Woman in fender bender has advice on how to avoid trouble she faces

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DENVER -- It has probably happened to many of us. We get into a minor fender bender, and we exchange insurance and driver information with the other person — without immediately calling police.

But you might want to think twice about doing that when you hear what happened to a Westminster woman.

It was a cold rainy day Oct. 21 at a Westminster intersection. Sherry Sun had stopped at the traffic light 80th Avenue and Raleigh Street.

"I just saw this car behind me and it just went ‘thunk,’ literally hit me in the rear bumper," she said.

It caused $1,600 damage. But since no one was hurt -- and the woman was in a hurry -- Sun just exchanged information with her. She knows now, they should have called and waited for police.

"We went our separate ways. Fast forward almost two weeks now, no one can find her,” Sun said.

The other driver's insurance, Dairyland Auto, told Sun it has to get a statement from its client before moving forward with a claim. But Sun says she found the woman and her sister, the co-insurer, online with no problem.

"They are alive and well. They updated their profile and profile photo. Everybody is happy. But according to Dairyland, they can't get a hold of any of them," she said.

FOX31 Denver Problem Solvers reached out to Dairyland for answers. It said it would get back to us.

"They're not dodging the bullet, they’re still financially responsible," said insurance expert Carole Walker, with the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association.

Walker said drivers who avoid their insurance companies aren't getting away with anything. She said the insured have a duty contractually to cooperate with their insurance company and if they don’t, their problems could mount.

 "Rather than go through the claims process, settling the claim, they now face their assets at risk. They face legal action. And they even face their insurance company not representing them (in potential litigation)," Walker said.

Sun will pay a $500 deductible so her insurance will foot the bumper bill. It's an aggravating lesson learned.

"Call your insurance right then right there. Call the cops," she said.

Walker said Sun’s insurance company will then go after Dairyland for repayment — and leave Sun out of it.

It is the law to call police for any car accident, no matter how minor. The exception is if it's on private property or during weather accident alerts.

If police can't make it, then use your cellphone to take pictures of the driver's license, insurance policy, license plates, VIN and damage to both cars. Also, get any witness information that you can.