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Old 08-30-2007, 05:59 PM   #1
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Our Loss

My husband and I were the proud owners of a 2005 25’ international CCD for 22 months before a devastating accident occurred while moving from California to Louisiana. The tow vehicle was a 2003 GMC Sierra 1/5 ton.

On July 1st, about 100 miles west of the Grand Canyon on highway 40, the trailer began to sway and fishtail when passing a semi/tractor trailer on a downhill. As the swaying and serving became more intense, I began to realize that we were beyond the point of saving. I think in an attempt to not involve other vehicles around us, our truck swerved one last time before making a nearly perpendicular hit to the guardrail on the right side of the road. The driver tried to accelerate and did not hit the brakes. I was the passenger and have thought many times over that I should have reached over and pulled the manual trailer brake. (my husband was not driving).

Traveling nearly 60-65 mph, we rolled some 7-8 times down a steep
embankment (approx. 150-200 ft), stopping upside down some 50 feet shy
of a small river. Our dog was ejected sometime, I’m guessing, during the first rollover. With fuel dripping on us, all windows shattered, and only a small driver's side window opening, we escaped. I later learned that the roof on the passenger's side where I was sitting, was approximately 8-12 inches above the seat bottom.

I’m happy to say everyone survived. It really is a miracle. But I must add that seatbelts DO save lives. I would NOT be here today if I had not had mine on (and a few angels around).

Thanks to this forum, I’ve learned that the passing of the tractor trailer/semi could have played a part.
However, it has been 8 weeks since the accident and I’m still waiting for the settlement with the insurance (State Farm, Southern California), apparently "the check is in the mail." I received a letter from them stating that their investigation determined the driver was at fault. My question is (although I have many): what is the purpose of the insurance’s determination of “fault” (this was a one car accident and they've agreed to pay)? Does this play a role in whether or not they drop us or our premiums increase? If so, should I fight to clarify that a fault is difficult to determine in this case? We were well within speed limit and had done nothing wrong to instigate the accident.
Any advice on whether or not I should fight this issue would be helpful!
Pictures are attached.
Joy
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Old 08-30-2007, 06:06 PM   #2
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One photo didn't attach....shows were the truck and trailer landed down the steep embankment...may have to zoom into to see the truck in the distance
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Old 08-30-2007, 06:09 PM   #3
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Thank goodness everyone is OK. It is a sobering post- as my wife heads out to montana in the morning.
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Old 08-30-2007, 06:22 PM   #4
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From your pictures, your story is amazing. It is a sobering post. I don't know much about insurance, but it sounds like they may be going after your driver or the driver's policy for the claim.

Glad you were able to share this with all of us.

Kristine
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Old 08-30-2007, 06:24 PM   #5
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What a bummer

Am very sorry to hear about your accident. Thanks for sharing the particulars as it can be a learning experience for others to hear what has unfortunately happened to you. Did you have a sway control bar? We are quite new at trailering so your photos are quite sobering....hope your dog is okay.....and both your truck and trailer can be replaced.....please keep us posted on the outcome with your insurance company as we have no experience with trailering insurance claims....thanks again for sharing, paula
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Old 08-30-2007, 06:26 PM   #6
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What a devastating accident. You must be both sick to your stomach and filled with joy to be alive when you look at the photos! I'm almost afraid to ask, but when you say "everyone survived", do you mean your dog as well? I hope so. And I hope the insurance issues resolve quickly!!
Frankie
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Old 08-30-2007, 06:28 PM   #7
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OMG!

You are sooo blessed to have survived this! It makes me sick to look at the photos...I am so happy you came out alive ~

Hopefully, nobody here has to ever witness that in person...thanks for the pictures. Hope you work out the insurance settlement...although, that seems insignificant considering what you have must have gone through the last couple of weeks!

Shari
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Old 08-30-2007, 06:30 PM   #8
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So glad you are here to provide a report and everyone is ok, it makes everyone think. I would not accept the finding of fault have a lawyer respond and get it on record. BTW get the check first.

I notice a trend here, isn't this about the 3rd or 4th time this type of sway has been reported happening to an Airstream Going down hill? I am getting very worried.

