Author Topic: How to make a euro bumper more ugly than a US 5 MPH bumper  (Read 3445 times)

116.025

  • Classic
  • **
  • Posts: 145
  • Location: NC, USA
Credits to Micheald for the title idea  ;D







What a great moment that was :-[...I was headed home from the gym, moving into the left turn lane to make a left turn.  All the way from the right lane, this '04 Mitsu Galant comes sweeping over in front of me, cutting me off...I'm thinking, "Ok, thanks, whatever".  We're sitting in line, waiting for the traffic light to change, when I see the reverse lights come on.  I say to myself, "You're kidding..."  I see the rear end jump as she steps on the throttle...I hit the horn...BAM!   :o :-X :'( :-X

She gets out of her car, "Don't be mad! Don't be mad! I didn't see you! I'm sorry!"

Didn't see a FULL-SIZE WHITE Mercedes in her rearview in broad daylight?  :o :o I mean, the rear glass on the Mitsu wasn't all the big, but still...didn't see me?

So in an hour, I get to go talk to an adjuster for pretty much the worst insurance company in the US for handling liability cliams.

Pushed the black cover piece (not sure what that's called) up into the grill, bent the shell, cracked the insert, which makes the hood stiff to open, nearly impossible to shut (which is great considering how much oil it's using), mangled the bumper, scratched a fender...I'm just concered about the metal across the front of the car behind the bumper and the bumper mounts.   :-X :'( :'(
Chad Johnson

'77 280SE Euro (4-Spd) Sold 1/5/09
'71 220D (4-spd)
'77 280SEL Euro (4-Spd) RIP
'89 420SEL
'78 350SE Euro
'86 300E 5-Spd RIP by Chevy S10
'83 380SL
"Don't Worry, Bobby, even a worn out Mercedes is better than a 2010 cracker-jack box

Mforcer

  • Vintage
  • ***
  • Posts: 973
  • Freedom Fighter
  • Location: Sydney, Australia
Re: How to make a euro bumper more ugly than a US 5 MPH bumper
« Reply #1 on: 03 June 2006, 03:19 PM »
Sorry to read that! Hope it is not as bad as it seems! Some people just don't deserve the privilege of owning and driving a car!!
Michael
1977 450SE [Brilliant Red]
2006 B200

oscar

  • W116 Addict
  • ****
  • Posts: 4,043
  • Location: Riverina, NSW, AUSTRALIA
Re: How to make a euro bumper more ugly than a US 5 MPH bumper
« Reply #2 on: 03 June 2006, 06:23 PM »
Ouch!  Damaging your own car's bad enough but to have no control over someone else doing it.... >:(

Well I hope there's a good ending re the insurance company.  Considering you weren't at fault you should demand new (not 2nd hand) bumper, grill etc plus the panel beating and spray job.  They may see the estimate and wish to write it off.  ???  You may end up with another parts car, and dosh to add to the collection. How realistic would this be?
1973 350SE, my first & fave

michaeld

  • Classic
  • **
  • Posts: 433
Re: How to make a euro bumper more ugly than a US 5 MPH bumper
« Reply #3 on: 03 June 2006, 09:58 PM »
116.025,
Man, is that ever a bummer!  I bet you are heartsick over this.

the important thing, of course, is that you get the car back to the condition it was in prior to the accident.  Notify your own insurance company so that you are not completely on your own, and be ready to reject a lowball figure from the woman's insurer.  Was a police report filed?  It is always much better to contact the police (when you are not at fault, anyway!) so that they can make an official determination as to who caused the accident, and how it was caused.

If you have to go to court to get this resolved to your satisfaction, you will want to have figures showing as high a valuation as possible; and the best documentation to show that your 350 is a classic.  Having pictures of the REST of the car - to show the condition - is also helpful.  Write down every detail you can remember about the accident so you don't forget anything (was she talking on her cell phone, etc).

Insurance companies don't let themselves get the worse end of the deal very often; just make sure you don't either!  I would imagine that a good quality used bumper (as good as yours was) installed by a MBz certified body repair facility would be a good outcome.

From the pics that you showed, I seriously doubt that they would total the car.  The only they would is if the frame was damaged, or if a lot more damage than obvious from the pics.

Good luck getting this matter resolved, 116.025.  I'm sorry that your outcome wasn't as happy as my encounter with the concrete post!
Mike


P.S. If for any reason it ever occurs to you to abandon your car, just remember this:
« Last Edit: 04 June 2006, 02:57 AM by michaeld »

116.025

  • Classic
  • **
  • Posts: 145
  • Location: NC, USA
Re: How to make a euro bumper more ugly than a US 5 MPH bumper
« Reply #4 on: 04 June 2006, 02:18 PM »
You may end up with another parts car, and dosh to add to the collection. How realistic would this be?

