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So I pulled into a gas station and came to a complete stop and then realized that there were several pumps out of order, so I put my car in reverse and a guy had pulled up behind me, very close. I was waiting for him to move, but we bumped very lightly. He said I rolled into him, but I didn’t want to argue with him. We exchanged info, but we discussed settling on our own. I was in a recent car accident and didn’t want to have to deal with my insurance co again, I’m afraid they would drop me if I had another claim. Anyway, I had zero damage and he is now claiming that his headlight is loose and there was a tear in the bumper, how could he possibility have a tear when I had NO damage at all. I know it’s most likely a prior issue he had and is trying to get me to pay for it. He sent me an estimate for 1000K and wants me to pay. I don’t even feel that it was my fault, but again afraid to have to deal with my insurance again. I am thinking about just paying to end this and move on. Do you think this is wise? If I pay him and make him sign a release will that be enough to protect me from him in the future? Please respond As he wants to meet me tomorrow If I do pay, is it best to give a check, or bank check? He claims that he wants his car fixed quickly and the auto place is waiting for payment before ordering the parts. I kind of doubt he even is planning on fixing it and he probably knows the auto body guy. But I just want this to go away and not become a he said she said situation. I’m not sure if the gas station would have it on video. Thanks so much for any assistance.
Asked on January 17, 2018 under Accident Law, Massachusetts
SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney
Answered 3 years ago | Contributor
A signed release, where you upheld your obligation (i.e. paid him the agreed-upon amount) is legally enforceale, so if he agrees to release you from all claims, he will not be able to sue you for more. You need him to sign before you hand over any money. The release needs to state that the payment is payment in full of ALL claims, known or presently unknown, whether for property damage, bodily injury, or any other basis, arising out of the accident, and that he gives up, for himself and his heirs, assigns, and successors in interest, all right to sue you for any reason arising as of or prior to the date of the settlement/release agreement. It should also say that if anyone else sues you for damages or costs arising out of this accident--including his insurer (if he also claimed to his insurer and received payment from them, which would give the insurer the right to sue to recover what they paid out to him) that he will indemnify you for anything you have to pay due to such suits. That is, you want the release to protect you from ALL liability, from any source or on any basis, arising out of the accident.