Cell phone accident...
#1
Phil Patterson
Participant
Well, on our way from Nevada to Oregon we recently got into an accident. A woman driving a borrowed car while on a cell phone rammed into my Ram’s drivers side alloy dually, then sheared off the driverside camper jack…The forged alloy aluminum wheel was destroyed and all of her airbags deployed…Her car was an absolute beater and was totaled…

With our ‘loaded for bear’ camper weighing nearly 5k# and the rear jack now missing, there was no way to raise the camper to jack the truck wheel up using the flimsy OEM jack, so we had to wait three tow trucks and 5hrs later to finally get a bottle jack of sufficient capacity (20T) to lift one side of the rear axle…This cost $317 bucks!!…The two 3T floor jacks the two previous tow guys had tried were 100% useless…Know now that I carry a $45 12 ton bottle jack from HD !!


Getting the spare out with the camper aboard was another ordeal due to the camper’s rear overhang, but I finally managed to do this by inserting only one length of the multi-piece OEM crank-rod, then stuck a 13 mm 12pt socket over the square drive male end of the rod and turned it using a ratchet – this worked well!!


Tire now changed (but now without a spare) we continued on with our trip to Oregon only to later discover that now the steering wheel was a 11 o’clock to go straight, so it apoears that the rear axle has shifted a degree or two… Ugg!…To be determined…
Sacramento cops won’t write an accident report UNLESS there us a injury (or possible injury – hint, hint…), so unless there is a witness, even with a cop present, your pretty much out on your own…Luckly we had two cooperating witnesses – one was the car behind me that got lucky and dodged the madness, and the other was the next car after that which got sideswiped…


Turns out that the offending driver is pretty much off the hook because the insurance company policy that kicks in is the one for the owner who loaned her the car – but as of yet we don’t know who the owner is or whether the car even has insurance!!…The answer to this question may only be found out at the DMV…


IF it turns out that there is an insurance policy for the offending auto’s actual owner (??), then standard practice is that, that will be the primary policy for reimbursement and their company will be our primary point of contact, meaning that our insurance company will be in the secondary position, and IF coverage is sufficient, then their insurance company will pay.


Determining fault is important – since there were cooperating witnesses, it was established that I was not at fault, so my company says that I won’t get a rate increase even if they end-up having to pay…Since the minimum legal PPD insurance in CA is only $5k (apportioned over however many damaged vehicles – and $10k for personal injury – WTFO!!), my insurer pretty much already knows that they’ll be on the hook for covering the damage…


So for curiosity sake I googled ‘cell phone while driving accident stats’ and learned that there are thousands of C/P accidents and injuries per year along with about 3,400 deaths…It seems as though driving while on a cell phone has become a secure make work project for Undertakers…
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#2
What a mess.  It sounds like you're covered, insurance wise.  But I would want an expert shop to look at the camper. . .and the truck.
Impacts of this nature can produce hidden damages, such as a cracked frame on the camper, that might reveal themselves after a few hundred bridge overpass crossings.

Some insurance companies have specialty shops that they use for RV damage claims.  The insurance recommended repair company (Wescraft RV & Truck in Tacoma, WA) that I used for damage inspection found much more damage than I originally found on my own.  (The camper was "totaled"). 
In your description, I would be more concerned about the truck thou.

The above words are not encouraging but they are meant to forewarn anyone who might read this post.

As for the cellphone issue, roughly ten-percent for drivers are distracted according to some studies.  
This is hugely disturbing considering that a small percentage of those driver swill be on alcohol or drugs while texting, etc.  
  
Roughly ten vehicles out of every hundred vehicles are at increased odds of having a very dangerous driver.
AKA: testdog
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#3
Exactly, even at the meager speeds we were going in a 35mph zone (in opposite directions), had she crossed the line just about a second or so sooner, it would have been a head on, and my nearly 14k lb truck and camper would have rolled over her borrowed Passat like a tortilla, and she had little kids in the car...There would have been nothing I could do, and our airbags would have deployed...It’s also possible that I could have rolled too due to a high CG...Ever since this happened, I feel most fortunate because there were no injuries (except for her bruised arm due to her airbag), but I drive now with an acute sense of despair knowing this very thing could easily happen again with the very next passing car - all 100% beyond any of my own control...I believe that two lane roads are the most hazardous...

Since it was a borrowed car, responsibility goes to the owner NOT her, but no one seems to know who the owner is, or whether they carry insurance, and even IF they do, in CA, the minimum legal PPD is only $5k (apportioned over all cars - lol!) and $10k per injury - I wonder how few folks are aware of these uber low limits??...Folks should review this weakness in coverage for the State they live in...
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#4
(1) From near my home town :
Quote:In Pierce County, 1,516 of the 15,181 total crashes in 2017 — about 10 percent — were blamed on distracted driving.
Truck Camper Magazine owners were recently hit (last July) by a driver causing major damage to their truck and camper.  They published their experience: 9 Lessons From A Truck Camper Accident

A good homeowners policy will cover many personal items such as computers, ipads, etc. within the camper.  
Renters would be advised to check with their insurance agent about insurance coverage for personal possessions in the camper.

Also, upgrades such as solar charging systems, airbags, etc should all be documented - photographed.
(That advice also applies to homeowners and renters.  I sat down with my insurance agent and was told that its best to photograph everything in the house - including taking clothing out of drawers for photographs.)
 
If your rig is totaled or stolen while traveling out-of-state having documentation available on-line could be handy. 
I don't have documentation for my 400 watts of solar power, super springs, airbags, Rancho 9000's,  tiedowns, SuperHitch, towbar or auxiliary braking system.  Probably over $5,000 worth of undocumented stuff.  But I'm getting the camera out now.
AKA: testdog
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#5
A Smart move Sir - I plan to do the same...Fortunately, we have a policy on both the camper and the truck...
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