Quite possibly very realistic, though I'm unsure what dosh is...I'm guessing cash?  Must be one of those things American English didn't pick up... ::)

116.025,
Man, is that ever a bummer!  I bet you are heartsick over this.

I'm not even sure I've settled on just one emotion yet...but yes, heartsick would sum it up.

the important thing, of course, is that you get the car back to the condition it was in prior to the accident.

That, or another Euro 116 with a manual tranny is all I ask...we'll see how it goes...

  Notify your own insurance company so that you are not completely on your own, and be ready to reject a lowball figure from the woman's insurer.  Was a police report filed?  It is always much better to contact the police (when you are not at fault, anyway!) so that they can make an official determination as to who caused the accident, and how it was caused.

Oh yes, rest assured, we waited nearly 45 minutes for the police to show up...the woman was pleasantly honest and admitted that see backed into me and that she didn't see me...I'm still flabberghasted as to how see didn't see me...

If you have to go to court to get this resolved to your satisfaction, you will want to have figures showing as high a valuation as possible; and the best documentation to show that your 350 is a classic.  Having pictures of the REST of the car - to show the condition - is also helpful.  Write down every detail you can remember about the accident so you don't forget anything (was she talking on her cell phone, etc).

Insurance companies don't let themselves get the worse end of the deal very often; just make sure you don't either!  I would imagine that a good quality used bumper (as good as yours was) installed by a MBz certified body repair facility would be a good outcome.

From the pics that you showed, I seriously doubt that they would total the car.  The only they would is if the frame was damaged, or if a lot more damage than obvious from the pics.

Good advice about the court stuff...thanks  :)  I was hoping they wouldn't be totalling it, but it was about the 7th sentence out of his mouth...and it didn't help he didn't know the first thing about the car...he tried to put it in the database..."There's not enough numbers in the VIN"...oh man, it's pre-1981, thier database couldn't handle it...

As far as the condition goes, you should have heard him whining about a small dent in the rear bumper, the (fairly) minor rust on the rear 1/4, and of all things, the rear windshield seal being deteriorated...

I don't think I'll be settling for anything less than my car restored to previous condition with a rental for the time in the shop (and it isn't going to be some ricer they stick me in, either), or I get to keep the car and something like $5000 so I could actually replace the car.

I'm sure the fun will start tomorrow, since he's supposed to start doing research tomorrow and let me know what the deal is...I'm probably going to take it to the local stealership (which he was also claiming as the only place they could get parts  ???) and get them to give me a repair estimate...which  ironically, was what I wanted to do first, but I was told, "No, our people need to see it first to make sure what the dealer says is reasonable".  Too bad "your people" don't know the first thing about a classic Mercedes...
Chad Johnson

'77 280SE Euro (4-Spd) Sold 1/5/09
'71 220D (4-spd)
'77 280SEL Euro (4-Spd) RIP
'89 420SEL
'78 350SE Euro
'86 300E 5-Spd RIP by Chevy S10
'83 380SL
"Don't Worry, Bobby, even a worn out Mercedes is better than a 2010 cracker-jack box

OzBenzHead

  • Vintage
  • ***
  • Posts: 721
  • Location: Northern NSW, Australia
Re: How to make a euro bumper more ugly than a US 5 MPH bumper
« Reply #5 on: 04 June 2006, 06:42 PM »
Hey, Chad - bad news!

Just be sure to take no bullsh1t from the insurance company, cos they're full of it - and then some!

If they try the countersuit tactic, call their bluff.

Some years ago I had a claim against another driver who sideswiped my car (not a Benz). His insurer argued every which way to avoid a payout. I was hoping to get $500-$600 and do the repairs myself (mere bolt-on panel replacements) for about $200. The official repairer's quote was for $1800.

The insurer threatened to countersue me for damage to its client's car (no police had attended the scene of the collision as it was in a remote location); I called their bluff and said "Go ahead, sue me". The next week I had a cheque for $1800.

I repaired the car myself (for a little over $200), then sold it for $1500. Between the sale and the insurance payment, I ended up with about $3100 - for a car I'd paid $1000 for some years earlier.

Most insurers are generally such unscrupulous operators that I'd have no issue of conscience if I had to use devious tactics to succeed with a claim against them.

Best of luck!

