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Sandwiched between two vans - suggestions for post-accident trauma of prius

Discussion in 'Fred's House of Pancakes' started by trexbob, Nov 21, 2016.

  1. trexbob

    trexbob Junior Member

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    Hey Everyone, looking for some advice/suggestions. I was in my wife's 2010 Prius and was rear-ended and forced into the car ahead of me last week. The impact caused my face to bounce off the steering wheel ... no broken bones luckily, but got cuts/bruises on nose and eyebrow/eyelid, a seriously bloody nose, and some head pain. I am kind of surprised the airbag did not go off, but maybe there wasn't enough of an impact in the front. There was definitely *some* sort of seatbelt failure/malfunction though! We do have a trailer hitch installed and that may have saved the rear bumper from being totally mangled, but may have reduced the crumple-factor and made things worse (for me) than they would have been otherwise...?

    I should be taking the Prius into the shop this week - it is still drivable, but there is some possible frame damage as the driver side rear door lost its gap and now hits metal to metal. The hatch won't open and the whole rear bumper is visibly pushed inward, so the bumpers are likely in need of replacement. Car pulls slightly to the left at speed now. Is there anything I should advise the body shop, or tell them to fix/replace? I don't think the battery or hybrid system was damaged, but who knows...? I will definitely mention to them the seatbelt issue.... but is that something I should take up with the insurance company, Toyota, or maybe even a personal injury lawyer?

    Thanks for the help!
     
  2. mrbigh

    mrbigh Prius Absolutum Dominium

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    some thing that you are not clearly mentioning is, Did you had your seat belt properly fasten?
    Were you traveling at any speed or the vehicle was standing still at time of impact?
     
  3. trexbob

    trexbob Junior Member

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    Yes was wearing the seatbelt, properly fastened. I was stopped and sitting at a traffic light, as was the cargo van in front of me. I'm not sure how fast the mini-van (VW Routan) was going who rear ended me. He must have been moving pretty good though. I wasn't knocked out, but I sure did get my head rattled and didn't know which direction was up for a minute.
     
  4. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    I think you're on the right track, the things you're proposing to do. Have you been to the doc?
     
  5. trexbob

    trexbob Junior Member

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    Went to the ER (not in ambulance though)... xrays done to my head - no broken bones, just some soft tissue damage/bruising to my nose and face. The doc told me to take Afrin for a few days and some advil/tylenol and I should be back to normal in no time.
     
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  6. Kevin_Denver

    Kevin_Denver Active Member

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    I don't know how your insurance works, but you've had the car inspected by your insurance company correct? Since the car was hit from both the front and rear, if it was me, I would probably try to have the car totaled and then go buy a used 3rd gen that hadn't been in an accident.
     
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  7. MrMischief

    MrMischief Active Member

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    Your car is totaled. Did you get a ticket for anything? time to start car shopping....

    For the seat belt thing, I don't really know. I would be surprised if the seat belt truly failed in some way, just seems like such a huge thing I can't imagine any manufacturer taking the liability risk with that. If you think it failed, you should talk to an attorney first, see what they think. My guess is since there's no significant injury (thankfully) from it you don't have much of a case. If you don't want to be the stereotypical American you could contact Toyota directly with a "hey this happened, I think my seat belt didn't work properly. I was not seriously injured but would like to know Toyota's thought on it before I make my new car purchase." They'll give you some boiler plate "take it to your dealer" response which you then try to see if they'd be wiling to cover the cost of having it checked since the car is totaled and you're just wanting to know it worked before you buy another Toyota.
     
  8. dorunron

    dorunron Senior Member

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    FWIW, I would not easily dismiss your health and or injuries at this point. I also would not be in a hurry to sign any releases of any sort. I would consult a lawyer at this point especially since you were rear ended.

    In cases such as this, it is not uncommon to have issues later in life with back, neck or other issues due to the unfortunate situation you were put into.

    Not sure about your local law, however here in Texas the guy in the back is pretty much all the time at fault whenever someone is rear ended.

    I would be more concerned about my health and well being and less concerned about your Prius at this point. The insurance will fix your Prius. The lawyer will help you in other ways. Find a good lawyer who will work on a contingency basis. Should be easy in your situation.
     
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  9. MrMischief

    MrMischief Active Member

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    I've always thought that in a situation like this, where car 1 rear ends car 2 who then rear ends car 3, that car 1 is liable for car 2, car 2 is liable for car 3 due to being stopped too close. Car 2 would have to demonstrate that they were not too close and/or that the impact was so hard it was unavoidable. I leave much more room between stopped cars than the typical driver, partly due to not wanting to get pushed into them.
     
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  10. Raytheeagle

    Raytheeagle Senior Member

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    I was the lead car in a 4 car crash. The 3 other insurance companies battled it out for the percentage at faults for months. One of the cars in the middle was a Mazda MX-3 and it was all mangled as a result. The Chrysler 300 and Ford Explorer sustained light damage.

    I had a Jaguar at the time of the accident and it was never the same afterwards. When it was rear ended the shop that did the work ended up putting the brake line on where it rubbed against the caliper and I ended up with no brake once it finally breached:(.

