“Fellow PoPville readers, what are my options here?”

car damage

“Dear PoPville,

I’m writing to see if other PoPville readers have dealt with a similar situation, and if so, what they recommend doing.

There’s been a lot of construction on North Cap and Seaton Pl NW, and it’s caused us Bloomingdale residents many different, varied types of bs. Today, I got into my car around 9:30 to go to work and thought it odd that a semi (yes, a giant truck) was face first up against my car especially because I was parked on the right side of the road. There were three construction workers in the semi, and another was outside trying to help me navigate out of a tight spot (of their creation). I didn’t think much of it until I got back into my car while leaving work, and noticed deep scratches on the hood of my car that could have only been left by the underside of a giant truck– not by the bumper of an SUV for instance. I took a few photos as soon as I noticed the scratches.

Fellow PoPville readers, what are my options here? My roommates suggest that I call the construction company, which I will do tomorrow. What has and hasn’t worked for those of you in a similar situation?”

38 Comment

  • I’d get the ANC rep on it.

  • Call your insurance company, or don’t. But don’t bother calling the construction company, because they’re not going to take the blame.

    It would be one thing if you saw it happen, but then, you wouldn’t be in this predicament.

    • Try calling the construction company and offer a reasonable explanation of what happened. The owner or managers might have a candid conversation with their workers from that morning, and if one of them admits they may have hit something, maybe they’ll help you out. Not all construction companies are shady and looking to avoid liability

    • Yes, call your insurance company and let them fight this for you. That’s what you pay them premiums for.

  • Yikes. (No advice to offer.)

  • Why are you waiting to call the construction company? Why haven’t you called them already? Is it because you have no evidence they caused the damage?

    I hope you get it sorted out one way or the other. B’dale has been a heck hole of construction for far too long. DC Water was supposed to be done Dec 2015…but now it is more like Labor Day 2016…

  • Sigh. I was recently in a similar situation. My insurance told me that I could report it and get it fixed and it would be treated as if an uninsured motorist hit my car. I would still have to pay my deductible. They said that they would investigate and attempt to go after who ever hit my car if there was surveillance video of the accident, but that it was highly unlikely that would happen (in the case they found someone else responsible, they would go after them for the damages and refund my deductible). I chose not to pursue a claim since it was not worth paying a deductible to me.
    I would look for proof before pursuing a claim, either with the insurance company or the construction company. Good Luck!

  • Call it in to the police within 24 hours – you’ll need that for insurance.

  • If the construction company isn’t willing to take responsibility, you could probably call this a hit-and-run and report it. You could probably file an insurance claim using the resulting police report if you want, but this doesn’t seem like something worth reporting to insurance, so you’d just be creating a lot of paperwork for yourself. Maybe you can deduct the cost of repairs on your taxes as a theft/fraud cost? I dunno.
    .
    I guess I’m just saying you’re basically SOL. If something like this bothers you this much, you should consider paying for an off-street space.

    • “If something like this bothers you this much, you should consider paying for an off-street space.” Most people expect scratches _on their front and back bumpers_ when they street-park in D.C. Not on the hood of their car.
      .
      This seems outside the realm of ordinary damage one would anticipate from street parking.

      • Probably so, but this is still minor damage. My guess is the cost of fixing it is equivalent to one or two months off-street parking cost for Bloomingdale, so if something like this happens once a year, and your parking costs at home are limited to the $35 street parking permit, you’re coming up in the green.
        .
        This isn’t a legal argument, obviously; just sorta me not being all that appalled or overwhelmingly sympathetic.

      • west_egg

        I agree completely. This is beyond normal wear & tear.

    • Yea, some of us who park on the street actually care about our cars.

      • I believe that if you care about your cars, you should pay for off-street parking. Maybe even covered parking. Incidents like this prove that, without some likely absurd and problematically aggressive policing efforts, there will be costs associated with the savings of parking on the street. So my belief is vindicated, and your (likely) response that we should pursue said absurd and problematically aggressive policing policies are, well, absurd. So your beef is with the world writ large, not with me.

        • I’m pretty fanatical about taking care of my car, and I can’t afford off-street parking. I acknowledge that something could happen like minor bumps and bruises (my car is going on ten years old anyways) but it doesn’t mean that I still want to make sure things (like what happened to the OP) don’t happen to my car.

    • I second the hit and run designation. I park in a garage at work and one day I came back to see the entire driver’s side of my new car scraped up. Of course no note. I filed a police report, reported it to my insurance company, and within a week it was fixed. My deductible at the time was $1000, but for hit and runs it was $200, so a $1200 repair only cost me $200 out of pocket. And my insurance rate did not go up.

  • Call the construction company, if they are local go down there in person to argue your case. Don’t involve your insurance for something so small as your rates will go up due to a claim. Not worth it in the long run. Worst case scenario drive out to an autobody/dent place and offer to pay them a few hundred dollars in cash.

    • Insurance rates generally do not go up due to something like this. It’s considered a non-chargeable accident, filed under (as someone noted above) uninsured motorist.

