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Had An Accident In My Personal Vehicle

Topic 18170 | Page 1

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Pianoman's Comment
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I was driving home with my wife in my personal vehicle in Colorado Springs, approached an intersection with a green light, and another driver swerved over from the left lane (I was in the right lane of three) right in front of me to get to the right turn lane. I saw him move out of the corner of my eye and slammed on my brakes as soon as I could, but I still skidded and rear-ended him. I wasn't speeding, tailgating, etc.

Called insurance and called the police. The other driver lied, said his girlfriend was driving (HE was the one who stepped out of the driver's side afterwards--it was her car), and they fabricated this ridiculous story about how it was my fault. There were three witnesses who stopped and gave their account--their stories matched up with mine almost 100%. They were all kind enough to wait almost 20 minutes for the police to arrive so they could give their accounts. One of the witnesses said her husband also drives for Swift and even worked on the Target account for a little bit. Suffice it to say, she was ****ed at the other driver, especially when she found out he was lying about the whole thing. The officer started poking holes in the other driver's story before he could even finish.

No one was hurt, but my front bumper is toast (fell completely off). The other car has hardly any damage. The police officer seemed to believe my story. I can't see the report until five days from now, but the little slip he gave me with the other driver's info listed the GUY as the driver and he told me he cited him for "a couple things." He said he can't assign fault to the other driver because of a new Colorado law, so that will be up to the insurance companies to decide. I took several pics of the other car (including shots showing NO DAMAGE to most of the vehicle), but the ones with the license plate didn't come out right. I also didn't get to take pics of his info before the police arrived.

So, now for the big question...

My insurance company automatically said it was MY fault. I argued with the agent about that, so he said he put it as "under investigation." He was happy to hear I had witnesses--I got their names and phone numbers. So, if the insurance company ends up deeming it an "at fault" accident on my part, what does this mean for me and my career?

I sooooo wish I had had a dashcam!!!!!! If so this whole thing would be a no-brainer. I was even telling my wife before the accident how I wish I had one. As soon as I pay my bills this week I'm investing in one.

I'm also really glad this didn't happen in my truck. What was only a minor fender bender in my little Nissan Versa could have been pretty nasty in a big truck (even though the DriveCam would have easily proved my innocence).

So now what?

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Tractor Man's Comment
member avatar

If your driving record is clean, other than this, I don't see a problem. Be proactive and notify Swift. There is a certain time frame, so just follow protocol. I know "Rickapedia" will have the details. So nice to have our own Jailhouse Lawyer on this forum. I hope your Wife didn't slap the $#!+ out of you if you cut loose with your potty mouth on the other driver!

rofl-1.gif

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Yeah, as long as you're not on some kind of a "one more incident and you're outta here" kinda list then it won't have any effect, at least not with your current company. If you wanted to switch jobs it would certainly take you out of contention for some of them, but certainly not all.

Pianoman's Comment
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Yeah, as long as you're not on some kind of a "one more incident and you're outta here" kinda list then it won't have any effect, at least not with your current company. If you wanted to switch jobs it would certainly take you out of contention for some of them, but certainly not all.

I don't think I'm on that kind of a list, but I don't know. I will let you guys know what happens. I wasn't cited for anything so hopefully that helps. Apparently rear-end accidents are pretty hard to prove that you aren't at fault though...

Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

Co has a "comparative fault law" - and recognizes that the driver of the rear car in a collision is not "always at fault".

The fact that you weren't issued a citation weighs heavily in your favor.

You really aren't going to be able to tell what the story is - until you get the accident report, and see what the other guy was cited for.

What you need to worry about, is if this "feces bird" decides to lawyer up and try to sue you. CO is an "at fault" state, meaning you could be on the hook for their medical bills, etc. Hopefully - the investigator (or you) got the names of the witnesses. I'd do a drive-by and check the intersection for nearby traffic cameras. CO has a TON of them. Also look for security cameras at nearby stores, etc. - that might have recorded the incident.

"Swapping drivers" usually indicates the guy had an issue with his license - suspension, etc. Though if it was suspended, and he tried to swap out with his passenger (here in Florida) he would have been arrested on the spot for DWLS with Knowledge.

