Rear-ended by a guy with no drivers license, no insurance

I figure it was bound to happen, but it still sucks. I’m wondering if I did the right thing… let me know what you think…

I was going southbound on Vermont (south of Beverly) and was stopped in the left lane (for a light) when the car behind me didn’t stop in time and hit the car I was driving. I didn’t see it coming and my head flew forward and then came directly back before the headrest stopped it from flying back further. I had an instant headache and my neck felt like it had been wrenched. But I could tell I hadn’t been hit hard enough for major damage.

I immediately put my car into park, turned on the hazards, and stepped out of my car.

Behind me was a small blue Nissan with a Latino man in the driver’s side, a woman (I assume his wife) in the passenger seat, and a baby in the back seat. It looked like the guy was hoping I either hadn’t noticed or was going to drive away because he looked disappointed that I got out of the car. The expression was kind of like, “Oh damn, she’s not driving away…”

As I walked toward his car and waved him out, he reluctantly got out. He kept saying, “Sorry, sorry.”

I looked at the rear bumper (which I recently spent $1000 out of my own pocket to fix when I scraped the back corner with a telephone pole while parking) and there was no visible damage. But having been in fender benders before, I know that sometimes there is damage to the foam underneath the bumper that can’t be seen with the naked eye.

The guy looked at the bumper and said, “Ok?” Evidently he was hoping I was going to leave it alone.

However, the car I was driving was not my own car (it is Yoshi’s), so (in my opinion) I have the responsibility of returning it in as good or better condition than I had received it. If there was hidden damage to the vehicle, I’m ultimately responsible for it; however in this situation, I was not responsible for the accident, so naturally, I wanted to get the guy’s info.

I explained, “Not my car, can I see your driver’s license?”

He asked, “¿Habla espanol?”

I said, “No.”

I asked again, “Driver’s license?”

He went to the car to get something out of the glove box. As he was doing that, I whipped out my digital camera and started taking pictures of his car, his license plate, him and his family in the car, etc. His wife looked extremely distraught, even more so when she saw me taking pictures.

He came back with a temporary insurance card which had expired in February. I copied down all the information, including the name and address on the card and asked for his driver’s license again. He didn’t seem to know what that meant, so I was about to show him mine when he suddenly understood said, “No. No license.”

At this point, I had a choice. I could have called the police and gotten a police report because I know the vehicle I was driving is insured for Uninsured Motorist. If I am hurt or have injuries from this, then insurance will only cover Uninsured Motorist if there is a police report.

Or I could count my blessings, hope that the bumper really wasn’t damaged and let the guy go.

Since I was going to be late to an appointment if I called the police, I decided to let him go and get on my way. I figured that taking all his info down probably scared him and his wife.

He seemed thankful when I said, “Ok, you go.” And he kept saying, “Sorry, sorry,” as he climbed into his car and drove off.

Now that I’m home, I’m wondering if I did the right thing. Upon closer inspection of the bumper, there are a couple of divots in the bumper where his car made impact, but luckily Yoshi says I don’t have to fix it. Yoshi did tell me that I SHOULD have called the police just in case I’d been hurt. It was also pointed out to me that I should have called the police because this guy was responsible for what he’d done, and he should face whatever consequences for disobeying the law and driving around with no license or insurance. So this made me wonder, by letting him go, did I become part of the problem?

Did I do the right thing by letting him go? (No harm, no foul?)

Or should I have called the police? (You play, you pay?)

PS – The Yoshi also says I should post the photos I took, but I’ll hold off on that… for now…

ADDENDUM: I made the same post at blogging.la (different audience) and it has stirred quite a debate. Check it out: http://blogging.la/archives/2007/10/rearended_by_a_guy_with_no_dri.phtml

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12 Responses to “Rear-ended by a guy with no drivers license, no insurance”



  • I would have stayed and called the police. Then again, I have no idea how LAPD are. anyway, i’m sure your appointment would have been understanding for why you would have been late.


  • OUCH!
    Note to self: Avoid southbound Vermont between 101 and Wilshire until further notice.
    Seriously, stay safe jozjozjoz.
    YK


  • I think you probably should have called the police, but it seems like it is going to work out ok this time. Like you said, you never know if there was hidden damage either to you or the car. (and I’m glad you’re both ok!) but, you did get the license plate number and temporary insurance card so hopefully if you need to you’ll be able to find him again.


