Legal Action


#1

I ran out for a quick trip to the store, when I left there were two vans a little off to the side, however I was easily able to get around them. On my way back home, the two vans were now in the middle of the road and I didn’t think I could get around.



However, an occupant of the van waved me around indicating that I could make it.



However I ended up scraping against his car because I did not have enough room. There was no alternative way to get to my house, or I would have tried to go.



I got out. They didn’t move to call the police, but yelled at me for hitting their car. I offered my insurance information, but he did not offer any in return, and said it would cost about 75 to fix, so I gave him $75 out of my pocket, and as I was getting in my car he said I could bring my insurance information by later and told me his apartment… and also said he was letting me off because I was an American and he loves Americans. He smelled slightly of alcohol.



However my mom, when I got home, went out there to try and get my money back because shes irritable and an angry mama bear.



He said that he was going to call the cops and needed my insurance info. When my mom asked for his, he backed down. But he also said he was going to sue me.



Does he possibly have a leg to stand on??? Should I be looking forward to an apperance on Judge Judy?



Keep in mind while he does know my car, I did not give him any personal information.




#2

Sorry just noticed I put this in the wrong section. Sorry, I’m new at this.


#3
  1. It’s your accident. Despite being “waved through,” it remains your responsibility. (I doubt I’m telling you anything you didn’t know.)
  2. I’m not sure if taking the $75 constituted an agreement to settle the dispute or not, but as it was a verbal agreement, legally speaking, it’s not very enforcable.
  3. Going back after your $75 was a BIG mistake. I’m assuming, given parts/labor rates, he was going to “buff out” the scratches vs. any repainting. This was a favor of sorts to you. Trying to get the money back just served to irritate him.
  4. Even if you mom can corroborate alcohol on his breath, using this as a “counter-attack” if this does go to trial makes you look bad…almost as if you’re trying to blackmail him into not pressing charges. (Especially since you are unquestionably at fault here.)

Advice? He’ll (most likely) calm down about suing, once he realizes the effort relative to the gains. You’ll ultimately have to pay more money, and if a police report is filed, you might have a black mark on your driving record.


#4

Part of the reason why we have liability insurance is so you don’t have to deal with the personal drama of weirdos you might get into crashes with. If you see him again, just give him your insurance info and let them handle it. Ask nicely for the $75 back, but if you don’t get it, just call it a learning experience.

The lesson you have learned is that the insurance company is your friend. If the insurance company is handling it and he decides to sue you, guess what-- the insurance company has thousands and thousands of lawyers! And for a little fender-bender like this your rates probably won’t go up significantly if at all.


#5

I’m assuming this person was Mexican. The fact they backed down when you asked for their insurance info means the probably didn’t have any to begin with. And with him mentioning calling the cops when he wasn’t giving up any insurance info, I’d have called him on it and said “go ahead, I’ll stand here and wait for them to get here”.
They might have even been looking for a quick buck since they waved you around, then yelled at you for hitting their van. Sounds sad, but it happens more often than we could imagine


#6

Just tell your insurance agent and let them handle it. You aren’t going to get your $75 back and that was not a smart thing to do. Your agent will have information on what to do and what not to do in case of an accident. You should read that over so that you don’t get rattled the next time. These things are not handled in court by you but by your insurance company. Their job is to defend you and to pay the claim if need be. Your job is to report the accident and not put the case in jeopardy. Any future contact with these jerks should start and end with “talk to my agent”.

In insurance class for the elderly, our agent stressed to never wave someone through or wave a pedestrian across and so on. To do so is to accept some of the liability if something happens. So in that sense he is partially to blame. No one is going to get excited over $75 though so just tell your agent and forget it after the lecture.


#7

I think you were steamrolled by a BS artist.
Never, ever give anyone anything at the scene of an accident; and that means cash, advice, or stating one word about the accident and what caused it.
If he was drinking it will be too late to lay anything on him after the fact.

You should always do all of your talking with the police and let them sort it out. Odds are if you picked up the cell phone and started calling the cops he would have headed for the tall grass.


#8

He is way off and it should be obvious that he has no insurance. Offer to call the police next time to settle it and the drinking, uninsured guy will back off. It was a setup too. I’ll bet he has damage to his van from his previous incidents. He waved you around so he must take some responsibility for blocking the road.


#9

Did you at least get the license plat number and state? If so, you can report that information to your insurer.


#10

We learn more from our mistakes than our successes. This is a great learning experience.

Lesson 1: no matter what the other driver says don’t go anywhere unless you KNOW there is enough space to clear the other car. You should have asked the other driver to move their van, if they refuse you have to park somewhere else for the time being.

Lesson 2: at the sight of an accident don’t give anyone money unless they give you a signed, notorized release from any further financial responsibility. Even such a notorized document won’t hold up in court if it ever got that far, but it would document that money was paid.

Lesson 3: only provide insurance information when that information is provided by the other driver(s) as well. Never admit fault, just acknowledge that the accident occurred. Fault is up to the police, and insurance companies to determine.

Lesson 4: If there is significant damage to property, it doesn’t take much to be siginificant damage with body shop repair bills these days, or dispute with the other driver(s) call the police and get a police report. Without a police report some insurance companies have problems sorting out what happened and who is responsible.

Lesson 5: An accident can happen on a cross country trip, or a guick trip to the market. No matter, any accident is a mess and a huge waste of time, and aggravation. Be careful anytime the car is in gear.


#11

Thank you for all your replies.

I know the accident technically was my fault. I did ask him to move his van, he claims it was broken down but they made no attempt to move it to the side and were there for several hours doing work and he was hit again by another car.

I didn’t want the money back, but my mother is very pig headed and wouldn’t listen to reason when I asked her not t go down there. She feels it was a scam, as well.

I think the worst part of this all is it’s embarrasing. I am an EMT (So I must keep my license in good standing, hence why I was relieved with no ticket.) and I routinely drive ambulances that are much bigger than my car with no problem and manuver them into tight spots.

However I have not heard from him since. No police report, no visits. I think I’ll chalk it up to lessons learned.


#12

There are two points I’d like to add.
First, blocking access to someone’s driveway is illegal. If when asked the person doing the blocking refuses to move, simply stay calm and call the police. They’d rather handle it then, before it becomes a confrontation or an accident.

Second, in any accident, no matter how minor or who’s at fault, call the police. A police report becomes concrete evidence in the event of a dispute. Even if you’re at fault, it documents the details and damages so that you don’t get accused of more damage that there actually is. You’d be amazed at how easily a simple fender bender can become a disabling backk injury if no police report exists.


#13

Second, in any accident, no matter how minor or who’s at fault, call the police.

This is EXCELLENT advice…And I learned that one the HARD way. I was 17…still in high-school…This guy ran a stop-light…I saw him in time and barely clipped his back bumper. He was cordial and said he was sorry and said…don’t worry he’ll fix any damage done to my car. I said…OK…We exchanged numbers and insurance companies. There was no damage to my Dad’s car…I told him and he decided not to make a claim since all he could find was a little scratch on the front bumper…right next to the 6" rusted out hole.

Two days later…get a call from our insurance company saying this guy put a claim against my dad saying I ran the stop-light and hit him causing about $500 damage to his car (this was 1960’s dollars). Needless to say my Dad was p*ssed…And so was I.

We fought it…and won…but it took us almost 2 years. It was finally fixed while I was in Nam.

Moral of the story…call the police…no matter what.