You're really not going to see how this shakes out, until you see the accident report. You ARE going to want to report the accident to Swift - though there's no actual FMCSA reg that covers accidents in POV's. Had you been cited and convicted - THAT has to be reported by regs (but you weren't cited). If safety does an "annual insurance review" - the claim is going to pop under your name - better to have disclosed it, than have to explain it later.

If you do report it - don't "claim fault" - just say you weren't cited and provide them with a copy of the accident report. If the investigator was accurate in the report, and found the witnesses to be reliable - you shouldn't have any issues.

Rick

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Bud A.'s Comment
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I'd do a drive-by and check the intersection for nearby traffic cameras. CO has a TON of them. Also look for security cameras at nearby stores, etc. - that might have recorded the incident.

Colorado Springs in particular has traffic cameras all over the place, but I am not sure if the government will release the video to you. I suspect they won't, because then everyone who has a fender bender would tie up their resources trying to get video of accidents. (The facility where all the video feeds go is a brick building with a bunch of antennas on it in the warehouse district off of Colorado Avenue just before you go across the bridge over I-25.)

If you can get usable video from traffic cameras or neighboring businesses, by all means do it. But don't bank on it.

The witness statements are more valuable. I would follow up with the folks who gave you their phone numbers and were favorable to you. I wouldn't wear them out with a lot of details. Just give them a quick call within the week, maybe this afternoon (but not during the Super Bowl !!! ), to tell them you really appreciate them waiting at the scene to talk to the officer.

Tell them that there is some chance you may need them to repeat what they saw somewhere down the line in case your insurance company decides against you, or if the other guy decides to sue you.

You might want to explain that you normally wouldn't bother them with this, but you're a truck driver so it could affect your livelihood. You have to be careful, though, because not everyone loves truck drivers, so if you're not sure, leave that part out.

Ask them if they would mind writing down their recollections now while their memories are fresh and to keep that document somewhere that they can find it months later just in case. It doesn't have to be fancy, just something they can use later if they need it in order to tell their story accurately much later (as in months or even a year or two down the line.)

If they hesitate at this, tell them no big deal, it was just a suggestion, and it probably won't get to that point where they need it anyway. (Keep in mind that at this point you are asking them to do something that some people would consider "above and beyond" their duty. Don't push it.) If they agree, thank them! This will really help you if it turns into a lawsuit or any other kind of hearing that could affect you.

Also, give them your phone number and the investigating officer's phone number in case they think of anything else. Above all, be friendly and respectful, thank them again, and respect their time.

Don't coach them, don't offer to give them money or goods for their testimony, and don't wear them out. The main thing you want to leave them with is that you appreciate them taking the time to do the right thing, that there is a chance you may need their help again down the road, and that you appreciate them taking the time to do the right thing. Then tell them you appreciate them taking the time to do the right thing. Then thank them for taking your call and wish them a good rest of the day.

If you ever do really need them to help you down the line, these witnesses will be more willing to disrupt their lives to talk to your lawyer or whoever to repeat their story accurately. It will also help to inoculate them from any suggestions that the other guy may make to them in the event that he calls them after the accident report is released.

Finally, let me say that I'm glad no one was hurt. It could have been worse.

Pianoman's Comment
member avatar

Good news!

I talked to my driver leader about it yesterday and he said that it won't affect anything at Swift since I wasn't cited. Actually, like Rick said, because I wasn't cited I don't even have to report it. And it doesn't affect my CDL if the insurance company deems me at fault--although that is it's own can of worms, since I have no video evidence of the crash. I did give insurance the names and phone numbers of the witnesses.

Oh yeah...most of the time I have to park my truck at the DC down in Pueblo, which means I have to commute an hour each way in my car. They are going to let me park the truck in Colorado Springs every night until my car gets fixed. That'll certainly make things easier.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Pianoman's Comment
member avatar
Finally, let me say that I'm glad no one was hurt. It could have been worse.

Me too. My wife got a little whiplash, so she's hurting today (second day's always worst). That's all though.

Pianoman's Comment
member avatar
If you can get usable video from traffic cameras or neighboring businesses, by all means do it. But don't bank on it.

Apparently the traffic "camera" at that particular intersection is actually just a laser.

wtf.gif

There were a couple businesses nearby. I doubt they caught it, but I'll still check.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Buy a camera for your car. Most people (4-wheelrs) do not take driving seriously any more.

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