Ca. Accident-no insurance-no injuries

I accidently hit someone in a mall parking lot, minor damage (the other driver was speeding, but I hit them). She doesn’t want to go through her insurance-she has gotten one estimate from a dealership and wants $2100.00. That seems like a lot for what seemed like minor damage. What are my legal rights? We had insurance, but it was cancelled two days before the accident due to a credit card payment mishap.

Asked on July 2, 2009 under Accident Law, California

Answers:

L.M., Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

It is not unreasonable to ask her to get a second estimate.  Don't be surprised if it winds up being the same or even higher.  It is amazing how minor damage can cost a lot to repair. Does she admit she was speeding?  If you can get her to accept some responsibility for the accident, you can negotiate to settle for less than the estimate.  If not, you can force her to go through her insurance and they will come after you for reimbursement, which may be the same.  Or, if she doesn't want to go through insurance, she might sue you in small claims court.  If she does, you can argue liability and see if the judge will assign her some fault and discount what you need to pay for her damages. That about covers all the possibilites.

L.M., Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

It is not unreasonable to ask her to get a second estimate.  Don't be surprised if it winds up being the same or even higher.  It is amazing how minor damage can cost a lot to repair. Does she admit she was speeding?  If you can get her to accept some responsibility for the accident, you can negotiate to settle for less than the estimate.  If not, you can force her to go through her insurance and they will come after you for reimbursement, which may be the same.  Or, if she doesn't want to go through insurance, she might sue you in small claims court.  If she does, you can argue liability and see if the judge will assign her some fault and discount what you need to pay for her damages. That about covers all the possibilites.


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