What to do if I rear-ended a vehicle at 1 mph and now their insurance is after me?

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What to do if I rear-ended a vehicle at 1 mph and now their insurance is after me?

I was standing at a red light and my foot slipped off the brake pedal. I rear ended a vehicle at approximately 1 mph. The other driver and I got out and looked at the vehicles. There was no damage at all and not even a transfer of paint. He said he would not file charges for his insurance but for his safety took my name license number and car license plate. About a week later his insurance tried contacting me and asking me for my insurance info. I was unable to talk to them as I was out of town. When I returned I recieved a letter from some collection agency stating that they want me to pay $530.

Asked on December 6, 2011 under Accident Law, Oregon

Answers:

L.P., Member, Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Thank you for submitting your question regarding your liability for your rear-end accident.  Your dilemma is not uncommon as individuals who are involved in an accident state that their vehicle and bodily person is fine at the scene of the accident, but then days or weeks later they notice damage to their vehicle and are experiencing pain that they believe is related to the accident. 

However, it does not make much sense that you received a letter from a collection agency for this accident.  Usually a driver will contact the at-fault driver’s insurance company or their own insurance company.  If the driver contacts their own insurance company, that company will attempt to collect from your insurance company for the damages paid out.  But this is after an investigation of the accident has taken place.

Once the insurance company receives the insurance claim, they have to fully investigate the claim.  This process includes taking statements from all of the drivers, and if needed, examine the vehicles to see if the damage to the one vehicle could have been caused by the other vehicle.  Along with the other driver’s insurance company, your own insurance company should have attempted to contact you to investigate this accident. 

In order to avoid further collection of this claim, you may want to contact the other driver’s insurance company or your own insurance company so that they can resolve the issue between the two companies and so you do not have out-of-pocket expenses.  However, you may still be responsible for your deductible for the collision.

 


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