Which hitch system was in use at the time?
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Old 08-30-2007, 06:37 PM   #9
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WOW!

That's the most devastating accident I've ever heard about involvong an Airstream.

John
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Old 08-30-2007, 06:41 PM   #10
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Rivet Wow!

Iíll admit, I had to go do other things for a while and digest the photos. You certainly were very lucky and unlucky. Thank goodness the good luck is that you are all right. Best of luck.

Vaughan
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Old 08-30-2007, 06:44 PM   #11
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Good Grief!

At least everyone is okay. I do have a question that may shed light on the delay in getting your check. Was the driver a named insured on your policy?
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Old 08-30-2007, 06:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Clark
I notice a trend here, isn't this about the 3rd or 4th time this type of sway has been reported happening to an Airstream Going down hill? I am getting very worried.
Jim,

Normally one of the times when you are most at risk for sway is when you are going down hill. Add to this you are dealing with trying to pass a semi, all of which are ingredients to induce or enhance sway conditions. This is not an Airstream issue, since it can happen with any travel trailer. As a matter of fact an Airstream is probably a little more tolerant of these conditions.

I have a couple of rules I go by. I don't pass going down hill, I try to keep semi's from passing me when going down hill, and finally I take special care when coming from wind shielded areas into open areas where wind gusts might be present.

I learned this pretty much from the school of hard knocks. While I never lost control of a trailer, I've been through some scary situations in each count of the situations above.

Jack
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Old 08-30-2007, 07:00 PM   #13
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Oh, no! I am SO sorry. Thankfully you are okay!!!!! Trucks and trailers can be replaced, while people and pets are precious cargo.

I am sorry you are having problems with the insurance. The driver's primary insurance company should be the one paying. If the insurance on your tow vehicle and trailer is a different insurance, it should fill the gap if one is left. It is possible they can find fault but I would fight it.

Good luck and I hope it is resolved soon!

Susan
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Old 08-30-2007, 07:12 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gardenofjoy
My husband and I were the proud owners of a 2005 25í international CCD for 22 months before a devastating accident occurred while moving from California to Louisiana. The tow vehicle was a 2003 GMC Sierra 1/5 ton.

On July 1st, about 100 miles west of the Grand Canyon on highway 40, the trailer began to sway and fishtail when passing a semi/tractor trailer on a downhill. As the swaying and serving became more intense, I began to realize that we were beyond the point of saving. I think in an attempt to not involve other vehicles around us, our truck swerved one last time before making a nearly perpendicular hit to the guardrail on the right side of the road. The driver tried to accelerate and did not hit the brakes. I was the passenger and have thought many times over that I should have reached over and pulled the manual trailer brake. (my husband was not driving).

Traveling nearly 60-65 mph, we rolled some 7-8 times down a steep
embankment (approx. 150-200 ft), stopping upside down some 50 feet shy
of a small river. Our dog was ejected sometime, Iím guessing, during the first rollover. With fuel dripping on us, all windows shattered, and only a small driver's side window opening, we escaped. I later learned that the roof on the passenger's side where I was sitting, was approximately 8-12 inches above the seat bottom.

Iím happy to say everyone survived. It really is a miracle. But I must add that seatbelts DO save lives. I would NOT be here today if I had not had mine on (and a few angels around).

Thanks to this forum, Iíve learned that the passing of the tractor trailer/semi could have played a part.
However, it has been 8 weeks since the accident and Iím still waiting for the settlement with the insurance (State Farm, Southern California), apparently "the check is in the mail." I received a letter from them stating that their investigation determined the driver was at fault. My question is (although I have many): what is the purpose of the insuranceís determination of ďfaultĒ (this was a one car accident and they've agreed to pay)? Does this play a role in whether or not they drop us or our premiums increase? If so, should I fight to clarify that a fault is difficult to determine in this case? We were well within speed limit and had done nothing wrong to instigate the accident.
Any advice on whether or not I should fight this issue would be helpful!
Pictures are attached.
Joy
Same question comes to mind? Did you have a sway control hitch? If so which brand?
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