Rear Ended at a Red Light...

by Marie
(Oregon)

I was waiting at a red light with a car in front of me. A car hit me from behind. He was probably going fairly fast because when he hit me he made me slide into the car in front of me. The guy who rear ended me has no insurance.

Both cars (the one in front and the one that rear ended me) were fine, with just bumper scratches. My car suffered the most damage and had to be towed. What happens now? What should I do about this?

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Rear Ended at a Red Light...":

Marie (Oregon):

Contact your insurance company immediately and report the collision.

Even though the driver of the vehicle behind you was apparently at-fault, there is a good chance the driver of the vehicle in front of you may look to you to pay any damage to her vehicle.

We say this because 9 out of 10 times the driver who runs into a vehicle in front of it will be accused of “following too closely”. In your case that shouldn’t be a problem because you were stopped at a red light, and as such couldn’t practically stay at a further distance than you were.

If you have either uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance the damages to your car should be repaired by your insurance company without a problem.

If you don’t carry uninsured or underinsured coverage you may still be able to have your insurance company pay for the repairs to your car, but in so doing the claim may held against you as a “black mark," or claim against your policy. Doing so may have the effect of causing your insurance rates to rise.

Remember, when you are having your car repaired make sure you demand the body shop use only OEM, or Original Equipment Manufactured parts.

OEM parts are the original high quality parts your car was constructed with. For years there has been a “black market” of cheaper non-OEM replacement parts being purchased by body shops to be used in the repair of customers' damaged vehicles.

Most people aren’t able to tell when the cheaper parts are used. They normally look the same and act the same as the originals. But they may do so for a much shorter period of time. With the cheaper parts, before too long you may notice the paint fading, or the parts warping.

Don’t let that happen. Be sure to let the body shop know they are only to use OEM parts. Tell them you when you pick up your car you would like to see the invoices for the OEM parts specifically ordered and used to repair your car.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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