    My advice if they will not be totaling it out and it is going to be repaired to take your own before pics so you can see what they touched as a result of the accident. If not satisfied, keep pressing them until your are.

    I too leave a good gap between the car in front of me and myself as this further emphasized what my old man had been preaching all along: you never know what someone else will be doing.

    Best of luck(y).
     
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  11. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    My 2010 Prius was the lead car of a 3 car chain collision, fortunately much weaker than these cases. The tail car's insurance paid it all. That driver also received the only citation.

    When traffic switched from gradually slowing (all brake lights on) to suddenly stopped (no change in brake lights), I stopped with enough space. #2 squealed his tires and stopped with almost no margin, but still avoided a collision. #3 was a gaggle of teenagers focused inward.
     
    #11 fuzzy1, Nov 21, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2016
  12. bobzchemist

    bobzchemist Active Member

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    Yes to all three, but get with a personal injury lawyer immediately, if not sooner. Let him tell you what doctors you need to see and tests you need to have to preserve your legal rights. This is NOT a medical decision.

    Then, you want to figure out how to document the seatbelt/airbag failure. This MUST be done as soon as possible, and at the very least before a single repair is made. Maybe even before the car is appraised for damages. You will probably need to at least consult with a product liability lawyer.

    Then, you figure out who to sue.

    You have at least two separate cases - one for seatbelt/airbag failure, and one for the guy who rear-ended you - and you both may have a case against Toyota, since the failure increased the damage he's going to have to pay for.
     
  13. MrMischief

    MrMischief Active Member

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    USA! USA! USA!

    This type of attitude is partly why it's so damn expensive to do business in this country. I'd like to say that more people should take the high road and if you don't need a lawyer (as in someone is actively dicking you rather than trying to do the right thing) don't bother with one. But, sadly, if you don't go find the lawyer first, you're very likely to be dicked by everyone else's lawyer. So I mock it, but I understand it.
     
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  14. qdllc

    qdllc Senior Member

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    Depends on the state. Torts come down to "but for" causality arguments. A stopped vehicle being pushed into another stopped vehicle by a vehicle in motion generally IS NOT at fault for the damages caused BUT FOR the third vehicle's actions. If both were in motion, there would be a debate as to how much damage each caused to the one in front. I don't think there is a mandated "stopping distance" when you aren't moving, and an impact over X mph WILL drive a parked vehicle forward Y feet no matter what.

    As far as the OP is concerned...you have bodily injury, consult a lawyer. Lots of issues can manifest long after the accident (adrenaline is wonderful, but it conceals issues). Likewise, I'd want my car totaled at this point. Most any unibody construction car is never going to be quite the same again (unless you spend a lot on body work), and that's not touching mechanical damage that might exist. Odds are the cost to ensure you're restored here is more than the car is worth (and the headaches). However, having bodily injuries gives the lawyer leverage to push back when the insurance company wants to "go cheap" on doing the repairs.

    Good luck.
     
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  15. qdllc

    qdllc Senior Member

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    I feel the same way, and I work for a law firm.

    The simple problem is that if you could count on others to "do right" and amicably settle the claim, there'd be no need for lawyers, but insurance carriers do all that they can to avoid paying, and that forces you to not be a nice person. I can understand when a person expects repairs for things not really damaged in the incident or thinks they are getting a cash cow for having been in an accident, but I've seen carriers fight paying for stuff that's directly and causally-related to the incident up to the last minute before having to go into court.
     
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  16. bobzchemist

    bobzchemist Active Member

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    It's the whole "dicked over by other people's lawyers" problem that you really have to guard against. Depending on the state, the guy driving the vehicle you were pushed into has to sue you, and cannot sue the driver who hit you. You, in turn have to sue the driver who hit you, not just for your own damage and injuries, but also for the damage and injuries of the driver you hit.

    Not suing may not even be an option - I've heard of insurance companies forcing their clients to sue or they would deny coverage.
     
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  17. bobzchemist

    bobzchemist Active Member

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    Also, since you're down here in Georgia, and also have a 2010, would you mind letting me know if they total your car, and where they take it if they do? There might be parts that would be worth salvaging.
     
  18. cyberpriusII

    cyberpriusII Prodigyplace says I'm Super Kris

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    You are not going to get anywhere with any reputable lawyer and the amount of recovery, if you use a bit of a shyster will probably be more in total than you could get by negotiating yourself, but by the time you take out the legal fees you are back to where you were (been through this).

    Basic rule of thumb, for minor to moderate injuries, you are looking at a recovery of two to five times the amount of your medical bills. With what you described, you probably will have a few thousand in billls - probably looking at total recovery of less than $10K (not including vehicle damage, etc.) A lawyer might be able to push it up a bit, but normally you are looking to paying them a third to -- at times -- half of your recovery, although you could get lucky and get someone to take for something in the 25 percent range.

    Easier to do it yourself. Nolo's book on auto accident injuiries (at your library) is the first thing I would read if I were you. Then decide about a lawyer..
     
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