  • Touch up paint, made by the manufacturer of my car, in the exact shade, works well for me. Necessary for city living. Not that I might not try to get the construction company to cover a repair – but I wouldn’t hold out much hope. But then I’m one who lives with a variety of bumper scratches and bumper dents on my car (some of my own making) rather than pay good money to fix what’s only going to happen again. A city car is going to look different from a suburban, garaged car.

    • Bumper, sure. Hood, no. They only way you get a scratch like that is if a large truck essentially parked on top of your car. That’s not normal city living.

      • The hood of my car has various dents and dings. I don’t exactly know why. Might be tree branches/debris falling. Might be kids playing with balls or something that landed on it. I don’t know or care.
        .
        No, I’ve never had damage like what OP’s showing. But also, that’s a fresh scratch that’s prob not gonna be that bad once wiped down.

      • +1. Yeah, those are some mighty scratches in that picture up there.

    • There are some parts of the city where you can largely avoid getting hit on the street. I’ve parked my car on the street for a year and it’s no worse for wear.

      • Those parts of the city are not called Bloomingdale. With very narrow streets, lots of construction, high density, and an abundance of young ruffians who like to vandalize things for fun, Bloomingdale may be one of the worst places in the city to park on the street.

  • Same thing happen to me, found a bump on the front of my hood of what it seemed to be a person with a rear tire that bumped into me (since there was no paint scratches). Check if there are any cameras around of where your car was that may have caught the accident. If there is no evidence for you to prove it there not much you can do.
    I suggest not to call your insurance for this as your deductible is probably higher than the repair and it will also increase your premium.
    I have noticed A LOT of bug trucks that come to supply Red Hen very often, these guys most likely have and will keep on bumping into cars around without ever leave a note or something.

    • I’ve had the exact same thing happen to me. The offending car was still wedged in a minuscule spot right in front of my car, so I called the police to get them to take a look/write a report. When I called insurance later to tell them about what happened, they sent a guy over to look at the damage. There wasn’t a discernible bump, and he simply smudged the new paint off my car with his hand. I’m not sure if this left a bump on your hood, but I’d advise trying to wipe the paint off with a bit of elbow grease – worked for me and saved me from further hassle.

  • If this is street construction try approaching it in this order: Contractor, DDOT Project manager, Mayor’s Office.

  • This sucks. See if any of the houses near where the car was parked have cameras. So many people have cameras, it is worth a shot to see.

  • Hey neighbour,

    That sounds sucky… and duplicitous.

    A few ideas: 1) send a note around to the Bloomingdale listserv. Friendly and similarly outraged neighbours will help. 2) Definitely get in touch with your ANC rep, who (I think) is Teri Janine Quinn – she’s absolutely fantastic and will help you figure this out. 3) Consider coming along to the Bloomingdale Civic Association meeting and raising this, especially if there are consistent issues. They’ll call whoever is responsible before the association and force them to be held accountable to the neighborhood.

    Good luck.

  • Get the name of the company and tags of the truck. Send it to your insurance. End of story.

  • houseintherear

    I don’t have advice but I do have sympathy. Boy is this s**t getting old. We have workers throwing cigarette butts all over the neighborhood, harassing women, no street sweeping for going on two years, and ongoing noise that makes me want to throw a grenade over their stupid fences into the pits of crap. So I say fight it as much as you can because these Skanska jerks are getting away with murder in Bloomingdale right now. They backed a truck into my neighbor’s carriage house window and broke it and the security screen last year and never had to pay a cent; and since starting construction and using our alley street as a driveway for their construction vehicles, each one of us who lives back there has had AT LEAST two flat tires from the nails they have left all over the place. Again, they never paid a cent. I hope you decide to fight this to the best of your ability and use your neighbors as help/backup during the process.

  • For the OPs situation, I’d let your insurance company deal with the construction company. The have more incentive to get the contraction company to pay for the damage and its the reason you have insurance. Parking in the city is like bumper cars and they deal with this all the time. Anyone who is telling you to do anything besides contact your insurance company is ill advised.

    I recently bought a second car for my house and was about to get a brand new Cadillac ATS but realized how terrible an idea that was with having street parking at home and garage parking during the day. Instead, I bought a mint condition 2000 for Ford Focus with low miles, knowing full well it was going to get beat. Low and behold, within three weeks, someone had put a giant dent with paint on the rear bumper. It sucked but it also validated my decision toy but a beater city car.

  • If you see the truck again look under the bumper to see if there is any blue paint like your car. Take pictures, then call the police. Nobody hits a car that hard and doesn’t notice it

  • I have a small car and one day noticed that I have a round dent in my hood that could have only been left by one of the 3 larger pickup truck that parks on my block. it is a big enough dent that the person who did it would have known that they hit my car hard, but they did not bother to leave a note or insurance information. Since I do not know who did it and did not witness it myself, I am basically screwed. It is an older car that I have kept in very good condition, but it is not really worth it for me to report to my insurance company and risk having my rates go up because some a$$hat was too much of a tool to leave a note.

    You have a better chance to get reimbursement for your situation though, because you have the construction company’s info. That type of stuff happens fairly regularly and companies that own trucks like that are pretty understanding. Try giving them a call and explain what happened and I am sure they will take care of you.

  • This is what insurance company lawyers are for.

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