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Scenario: You're travelling on the highway with stop and go traffic. As a driver (Car A) you are distracted (starting at the sky, changing the radio, on your cellphone, whatever). Suddenly traffic in-front of you comes to a stop and you gently rear end the car in-front of you (Car B). The car behind you (Car C) does not stop in time either and rear ends you. All drivers emerge from their cars and communicate. Car B makes it clear that Car A was at fault for hitting him. Due to a language barrier communication with Car C is not very clear. There is no damage to any of the cars and no insurance claims are filed.

Aftermath: 2 months later you go to change insurance companies and they bring up that you were at fault in this accident. You were reported at fault by Car C who in fact rear ended you (no claim was made, only at fault accident reported).

Question: Are you at fault for the fact that Car C read ended you? Can this accident which is now appearing on your insurance be disputed as Car B did not report anything? Essentially I'm just wondering what the odds are that this can removed from Car A's record.

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Are you at fault for the fact that Car C read ended you?

Close call. A jury could go either way.

Can this accident which is now appearing on your insurance be disputed as Car A did not report anything? Essentially I'm just wondering what the odds are that this can removed from Car A's record.

I think that it is unlikely that the situation you suggest would happen, even though anything is possible. Usually there needs to be a claim of actual damage for an insurance company to treat it as an accident. The usual rule is "no harm, no foul" (unless someone is cited for a traffic violation).

Insurance company accident records are not regulated to the same extent as say, credit reports. You could threaten to sue the company for negligent misrepresentation, or the driver of Car C for defamation, in order to try to get this statement removed, but those would be hard cases to win since you are at least arguably at fault and fault is to some extent a matter of opinion. It would be much easier to win a suit like that if the accident didn't happen at all. Here, it would be undisputed that an accident happened at a particular time and place involving certain cars and drivers, and the dispute is only over who was at fault.

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    @BelginFish That crosses the line into legal advice. If this happened, it is up to them to decide. – ohwilleke Mar 6 at 2:58
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    The driver of Car A may indeed be at fault in the collision between them and Car B, but in most jurisdictions they would not be at fault for the subsequent collision between Car A and Car C as it's Car Cs responsibility to maintain their own attention and a suitable stopping distance. Car C is at fault for the collision between Car A and Car C if the collision occurred in the same lane. This is worth fighting. – user4210 Mar 6 at 2:58
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    @ohwilleke I did my time as a loss adjuster for an insurance broker (and went on to do software development in the insurance industry). In the above scenario, Car C should have maintained a stopping distance suitable to avoid any collision. They didn't. – user4210 Mar 6 at 3:02
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    @BelginFish yes, the entire scenario would need to be detailed, so you can establish the reason you were stationary in the lane (as some reasons could open you up to negligent liability or criminal liability), but it's better to have a no cost at-fault on your record than a cost at-fault in my experience (in my jurisdiction). It's also worth noting that even though you haven't notified your insurer of the first incident, the other party can still do so for some time after the incident anyway, so it's always better to record these things and have it officially noted as a zero cost claim. – user4210 Mar 6 at 3:10
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    @BelginFish one example from my experience was a claim against a party for an accident that happened a few years prior to the claim - the original damage was some scratches to the bumper, which the insured paid for in cash and didn't notify their insurer about the accident at all. A few years later, the other party lodged a claim for a new radiator and won the claim, it couldn't be contested as the evidence for a minor collision was never put on file due to the insured never lodging the claim. A zero cost claim would have avoided the later cost claim. – user4210 Mar 6 at 3:14

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