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O/T Need some back room legal advice.

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by Shooting Jack, Jul 12, 2012.

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  1. Shooting Jack

    Shooting Jack Active Member

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    My wife was backing out of a parking place and bumped a car. Owner told her not to call the police as it would buff out and would cost less than $100.00. No police report was made and my wife agreed to pay up to $100.00 for them to have it buffed out. They called today with an estimate of $635.00. I believe in doing right and told my wife she should have called the police regardless. She said he didn't act like he was drinking but who knows. At any rate I was wondering what you would do, as I said I do want to do the right thing but I don't like the sounds of this. With no accident report do I have any legal responsibilty. He is the one who recommended this, not my wife. Jackie B.
     
  2. Rick Barker

    Rick Barker Well-Known Member

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    It is not too late to file a counter report.

    In some States the State Patrol wants a report if there is damaged property even on private property
    property, regardless of the amount of damage.

    Go down to the local station, file a counter report and find out the extent of your (wife's) obligation, beyond that.

    As costly as it is to repair cars these days there is no such thing as minor damage, even with what looks like minor scratches.

    My goofy neighbor has hit a car backing out of a space and caused some 2000 dollars total repairs for the two cars and that was for paint repairs only.

    She then came out from the store after that to find a shopping cart gone wild and scratched the entire side of her car. Again paint repairs only and it was estimated over 1,000 dollars..........did I mention she just bought this Lexus??? By the way, I say she is goofy, because she has a big Obama 2012 on her car.
     
  3. hmb

    hmb Well-Known Member

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    What does the vehicle and trafffic law of your state say about reporting motor vehicle accidents? HMB
     
  4. Steve W

    Steve W Well-Known Member

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    Assuming your wife obtained the other party's information including DL & insurance policy (just to be sure you are dealing with a legal resident with proper insurance coverage in your state.

    Call them back and ask what was the $100 agreement? Tell them you'll need a police report for anything over that, see what they say. Offer to fix it by your repair shop instead. Negotiate from there.

    File a police report if they don't take $100 will be the "Right thing to do".

    Since your case doesn't sound like any personal injury were involved, or can be, by the paint job repair estimate. You can do the following:

    Check what kind of insurance you have, if you have a $500 deductible on property damages, you might as well pay them out of your pocket and forget the report so your premium won't go up for the next 2 or 3 years since it's your fault. Remember you are advised to do so only there's no personal injury involved, therefore no over $5000 law suit involving lawyers.

    This is real back room legal advise.
     
  5. likes-to-shoot

    likes-to-shoot Well-Known Member

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    Virtually the same thing happened to my wife. When she came home and told me what was going on I convinced her to report it to the police. Turns out the other lady didn't have insurance (against the law in Iowa). She then denied anything happened but the proof was in the damage to her car.

    By the way if the owner said a $100 at first I'd hold hem to it if you don't file a report. If you do the insurance should cover it.
     
  6. halfmile

    halfmile Well-Known Member

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    Number one: Get the other party's insurance info. It sounds like you may have a party without insurance here.

    If he did have insurance he was in the wrong for taking the payment. There needs to be someone at fault, and only an officer's report will determine that.
    Many times they just take the money and don't do the repair.

    Now, I had the same thing happen to me, a kid in a truck stopped after starting up when the light turned green. I bumped into the back of his S-10 and put a golf ball size dent in the bumper. I told him i would cover it rather than mess with insurance, and his Dad sent him back with a 500 dollar estimate for a new bumper and painting it.

    I took it to a local body shop and they repaired it for 150.

    The moral of the story is "Everyone wants to make out on fender benders, so protect yourself by getting a police report on file."

    HM
     
  7. trim tab

    trim tab Active Member

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    Get the guys phone number, callyour insurance company and tell them what happened and let them handle it. Your insurance will not go up.
     
  8. 1atatime

    1atatime TS Member

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    Trim Tab is correct. However, most states have a minimum threshhold limit for reportable accidents, commonly $1000. That is, if the damage is less than $1000 to all vehicles and surrounding property (i.e., signs, fences, etc), the accident isn't reportable. If you are under the threshhold and report anyway, no harm, no foul.

    Your "deductible" doesn't matter because that applies ONLY to your own vehicle damage. If your car has no damage, forget it. In personal auto policies, there is no deductible for 3rd party (liability) claims.

    You didn't really give an adequate explanation of what happened. If your wife backed out and hit a parked car, she will be liable. In such a case, the insurer will investigate the claim and pay the appropriate amount.

