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Hi,

I am more of a guest to this forum and was wondering if any of you could be so kind to help inform me about a situation that I'm in.

Early last October (of 2002), I accidentally scraped the front bumper of a new Mercedes. I was not going too fast (it happened while I was turning a sharp corner in a parking structure) and the damage on my own car included a scratch and possibly a small dent. I wish I had more information about the model of the Mercedes Benz but all I remember is that it was a new model (so most likely a model of 2002 or 2003) and it was a small convertible.

The owner of the car did not get back to me until late last month. He told me that the bumper was cracked due to the impact and needed to be replaced. My inquiry is this: considering the reputation of Mercedes Benz cars and/or any knowledge that you may have as an experienced owner, how likely is this? I do not know much about automobiles, but I do know that Mercedes Benz vehicles have an excellent reputation as far as design and exterior body goes. I wonder about this because I am a college student and it would be extremely difficult for me to afford the estimate that he had given me.

Thank you very much for your time and responses!

-- JJ
 

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It sounds like the car is an SLK. The bumper covers on Merecedes are ot any different than any other car. The are a semi flexible plastic. Bumper covers are intended to be a more disposable item than the rest of the car. They are not ridgid so that energy from low speed impacts can be transferred to the energy absorbing bumper structure behind the cover.

It is quite possible that an impact at an angle to the bumper will tear the cover.

Since the owner couldn't be bothered to contact you for over six months, how do you know when, where or how the bumper was split? It sounds like neither of you have any evidence of what the actual damage was at the time of the accident. How do you know he didn't rear end another car and is now trying to collect from you? Or someone else made the same error you did and didn't leave a note? A piece of debris could have been on the highway and he hit or something could have come off a truck. Just today, I saw some metal rain gutter for a house fall off a truck on the Interstate.

If I were you and there were small claims courts in the area, I would tell him I'd see him in court. If not, I would offer to pay something, but no more than half. This is just what I would do. If you need real legal advice, it would be worth the hourly fee to talk to an attorney. I am not an attorney and the above is not legal advice. It is just I would do if I were you.

Good luck.
 

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lynn you're absolutely right. remember the bumper on a mercedes is designed to protect the occupants NOT the car. the materials used is energy absorbing and will buckle, crack etc. a friend of mine in his new s-class bumped a truck in front of him. he felt nothing inside the car but a lot of front end damage was done. this is how the car is designed. Mercedes invented controlled crushability and many other advanced safety features.

when the automotive insurance agency does their 5 mph bumper test, keep in mind that they rate the cars by how much the repair damage cost them in claims not how the bumpers function for safety.

did the car look like this after you hit it?
 

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Personal experience

I was involved in an accident with a Nissan Maxima about 4 months ago. At approximately 15-20 mph. The Nissan was mostly fine, the grill had a crack in it, and I think one of the headlights smashed.

On the other hand, my car looked far worse.

http://m.bacarella.com/car/damage.jpg

The Nissan probably cost under $700 to repair. Mine ran about $4000.

I didn't feel a jolt at all. I don't even remember impacting the shoulder strap.

I can't say the same for the driver in the other car. Her airbag deployed and she was shaken up pretty well. Her face had bruises on it from hitting the airbag, too. Fortunately she was well enough to get out of the car and yell at me for a bit before sitting back down. EMTs concluded that she was fine.

My car absorbed most of the shock of the accident for me, whereas her car apparantly passed the shock into her face.

So, to answer the original poster's question. I believe it.
 
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