  • You should have called the police and had a police report taken. It is inexcusable to not have a license and extremely inexcusable to not have insurance. If you can’t afford to insure your vehicle then don’t drive. You taking pictures is a plus but you should still have called the police.


  • I can’t believe I wasted 3 minutes of my life reading your blog. Not to mention, in the time it took you to write this drivel, you could have called the police, got the report, had the car fixed and maybe squeezed a few chiropractic massages out of the deal…all from the insurance company. But no, because you would have been late for your appointment, which by the way, the rest of the world sincerely thanks you because we all know if you missed whatever appointment it was, the entire world would have come to a screeching halt, spun off it’s axis and have been catapulted into the sun. Instead, you let this POS off the hook. Here he is, no doubt some illegal that doesn’t even belong here in the first place, taking a perfectly good landscaping or dishwashing job away from a needy American, riding around with no license or insurance, which by the way is why MY insurance rates are so f’in high, who later that night will probably have one too many Coronas to celebrate him skirting the law YET AGAIN only to run over some poor kid on his bike coming home from picking up his little sister’s much needed, far too expensive, medicine from the drug store. I hope you’re happy.

  • Glad I Don't Work at Exxon


    Wow, it sounds like Mr. F’n Bored needs to milk a few more massages out of that insurance money. Pull your head out of your ass and realize that people make mistakes — even illegal immigrants. And while perhaps Joz should have called the police, she chose compassion as the man obviously is struggling with a baby. Lord, show some compassion. And heaven forbid your car insurance is so godly high on your lexus with baby seal skin seats. Get over yourself and love humanity.


  • Hey bored person.

    Yes, you’ve certainly wasted some of your life on this… bothering to comment like that. What the fuck is wrong with you?! Is it the illegal immigrant thing you don’t like? You really think he’s taking a job away from an American? Illegals do the jobs that Americans don’t want and won’t do, my ignorant friend.

    And BTW, blogs are like radios in one big respect: if you don’t like what you’re reading, go read something else. Don’t slag on the author of a blog post because you happen to disagree with something she did.

    Asshole.


  • I may not have called police on the spot but I will make a report later. The law in IL says you can exchange info and file report within 24 hours if no injuries. I don’t like illegal drivers. That is why my insurance is so high, that 16 yr old daughter of mine doesn’t help much either!


  • Hey Joz,

    I cannot stress STRONGLY enough the fact that just b/c your neck doesn’t hurt RIGHT NOW, that doesn’t mean it won’t in the future. I was involved in a pretty significant accident that got my car totaled when I was hit by a drunk driver, but I felt COMPLETELY fine at the time, and even for weeks after, and didn’t do anything to treat it, and it turns out that a after a few more weeks my neck started hurting, and I now have myofacial (muscle) neck pain serious enough to cause migraines and get to the point where I can’t even function!

    I’ve had to see doctors and do PT and take all sorts of drugs, so given that you DID felt it at the time, you NEED to start treating it ASAP, and be prepared for further complications down the road–living with this sucks BIG TIME, and treating it sooner would’ve helped, but in case there isn’t anything you can do, you at least need to have that police report so you can make claims against your insurance and get coverage for (god forbid) any treatment you may needin the future!

    Just a thought for everyone else to consider who think it’s as simple as deciding to call the cops or not based on the injured to the CAR–if it was hard enough a hit to give her that kind of whiplash at the time, she needs to protect HERSELF first, and then worry about the other person–b/c it won’t be the other person going to the doctor months/years from now and in pain and suffering… JM2C tho.


  • I realize that I’m a week late here, but I just want to say that I’m glad you were not seriously hurt and I hope that you’ve not had pain following this accident. And I am sorry that jerks like the bored guy have to go around trollin’ and leaving long comments wasting even MORE of his time (!) writing about how much of his time he wasted reading. heh.

    Stay cool. Keep your computer cool. And get sleep. We’re both having far too much insomnia these days. *yawn*

  • Wedding Photographer Cambridge


    Yeah that happened to me. However he paid me cash to sort out the problem. I guess its the luck of the draw


  • This is obviously way late, but i think the world needs more people like you. I wouldn’t have called the police either. He was with his wife and child, it was a complete accident, and there was no major damage at all.

    thanks for being a good person

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