Just for the fun of it, here's how it works in Norway:
I got rear-ended in my Ford Escort pickup (*noting* like an US Ford...)
Anyway, i had nearly finished the turn, to get off the main road to work, when
a Chevy truck came .....
He hit me in the right rear corner, which made my small pickup make a 90 degree
He smashed the rear right corner, tailight and chrushed the right part of the tailgate.
What did we do ??
In Norway, every car *has* to have a paperwork, which is a sort of "damage" report. *both* parties writes stuff like name, address, car identity, insurance company etc.
Then, there are an area where you can draw a simple sketch of what happened.
Also there are tick-off boxes for the most common accidents, like "hitting other car from behind", "slide of road".
The important thing for me, was to make sure that the other guy ticked of the "hitting other car from behind" box. He did.
The paper is in two parts, (one beeing an exact duplicate of the other, it uses "tru-print" (??))
Each driver gets a copy, which are to be signed by both parties.
Then, i sent my part (with my additional version of the incident), to my insurance company. The other guy did the same.
Also, every insurance company has a telphone #, which you are using to report the accident as soon as possible.
About a week later, i got a letter from my insurance company, where they aknowledge the incident, and they agreed with me, that the other insurance company should be resposible for the damage.
About a week later, i got a call from a very helpful person in the other insurance company, stating that they aknowledged the resposibility, and adviced me how to get the damage fixed.
On his advice i got an estimate of the cost to fix the damage, and got two choices: Get the car fixed or get about 2/3 of the cost in hard cash. I choosed the second option, because i can fix the damage myself. Only thing i will need to buy, is a "new" (from a wrecking yard) taillight.
Oh yes, the damage was estimated to about $ 2000, and i got $ 1400 in hard cash.
Whole thing was handled in about 3 weeks.
End of story.
PerJ (From Norway)
Using self-discipline, see http://www.eiffel.com/discipline