    If she was backing out and hit a car behind her, its a little more "iffy". Certainly in a case like that, the car going straight ahead had a better view thru the windshield than did your wife looking behind and in her mirrors. In such a case, it may be that the person who was hit is more negligent than your wife and may not recieve 100% of his damages, or in some cases may even owe you for your damages.

    Bottom line: Be smart and report it to your insurance company. That's why you buy it and they are the experts.

    Also: in doing a deal like this, you leave yourself open to a subsequent lawsuit from the "injured party" and may find that since you failed to immediately report the claim, the insurance company is able to deny coverage because you failed to timely report the incident. Then you are on your own not only for the damages, but also for any attorney's fees incurred in your defense.
    Even if it went to court and the other guy didn't collect damages, you'd be out the attorney fees.

    Good Luck.
     
  9. Rebsmith

    Rebsmith Member

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    Accident? What accident? Does anyone have proof that an accident happened? Did any paperwork change hands?

    Jere
     
  10. oz

    oz Active Member

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    Don't be cheap... get a lawyer. it is illegal to back up. accidents that occur while backing up are your fault. The person that your wife backed into was probably illegal, ie: no license, no registration, no insurance. always call the police.
     
  11. ImpalaBob

    ImpalaBob Member

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    I'd ask for them to let you get an estimate at a shop of your choice .... then negotiate the payment. If it is MY FAULT .... I want to make it right.
     
  12. Calkidd

    Calkidd Well-Known Member

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    Jack, just like HMB asked what are the laws in your state. I know here where I work, no report would be made. The law says that an exchange of information is the only thing required in this situation.

    Don't panic if the verbal agreement was $100 then don't sweat it. If he takes you to small claims your wife can testify there was an agreement of monetary exchange in lieu of insurance claim.


    OZ; you're over reacting. There is no need to retain an attorney in the situation like this. Don't over think this.

    <blockquote>"it is illegal to back up...accidents that occur while backing up are your fault."</blockquote>

    Where are you getting this half cocked information? That is so far from the truth it's asinine.

    Bryan
     
  13. Bruce Specht

    Bruce Specht Well-Known Member

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    Ask them to take the car to a bodyshop that you know to be fair get the quote and pay that amount.
     
  14. oz

    oz Active Member

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    calkidd....it's the law.... If a police officer directs you to back up and you have an accident, it's the police officer's fault. WHEN THEY LET YOU SLIDE, THEY HAVE SOMETHING TO HIDE.
     
  15. rd

    rd TS Member

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    oz- wtf are you talking about? where did anyone say the police made anybody back up?

    I think oz has had a bit too much kool aid.
     
  16. grntitan

    grntitan Well-Known Member

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    Backing up is illegal???? Where in the heck did you come up with that? Do you just make crap up? How do you get out of a pull in parking spot? You back out like the OP stated his wife did.

    Just when you thought you have heard it all....
     
  17. 1100shooter

    1100shooter TS Member

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    It might depend where you live as to what you can do at this point. A while back I witnessed my neighbor's daughter back out of her driveway into the side of my van. I talked to the father who said he did not want another insurance claim since his daughter just got her license. (That should have been my clue) I told him I estimate the damage to approach $2,000.00 which he said he wanted to pay. I got two estimates, both for about $1,800.00. He said he would get back to me. After five days he said he did not know what he was going to do. I told him that I did and was turning it over to my insurance company.

    I went to file a police report and was advised that since I did not do it within 24 hours it was no longer a criminal issue but now a civil issue. I could not file any report.

    I contacted my insurance who did get it fixed. They could not force the neighbor to pay for the damages and I was hit with my deductible! At this point it became a collision report, not a comprehension claim.

    So it may depend where you are and local laws.

    Personally, I would probably get my own estimate and if it is only a couple hundred dollars just pay it.

    Good luck.
     
  18. BigM-Perazzi

    BigM-Perazzi Well-Known Member

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    Michigan. a no -vault state.

    Remind them you agreed to pay up to $100, where would they like it sent..
     
  19. John Galt

    John Galt TS Member

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    In some places, the police won't issue a report unless there are injuries and in most places that I'm aware of they won't issue a report on private property (i.e. parking lot). In any case, it's best to contact the insurance company so they can take care of it. Once you do you have subrogated your rights to them so they will do whatever they think best.

    It's always risky to try to avoid the insurance company as happened in this case. What looks like a few dollars of damage never is. If you check your policy, I think you will find that you are required to contact the insurer in case of damage. If you don't, they can drop you like a hot rock.
     
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