A small car accident

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A small car accident

I had a small car accident; the other car’s damage was more than mine. When the police officer came he decided not to

report it since we said we will handle it. We exchanged information and the stated that we were both at fault. He’s

going to call me tomorrow and I don’t know anything about what my next step would be. I don’t want to report this

to my insurance but I also don’t want to be responsible for his damages since we were both at fault.

Asked on April 1, 2016 under Accident Law, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If he demands money from you, your choice are:
1) agree to pay;
2) try to negotiate something you are wiling to pay;
3) refuse to pay.
If you refuse to pay, then if he sues you, you'll have to then settle or defend the case; if he sues you and can prove your fault, he can get a monetary award against you (a "judgment"). 
You, of course, are also free, if you think he was at fault, to demand compensation from him and/or, in negotiating, try to offset what he may owe you vs. what you owe him. If he won't pay or give you any credit, you can wait until he sues you, then put this in as a counterclaim, or you could start your own suit vs. him.
Note that if you wait too long to notify your insurer, you will most likely be unable to take advantage of any coverage: policies generally include a clause or provision requiring you to provide timely notice of claims, so if you don't, you are in breach of your obligations to the insurer--and that breach can justify them in not paying.
As to what to do: it depends how much they are asking for, and if you'd rather pay it and be done than potentially go through litigation. If you do agree to pay, have him sign something that this settles all claims arising from the accident and that he cannot sue you for the accident.


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