my name. I assume that the police assigned my guilt on the premise that a wrong action is worse than a wrong inaction, but I'm not sure the office knew that the other party had plenty of time to stop. After all, he did tell me that the other party "didn't have time to stop." So if I prove they could have stopped, but didn't, does that help me?

Scenario one:
If they didn't have time to stop, it was because their lights were off, and I pulled out in front of them. Hence their fault.

Scenario two:
If they did have time to stop because of the distance, but didn't. Their lights were off and they didn't stop. Hence their fault.

Do these scenarios look hopeful? But how can I prove how far away they were. There is a hill that they could have topped while speeding which would explain the lack of time to brake and my having not seen them (especially w/ their lights off). But how can I prove they were speeding, how can I prove any of these angles or numbers? Will a judge clear me if they had time to stop, even if I can't manage to clear my fault? (The officer said that I should have seen them.)

Another note:
I was turning right into the right lane, but took a slow turn, and may have tipped into the other lane. This was unavoidable with the size of the car and the type of driveway, so I made sure both lanes were clear - to be double safe. Am I in the wrong for that?

01-10-07, 10:15 PM
Another note:
I was turning right into the right lane, but took a slow turn, and may have tipped into the other lane. This was unavoidable with the size of the car and the type of driveway, so I made sure both lanes were clear - to be double safe. Am I in the wrong for that?

In a word? Yes. Regardless of the speed of the other car, lights on or off or any other factor you entered unsafely into a right of way. It is your responsibility to ensure the way is clear. It is not the responsibility of the other driver to avoid you when you are pulling into the street. You can argue many different things but the bottom line is this: you pulled out in front of another vehicle. It is not a matter of one hundred shades of gray; just one simple matter in black and white.

I've bent my share of sheet metal over the years. You'll live right through it. Just consider the money spent on lawyers, insurance premiums and body work as tuition to the very hard School of Knocks.

01-11-07, 12:49 AM
Well taken, padredurand. I agree with you that I did pull out in front of the other car. That's why I'm skeptical towards the "enough time to stop" theory. I don't even consider the suspicious activity to be relevent (It was just speculation, anyway.) But the fact is their lights were off, and that is why I did not yield right of way. Yes, I'll say it; I did not yield right of way. But I feel that was beyond my control, since I could not fulfill my responsibility to make sure the way was clear w/o their necessary headlamps. Hence I place the blame on them for not illuminating themselves - their intent is completely irrelevant.

01-11-07, 04:02 PM
It's your responsability to yield to the right of way. If they are speeding, or their lights were not on at night, or they intentionally sped up to ram you, then they are infact liable. There's a reasonable expectation of saftey at a certain distance within a certain speed zone; I can't always tell, from a glance, how fast someone is going or how quickly they are accelerating.

Still, most courts don't care and will assign liability by the rules so-to-speak.

The only reason I say he can win is because the officer didn't see where the accident occured and came up with a flawed agreement between both parties about his location.

01-12-07, 03:45 PM
So if i were to take this to the shop, about how much would I expect to get it back into the shape it was before? There's some small dents on the two driver-side doors, but the major damage is to the quarter panel and silver strip on the bottom. Any estimates?

01-12-07, 03:47 PM
So if i were to take this to the shop, about how much would I expect to get it back into the shape it was before? There's some small dents on the two driver-side doors, but the major damage is to the quarter panel and silver strip on the bottom. Any estimates?

I know a guy, who knows a guy who met this dude who may be able to do it for cheap. Cheap isn't always right though. :alchi:

01-13-07, 03:03 PM
So if i were to take this to the shop, about how much would I expect to get it back into the shape it was before? There's some small dents on the two driver-side doors, but the major damage is to the quarter panel and silver strip on the bottom. Any estimates?

As I said before.

Junkyard quarterpanel will run a body man about $50. Same goes for a door.

Then he's got to sandblast it fill the small holes, then paint, match it, then re-attach. The new quarterpanel and door won't look like the old ones, and even if you bang it back into shape you're still going to have rust issues and strength issues with the paint.

You're probably looking at around $800-1,000 worth of work. If someone asks more, they're jipping you.

If you do it yourself, you're looking at $600 worth of materials and tools, tops.

01-13-07, 11:30 PM
There really is no dent in either door larger than a door ding, and they're not creased. Do those suction cups or paintless-dent-repair work very good?