116.025

  • Classic
  • **
  • Posts: 145
  • Location: NC, USA
Re: How to make a euro bumper more ugly than a US 5 MPH bumper
« Reply #6 on: 07 June 2006, 06:01 AM »
Hey, Chad - bad news!

Just be sure to take no bullsh1t from the insurance company, cos they're full of it - and then some!

Oh yeah, I've spent the better part of my life whatching a loved one get shafted by an insurance company...I know what they're full of and whose interest they're after...

Most insurers are generally such unscrupulous operators that I'd have no issue of conscience if I had to use devious tactics to succeed with a claim against them.

Best of luck!

Thanks, I'm trying to decide what I'm going to do...

As an update, I go from them telling me on Saturday, "We don't know anything about the car" to yesterday a voicemail for "Mr. Johnson about the total loss claim on the Mercedes"... >:( :o  Plus, they didn't call back when they gave me the impression they would...so I'll call them back today and start "negotiations" for the "total loss"  ::) claim...
Chad Johnson

'77 280SE Euro (4-Spd) Sold 1/5/09
'71 220D (4-spd)
'77 280SEL Euro (4-Spd) RIP
'89 420SEL
'78 350SE Euro
'86 300E 5-Spd RIP by Chevy S10
'83 380SL
"Don't Worry, Bobby, even a worn out Mercedes is better than a 2010 cracker-jack box

oscar

  • W116 Addict
  • ****
  • Posts: 4,043
  • Location: Riverina, NSW, AUSTRALIA
Re: How to make a euro bumper more ugly than a US 5 MPH bumper
« Reply #7 on: 07 June 2006, 07:09 AM »
I thought DOSH was an American term? Anyway, you got my drift and it seems maybe the write off scenario will happen after all.  But like you I'm a bit concerned about "total loss".  "Write off" I suppose anywhere is known as "we'll give you the agreed value of the car and sell the wreck".  But "total loss"??

Going on from what I said before, hopefully they'll pay you the agreed value for replacement and you buy the car back for peanuts.

Davestloius, this is your field isn't it?  Hopefully, Dave's watching and can offer his thoughts.  Hope he's not the assessor  though :o. he may want your car.

Good Luck with the negotiations. Take no prisoners   >:(
1973 350SE, my first & fave

116.025

  • Classic
  • **
  • Posts: 145
  • Location: NC, USA
Re: How to make a euro bumper more ugly than a US 5 MPH bumper
« Reply #8 on: 07 June 2006, 12:03 PM »
I thought DOSH was an American term? Anyway, you got my drift and it seems maybe the write off scenario will happen after all.  But like you I'm a bit concerned about "total loss".  "Write off" I suppose anywhere is known as "we'll give you the agreed value of the car and sell the wreck".  But "total loss"??

I think "total loss" and "Write off" would be equivalent, because I have the option to keep the car.  Dosh could easily be an American term, I'm not always up to snuff on slang, or it could be slang in a different part of the country...

Good Luck with the negotiations. Take no prisoners   >:(

Does telling them their offer is ridiculous count?  ;D  So I finally got in touch with them...they take the car for $1806?!!  >:( >:( :o >:( >:(  Um...NO!
« Last Edit: 07 June 2006, 12:12 PM by 116.025 »
Chad Johnson

'77 280SE Euro (4-Spd) Sold 1/5/09
'71 220D (4-spd)
'77 280SEL Euro (4-Spd) RIP
'89 420SEL
'78 350SE Euro
'86 300E 5-Spd RIP by Chevy S10
'83 380SL
"Don't Worry, Bobby, even a worn out Mercedes is better than a 2010 cracker-jack box

OzBenzHead

  • Vintage
  • ***
  • Posts: 721
  • Location: Northern NSW, Australia
Re: How to make a euro bumper more ugly than a US 5 MPH bumper
« Reply #9 on: 07 June 2006, 04:01 PM »
Does telling them their offer is ridiculous count?  ;D  So I finally got in touch with them...they take the car for $1806?!!  >:( >:( :o >:( >:(  Um...NO!

 For that money, I'd be telling them to "sit on it and twist"!

michaeld

  • Classic
  • **
  • Posts: 433
Re: How to make a euro bumper more ugly than a US 5 MPH bumper
« Reply #10 on: 07 June 2006, 10:18 PM »
Some insurance companies are better than others, but none of them are genuinely scrupulous.  There are a lot of people finding out how many hoops insurers can put one through following Katrina.  I sure hope this year's season is kind to last year's victims!

