Update on Minor Hit-and-Run Accident
A police officer from the hit-and-run unit of the jurisdiction of where my car was hit by a sport utility vehicle called me earlier today to inform me that he had spoken to the driver in question, who has supposedly accepted full responsibility for the accident about which I first reported here on August 29, 2014.
The driver supposedly claimed that his vehicle had not hit mine; but the police found evidence of paint on the bumper which matched the color of my car. The insurance companies are now involved; and the insurance company of the other party will be responsible for repairs to my vehicle, as the police report will indicate.
Because the investigating police officer came to a “meeting of the minds” with the driver of the other vehicle, he will be charged with following too closely and not with hit-and-run — which is fine with me. While I was concerned about the fact that he evaded the scene by driving down what I initially did not know was a dead-end street on which he admitted he had no business — suggesting that he really did know what happened — I only really want two things: for my car to be repaired; and for him to learn a valuable lesson that risking damage and possible injury is not worth saving the few minutes in order to get to his destination sooner.
That reminds me of whenever a pilot announces aboard an airplane during a flight how he or she and the co-pilot will “make up for lost time” in the air after a delayed departure. Well, gee — if you can go faster, why not do it more often? Are you afraid you will run into one of those speed limit signs up there at 35,000 feet or that a police officer is clocking your airplane with a radar gun behind a cloud?
Sorry…I digressed again, as usual…
…but there are several lessons I have learned here:
- Call the police as soon as possible. You have a better chance of the proper resolution to your case when the scene is still “fresh.” Even if you cannot immediately report what happened, calling afterwards is better than not calling at all; as at worst, the end result will be that you will have wasted some of your time.
- If renting a car, call the rental car company immediately afterwards. Let them know that you had just been involved in an accident. The representative will instruct you on what you need to do next.
- Call the company which issued your automobile insurance policy. You may not need to do this if you are renting a car with a credit card which offers primary insurance coverage; but you should absolutely do so when your personal vehicle is involved.
- When driving a larger vehicle, be more aware of what you are doing. Drivers of smaller vehicles can certainly sense when a minor incident has occurred better than someone driving a behemoth.
- Do not be in such a hurry. My experience suggests that — more often than not — you will not reach your destination faster. I cannot tell you how many times cars have zoomed past me like I was not moving at all — only for me to catch up to them moments later at the next traffic light. Being in a hurry usually contributes to carelessness, which increases the risk of an accident. Is it really worth the risk to save a few minutes?
- Take responsibility for your mistakes. The hit-and-run unit of the police department would not have been involved had the driver pulled over like he was supposed to do. I took full responsibility for admittedly sloppy reporting of this article on August 15, 2014. It is the right thing to do — simple as that.
I have never been in an automobile accident where I was at fault. It appears as though that this time, I once again am fortunate that the other driver was insured and admitted fault. I cannot imagine the sinking feeling one might have in being in an accident with an uninsured motorist or a true hit-and-run driver.
This is the main reason why it is important to ensure that if you are renting a car, you completely understand your options in case of an accident and ensure that you are indeed insured — whether by credit card; your personal automobile insurance policy; or by purchasing insurance options at the rental car counter. Finding out that you are liable for damages after the accident happens means that it is too late to do anything about it other than pay up, as you never know what can happen to you whenever you decide to drive…