Tuesday, May 17, 2016

My Dash Cam Captured My At-Fault Accident

As a guy who does a lot with dash cams, there is one question I do get asked a lot: "what if my dash cam caught an accident and I was in the wrong?"

Well, I had a first-hand experience of that happening last month with my very own F750.

First of all, full disclosure: I wasn't even the one behind the wheel, which made this situation even murkier as different insurance companies have different policies when it comes to loaning your car to a different driver.

Here is what happened. My parents were in town to visit -- as my parents live quite far away, it's not often that I get to see them without hopping on a 10-hour flight. Being the good son that I am, I naturally gave them the use of my beloved beater manual Mazda wagon that I practically consider as my primary residence.

Unfortunately, the last time my dad drove a manual car was when Atari was still making video games. He is also at the age where he considers porridge as digestible food by humans. So it went about as well as you'd probably expect.

Within a week, my dad had accidentally curbed the front wheel of my car. My front tire was officially kaput.

The week after that, my grey-colored beat up Mazda wagon had scratched up a pristine-looking, pearl white Porsche convertible that's parked on the street. Luckily, I was nearby when it happened, so I was able to tend to the situation.

From initial inspection, my dad had clipped the Porsche on the driver side while parking my car. The incident left a long scratch mark on my rear passenger door and rear quarter panel. Looking behind me, and horror -- a broken turn signal light and a series of black scratch marks had been left on the Porsche.

This is not going to be cheap.

I quickly took some close-up shots of the damage with my cell phone. As the driver wasn't there, we left him a very apologetic note with my phone number and driver's license number on it. Since we were running late, we didn't have the time to wait for the other driver to return to his car -- which made me feel very uncomfortable.

Going through the photos later on my phone, it dawned on me that I'd forgotten to take a picture of his license plate as well. In other words, I was completely in the blind when it comes to any information on the Porsche that my dad had made a dent on.

Who is the owner? What if he is furious? What if he is Negan from the Walking Dead? What if he doesn't call me for a month? Do I still talk to him then? More importantly, what happens if he starts pinning other mysterious scratches on his car on me? How can I dispute any of that?

For a brief moment, I'd forgotten that I had a dash cam.

You see, a great thing about having a dash cam even when you are in the wrong -- you can at least know that nobody can pin any additional phantom damages on you. It also makes it even easier if I had to file a case to the insurance company -- the GPS tracker on my F750 had already logged the precise speed, time, and location when the collision happened. The dash cam video, thanks to the rear view camera, also got me his license plate as well as a front-and-rear, 20+ minute clip of the entire the incident too that features my dad slowly and agonizingly peeling the paint off the pride of Stuttgart.

A couple hours later, I received a phone call from the owner. He was surprisingly calm and civilized about the whole affair, and graciously agreed to settle the damage without alerting our insurance companies. Apparently he was just glad that we'd bothered to leave a note at all.

We later met up at a reputable body shop, where I forked over $1,200 dollars for the damage -- which admittedly wasn't too bad considering that it was a pearl white convertible Porsche. I am also just glad that it didn't snowball into something much trickier to handle, insurance-wise.

Even if it did, however, at least I had my dash cam to cover my back.

Now, I'll just need to save up to fix up my own car. That, as well as the rental fee for that self-driving and self-parking Tesla for when my folks inevitably come back in town.

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