What should we do if my daughter scratched a vehicle while leaving a parking spotand she left her infobut the person called back with a big estimate?

The person didn’t call back until 2 weeks later with a big estimate. What should we do next? Why did they wait so long to contact us?

Asked on December 2, 2011 under Accident Law, New York

Answers:

L.P., Member, Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Thank you for submitting your question related to handling damage to auto accidents with your insurance company’s involvement.  After your daughter’s accident, did she happen to take any photographs of the damage to the other vehicle?  Did she take photos of any damage to her own vehicle?  Sometimes an adjuster can tell by the damage to the at-fault vehicle where and to what extent the other vehicle was damaged.  Did your daughter have any witnesses in her car that could verify where and how much damage was on both vehicles?  The answers to these questions are quite helpful for your insurance company or yourself to be able to minimize the compensation to be paid for the vehicle.

Sometimes an adjuster can tell the difference between old and new damage.  This would be when someone is in an accident, then opt not to get their vehicle repaired, and then are in another accident and want to get the damage repaired, but now the damage includes two accidents worth of damage.  You should not have to pay for an entire bumper if there was only a scratch on the cav. 

The other driver is permitted to contact you two weeks later, because the statute of limitations for these claims are usually 2-4 years.  The other driver also has the right to contact your insurance company to have them handle this damage instead of dealing directly with you.  That may be a good option for you if you think the other driver caused additional damage to her vehicle within the two weeks that the accident took place and then when she contacted you.  If you were liable for the accident, you should only pay out the monies for which you are responsible.  You could also ask her to take the vehicle to another two shops to get estimates, and then take an average to compensate her.

 


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