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I just got in my first accident, and I'm not sure what to do.

I hit a tire on the highway. I have geico insurance. I have dashcam footage of the incident. This happened at around 9:45pm, it was dark out. I was not speeding. It looks like the tire was larger than a normal passenger car sized tire.

It looks to my untrained eye like the damage is mostly/all cosmetic. The driver side of the bumper (about 1/3rd) is torn, but mostly still attached. There are rubber skid marks on the bumper, the driver side rear door, and the driver side rear hub cap. All of my lights appear to work.

My questions are:

  1. I believe I am not at fault, but will geico think so? More specifically, will the dashcam footage help or hurt my case?

  2. What actions should I take, and in what order?

Here is the footage of the accident: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K10PA-9DKyw

(This is my first post on stack exchange so please let me know if this is the wrong stack to be asking on, or if I should do anything else.)

  • Usually, Mike welcomes a new user at this point. I believe the query is relevant, however, the senior members will decide if not. – Numair Aidroos Jul 21 '18 at 6:12
  • First I would suggest contacting your insurance company - they may (depending on your cover) be contacting the authorities on your behalf - which saves you a whole load of grief. Being advised to rush out and lawyer up instantly may not be the best idea.... – Solar Mike Jul 21 '18 at 6:22
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    This is probably more suited to the law stack. You don't say where you are, but here in the UK you are supposed to inform the police and your insurance company before leaving the scene of the accident - e.g. so they can arrange for the debris to be removed before someone else hits it... – Nick C Jul 22 '18 at 7:18
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The question of fault only arises if you claim. As this was a single vehicle incident, it's entirely at your discretion if you wish to claim or not. Most single vehicle incidents will go down as a fault claim. Their argument is that you struck the tyre because you were travelling at a speed which meant you were unable to stop the vehicle in the distance you could see or that you failed to react quickly enough or take sufficient evasive action.

The first action I would take would be to use something to attach to torn part of the bumper (or remove it). Depending what you have in your car will dictate how to proceed. Strong tape works well and is used on competition cars damaged mid-stage. Failing that, sturdy twine or bungee cords would work. That would allow you to drive the vehicle slowly to a place where you can effect a repair.

You may find that cutting or rubbing compound removes the rubber scuff marks from the drivers rear door and rear hub cap. Bumpers are usually fairly simple to remove and replace and a second hand part sourced either from a local breakers yard or an online auction site ought to be relatively inexpensive. Be sure to inspect the bumper iron and chassis rail on the drivers side whilst the bumper is removed.

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You are not at fault here. First, you get legal representation and sue the highway authorities and state/city depending on the jurisdiction. Meanwhile, this can come under a comprehensive claim at best, but remember to get a reimbursement from the aforementioned authorities through your attorney.

*Suggestion: you invest in better light solutions such as led/halogen/HID projected legal street use kits.

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    How are the highway authorities at fault, that tire could have fell off another vehicle 5 minutes before they hit it. – Moab Jul 21 '18 at 14:48
  • They are responsible for network management. Taxes, tolls, and construction reimbursement is paid out for clean, safe, and efficient highways. – Numair Aidroos Jul 22 '18 at 13:49
  • No chance of winning a lawsuit here unless you can prove the highway administration knew about the tire and didn't remove it. – Spivonious Aug 20 '18 at 20:43
  • Did you just realise the obvious? The fact we're going to send a legal notice is for settlement, and open court is about the arguments, which a judge hears not 'Online user Spivonious'. Point out something that is not listed or missed. – Numair Aidroos Aug 21 '18 at 21:20
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You're definitely at fault, as there was no one else involved (unless you can prove where the tire came from).

If your deductible is low and/or you can't afford the full repair cost, then go ahead and make a claim. Geico will pay for the repair, but your premiums will probably go up and they may even drop your policy afterwards.

If you can live with the cosmetic damage, I'm sure there are bumper-repair videos on YouTube. I would still get the car checked out. There may be suspension damage that you can't see.

  • Can you elaborate on why I am "definitely" at fault? The fact that there is no one else involved does not necessarily mean that I am at fault. – kamahaya Aug 21 '18 at 13:31
  • Driving too fast for conditions. A tire in the road is something that you should have been able to avoid, even at night. – Spivonious Aug 21 '18 at 17:33

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