It sounds like you aint the type who backs down, and that's a good thing.  Some of their common early tactics are to lowball, bluff, and delay.  You just have to be aware that that is the way they do business (well, rat-business), and determine in your gut that they will not win.  Sometimes people who aren't bluffed get worn down by the smokescreens and delays.  If you are truly willing to take them to court - and let them know that in no uncertain terms - it is often an impetus for them to give you "better service."

If you see them delaying, quit using your phone and start writing letters that you send certified.  The usual legal threshold calls for a response within 30 days.  You can't prove you made a phone call the way you can prove you can prove you sent x document on y date.  Keep a record of everything: if you go to court, you want to have everything that has occurred documented.  The fact that the woman admitted fault to the police (especially if that is documented on the accident report) means they probably don't really want to see you in court.

I myself would initially try to negotiate for having my car repaired to at least the pre-accident standard, rather than accept an offer to total the car.  If you jump at their offer to total you may lose bargaining clout later on.  Be consistent: you want your car repaired.  They may zig, zag, or other; but you just want your car repaired.

Before you DO accept a total offer, make certain you get to keep the car, and check with your state DMV as to how an insurance company's total would affect your registration (i.e. a salvage title).
Mike

116.025

  • Classic
  • **
  • Posts: 145
  • Location: NC, USA
Re: How to make a euro bumper more ugly than a US 5 MPH bumper
« Reply #11 on: 09 June 2006, 12:42 PM »
I myself would initially try to negotiate for having my car repaired to at least the pre-accident standard, rather than accept an offer to total the car.  If you jump at their offer to total you may lose bargaining clout later on.  Be consistent: you want your car repaired.  They may zig, zag, or other; but you just want your car repaired.

Before you DO accept a total offer, make certain you get to keep the car, and check with your state DMV as to how an insurance company's total would affect your registration (i.e. a salvage title).
Mike

They're also claiming that the car has $1767.64 in "prior damage", which seems a little sketchy to me.  And I wasn't quite as opposed to the car being totalled until I found out that the means a salvage title for me to keep the car...a salvage title for a bumper bash and an ever so slight hood warp or misalignment?!?  And maybe damage behind the bumper, I don't know yet...but still you've GOT to be kidding...I'm going to call them today and insist it's worth $7300 minus the prior damage and tell them to fix it or write me a check to fix it.

Any suggestions for proving in court it's a classic?  I've got a folder full of documentation covering the import in '83, the A/C fitment, and some service as well, I think...seems like a place to start, but I'm open to any/all ideas, since lawyers won't talk to me for a property damage only case...
« Last Edit: 09 June 2006, 12:45 PM by 116.025 »
Chad Johnson

'77 280SE Euro (4-Spd) Sold 1/5/09
'71 220D (4-spd)
'77 280SEL Euro (4-Spd) RIP
'89 420SEL
'78 350SE Euro
'86 300E 5-Spd RIP by Chevy S10
'83 380SL
"Don't Worry, Bobby, even a worn out Mercedes is better than a 2010 cracker-jack box

michaeld

  • Classic
  • **
  • Posts: 433
Re: How to make a euro bumper more ugly than a US 5 MPH bumper
« Reply #12 on: 09 June 2006, 01:29 PM »
116.025,
Ah, you have encountered another insurance company tactic which I forgot to mention: changing the subject.  Rather than deal with the issue of the damage their insured did, they want to focus on some other part of your car!

I thought you might end up with a salvage title if they "totaled" it; it's what happens in California.  The salvage title ends up being an issue because: 1) you then have to pass an inspection to determine if the car is road worthy (and given the way bureaucracies make arbitrary rulings, that's never a place you want to be); and 2) it substantially lowers your resale value.

I would ask them to substantiate their claim of $1767 in diminished value (presumably from your rear bumper issue you described?).  They will have to show what body/mechanical issues they are referring to, which would give you the opportunity to get an estimate lower than their figures and prove that their $1767 figure is NOT corrrect; if you can show their $1767 is asanine, it would be a point in your favor proving (in court, if necessary) that they are deliberately lowballing you.  Most judges have a bull puckey  meter, and will quickly see who is trying to screw who.

If you start off by seeking a "total" payout for the car, judges might well be inclined to view you as gaming the system.  If you demand that your car be repaired, you avoid that potential bias.  I agree: it is rather crazy to total your car over a fender bender; you can be sure that the only reason the insurance company is seeking that avenue is because they feel they will be able to lowball you and financially benefit; DON'T LET THEM.  Your car is worth more than the bumper on your car!!!  That's why I said you should push them to repair your car.  If you have pre-accident pics, that's a good thing.

