Road Debris

thevictor390

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So I'm doing 70 down I-495 S in the middle lane in moderate traffic, just like any other day. Suddenly the large SUV in front of me swerves to the right.

Why did he swerve? Probably the large plastic barrel... er.... barreling towards me. Mind racing: car on the left. Car on the right. No one immediately behind. I slam the brakes, and move over when I can, but it's too late. I am probably doing over 50 when I hit the barrel.

Barrel shoots forward, I pull over ASAP but it's a few hundred yards before a usable breakdown lane. I call 911, a State Trooper comes by shockingly quickly, and I explain the situation. I ask if I can get something in writing for my insurance company and he takes my license and calls my information into the barracks, telling me to call them. I saw another guy swerve into the median so the cop goes to check that out.

The damage:





I called the police barracks but was told, repeatedly and explicitly, that I do not need any kind of written report or statement, I should just explain the situation to my insurance company. I at least managed to get him to track down some sort of log file to confirm that they have a record of the accident.

Now the question is, how do I approach this with the insurance company? Am I at-fault for hitting debris in the middle of an interstate highway? My main concern is that I have no evidence, which I will have to take back up with the State Troopers if it becomes an issue.

As a young person driving a sports car I am hoping to god I am not at-fault....
 
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LeVeL

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:( sorry to hear

edit: just remembered something relevant. A friend of mine was camping once and when he came back to his car in the morning he found it smashed to bits. Tire tracks, among other evidence, suggested that some douches rammed ATVs into his car repeatedly. Insurance refused to pay because the damage was done by another vehicle and said vehicle's owner's insurance would have to pay for the damages; since the pricks didn't stick around, my friend didn't see a dime from insurance. They did, however, say that if the damage had been done by an object other than a vehicle, they would have paid up. Since in your case the damage was clearly not done by a vehicle, I would think (read: hope) that insurance would pay. Good luck!
 
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thevictor390

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Update: I think I am going to contact my insurance, I have talked to some people in the industry and apparently, as long as the barrel was moving then I should get away with just paying my deductible. And it certainly was moving, it wasn't even on the ground when I first saw it.

Of course, I only have my word unless I can heckle the state trooper again...

As for the damage, I bent the metal (third picture) back with a crowbar, so I can turn the wheel again. The car seems to driver perfect, I don't think there is anything other than cosmetic damage. My only concern is that the metal that bent is part of the transmission cooling system, but nothing seems to have actually broken.
 

_HighVoltage_

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I don't think your transmission cooler would be damaged. I don't think it's that close to the bumper.

Also, you might want to consider how your insurance will increase. Even if you are not-at-fault, you will still get bumped.
 

NecroJoe

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So, what you are basically saying is that you were following too close to the person in front of you to react to a situation?

I know I don't know the whole situation, but...that's what it sounds like. Sorry to sound dickish.

I was driving down a road once, and I noticed the traffic in front of me was stopped. So, I pulled over into the next lane. The moment I pull over, I hear squealing brakes of the guy who was tailgating me and didn't have time to react to the stopped traffic in front of him that he couldn't see since he was too close to me. He ended up swerving into the shoulder at the last moment, clipping the bumper of the last person in line stopped in traffic.

I got a phone call from an office later that day. Apparently, the guy told them some story about how I caused it by how I was driving. I simply said "How could I have caused him to crash if I was in front of him and never touched my brakes?" That was pretty much the end of the conversation.
 

thevictor390

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I don't think your transmission cooler would be damaged. I don't think it's that close to the bumper.

Also, you might want to consider how your insurance will increase. Even if you are not-at-fault, you will still get bumped.

It does seem odd but those are definitely some sort of radiators next to the fog lights in the bumper, and one of them did get bent (last pic).

NecroJoe, I see where you are coming from, but the barrel was small enough that I couldn't see it from my low position behind the largish SUV, even with a significant distance between us. I was so focused on the object coming towards me that I didn't see the source, but judging from its movement, it either just fell off of whatever was carrying it or had just been hit by someone else, in either case not much time to react (I'm kicking myself for the few seconds of shock I experienced after the impact, I never did look ahead for a truck). The SUV only barely missed it by swerving to the right; I didn't have that luxury unless I wanted a two-vehicle accident on my hands.

That said, I have no doubt that it was avoidable, I am by no means a perfect driver and hesitated longer than I should have. I could have braked hard, and turned in behind the car on my right as it passed.
 
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GRtak

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How much is your deductable? And is the damage more than your deductable? Truthfully, whoever dropped the barrel should have to pay for it, but you didn't see where it came from.
 

thevictor390

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$300. Believe me I really wish I had some idea of where the fuck that thing came from. Of course I am going to consider just getting it repaired if it is not much more than that, don't have a quote yet.

Forgot to mention, I will have to discuss this with the insurance company to be sure, but if I am not at fault, my insurance should not increase. If it would increase I'll just have to eat the repair costs :(
 
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prizrak

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$300. Believe me I really wish I had some idea of where the fuck that thing came from. Of course I am going to consider just getting it repaired if it is not much more than that, don't have a quote yet.

Forgot to mention, I will have to discuss this with the insurance company to be sure, but if I am not at fault, my insurance should not increase. If it would increase I'll just have to eat the repair costs :(
Insurance increase is not necessarily based on whether you are at fault or not. According to the Progressive website (my company) they handle it on case-by-case bases.
 

D-Fence

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Insurances are cunts. This being said, in Germany there is the golden rule: Slam brakes. If the guy behind you hits you, he pays. If you hit it because of braking to gently, you pay..unless you can point out where it came from...for this, always say "ukrainian lorry" or "polish truck", it works ;)
 

thevictor390

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You don't encounter a lot of foreign trucks in Massachusetts :lol:

I did slam the brakes, but I hesitated, and it was too little, too late. There was no one immediately behind me. Rear-end collisions are almost always the fault of the car in back over here, too.
 

thevictor390

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Update: had it appraised at $960(!), but at this rate, I should be able to pay my deductible with no other consequences.
 
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