If a man rear-ended my vehicle 3 months ago but is not responding to messages, what legal steps would I be able to take to get my vehicle repaired?

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If a man rear-ended my vehicle 3 months ago but is not responding to messages, what legal steps would I be able to take to get my vehicle repaired?

He was quick to say he would pay for the damages out-of-pocket and asked that we not go through insurance. I was pretty shaken up and said that would be fine. I got his name and phone number and took pictures of the damage done to both vehicles as well as his license plate. He refused to give me his insurance information. He signed an agreement to have my vehicle repaired by the end of this month.

Asked on January 22, 2015 under Accident Law, Oregon

Answers:

Gregory Abbott / Consumer Law Northwest

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Much depends upon the exact details - did he have insurance but just wanted to avoid using it or did he not have it to begin with?  Are the repairs in excess of $10,000?  Was the mandatory accident report to DMV filed?  In general, if he refuses to pay, you may have to sue to recover.  Depending upon the details, you may be able to recover your attorney's fees as well.  If they had insurance, you may still be able to file a claim whether he likes it or not; if he did not have insurance you may be able to have his driver's license suspended if he does not pay.  A stern letter from an attorney "educating" him may solve the problem as well.  Consider reviewing the entire matter with an Oregon consumer law attorney to understand your exact rights and options.  Good luck. 

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You can sue him for both breach of contract (the agreement to repair the car) and for having negligently (carelessly) damaged your property (the car); a lawsuit is the only way to make someone pay for damage they did or to obey an agreement they voluntarily entered into. Of course, a lawsuit takes months, sometimes years--you'll probably have to pay out of pocket to repair the car, then seek reimbursement.


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