As for proving your car is a classic (is it the 77 280SE?), that's somewhat slippery ground, of course.  Google "classic car" (quotes included) and see how classic car sites define a classic car (obviously, you are looking for definitions that would include your car).  By and large, the term applies to cars that are older than 25-30 years.  If you bring all your maintenance records, you can also try to show that yours isn't just an old beater, but something you care about.

Another thing you might want to start doing is finding out how much your car is selling for.  DON'T rely on ebay, because you will end up with a LOW figure (ebay cars sell far more quickly, but for far less money; the inability to do inspections or often even see the car prior to bidding reduces bid prices).  Is your $7300 figure based on NADA or Kelly Blu Book figures?  Obviously, you want to look at ALL the valuation guides, plus have a good feel of what your car is selling for.  By and large, most cars do NOT sell for the various Blu-book-type figures.

This is a situation where the more documentation/evidence you can amass arguing YOUR claims and countering THEIR claims, the better.  Be an avid researcher.

Having said this, I would like to bring up the topic as to which bumper does the better job of crash protection: the Euro or the 5 mph bumper?  I don't know if my car would have emerged hunky-dory from your fender bender; but I was sure happy with my 5 mph bumpers after smacking that concrete pole!
« Last Edit: 09 June 2006, 11:38 PM by michaeld »

116.025

  • Classic
  • **
  • Posts: 145
  • Location: NC, USA
Re: How to make a euro bumper more ugly than a US 5 MPH bumper
« Reply #13 on: 20 June 2006, 06:20 PM »
The absence of prisoner-taking continues...

*** ***** St. * Clayton, NC 27520

June 16, 2006

********** Mutual Insurance Company
***** ******
**** ******* Drive
Suite C
Goldsboro, NC 27534

**********'s Insured: *******************
********** Claim Number: ***********************
Date of Loss: 06-01-2006

Dear Madam:

Enclosed are advertisements for vehicles comparable to the 1977 Mercedes-Benz 280SE (VIN: 11602410080108) that was damaged when **********'s Insured backed up and collided with it.

I must further insist that since ********** Mutual Insurance Company is fully liable for damage to said vehicle, that they must also repair it and provide a rental car while the damaged vehicle is being repaired.  The damage disclosure definitions provided with form MVR-181 state that "Fair market retail values shall be found in the NADA Pricing Guide Book or other publications approved by the commissioner."  The NADA pricing guide states that a 1977 Mercedes-Benz 280SE is valued at $7,300 in pristine condition.  ********** Mutual Insurance Company has estimated that the car is worth $1.764.64 less than it would be in pristine condition.  By **********'s own estimation, this leaves a fair market price for the 1977 Mercedes-Benz 280SE (VIN: 11602410080108) damaged by their insured of $5,535.36.  Nationwide has estimated that they can repair the damaged vehicle for considerably less than 75% of the vehicle's fair market value, and there is therefore no reason for the owner of the vehicle to suffer the further loss of a "Salvage" Title being imposed on the damaged vehicle.

Regarding the fact that the vehicle is a "grey market" import, I have in my possession a letter from the US Treasury dated April 17, 1984 stating that the vehicle now complies with US EPA and DOT standards.  Therefore the vehicle should not be valued any lower because it was imported as "grey market".  I am also in possession of many of the service records for this vehicle, which makes a vehicle such as this more valuable on the market.  Also worthy of note when considering the fair market price of a 1977 Mercedes-Benz 280SE is that the Mercedes-Benz M110 engine used in these cars features Hemispherical firing chambers, making it a more desirable engine, since it features high technology of the time.

Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.  If you have any questions or concerns regarding this matter, please call me.

Sincerely,

Chad Johnson
(919) ***-****

Names *'ed to protect the guilty...They should have received the letter on Monday...if I don't hear from them in a day or two, I will give them a phone call and start rattling some cages.

The ads I included featured a '78 280SE for $12,500, a '77 280SE for $7,500 and a '76 280S for $14,500.  They can eat their hearts out...
« Last Edit: 20 June 2006, 06:31 PM by 116.025 »
Chad Johnson

'77 280SE Euro (4-Spd) Sold 1/5/09
'71 220D (4-spd)
'77 280SEL Euro (4-Spd) RIP
'89 420SEL
'78 350SE Euro
'86 300E 5-Spd RIP by Chevy S10
'83 380SL
"Don't Worry, Bobby, even a worn out Mercedes is better than a 2010 cracker-jack box