Can I be in trouble with the law if I backed up into a car and caused a paint scratch?

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Can I be in trouble with the law if I backed up into a car and caused a paint scratch?

The valet guys parked a car behind me (not in a spot) and I scratched the paint (minimal damage). The cops came, but at the end of it all the owner said he and I would work it out, and the cop replied that if there were any trouble to give him a call. The cop did not give me a ticket at the time or fill out report.Now that the owner is not working with me at all by putting the paint job through without any other estimates and without my approval, he is threatening/intimidating me to either pay or else he’ll call the cops. Is this a civil matter, or am I possibly in trouble because I did not have insurance? (I did not receive a ticket or get an accident report)

Asked on November 1, 2010 under Accident Law, Florida

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No, what it is is extortion.  If you barely scratched the guy then he odes not want to put it through his insurance because he will have to pay a deductible.  So instead he is strong arming you and threatening you to pay or he will re-open the case and call the police.  You should have insisted that there be pictures taken at the scene and a police report issued, even if you did not have insurance.  The ticket would be worth it rather than the feat that he is trying to instill in you at this point in time.  I would contact an attorney to help you contact the police yourself and the valets that were the witnesses to the incident as well as to the damages.  I would advise that you have attempted to settle the matter and that he is being unreasonable and threatening you with calling the police.  Good luck. 


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