Can you take someone to small claims court over vehicle accident damages if the damages have been paid for?

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Can you take someone to small claims court over vehicle accident damages if the damages have been paid for?

There was a minor accident I backed into another vehicle we did not file a police report and there is not current insurance on the vehicle anyway. We agreed that I would make a payment for the damages in which I made in full to the body shop of their choice. They are angry because they wanted to check to themselves instead of to the body shop which I think is ridiculous I did not just pay close to $1,000 for them to get in their pocket so it is their own fault that they are not choosing to get their car fixed they just thought they were going to make money off of the ordeal. So is it even realistic for them to threaten me with small claims court if I try to pay in full for the damages and

they are the ones refusing to take their car to the shop? Especially when they chose the particular body shop?

Asked on April 4, 2018 under Accident Law, Arkansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

They could sue you for the full amount of the provable damage (i.e. cost to repair) you caused by backing into them. If they do and you explain at trial that you tried or offered to pay directly to the body shop, the court will order you to pay the money to the other driver to resolve the case--it is NOT your concern what they do with the money or how they spend it; your obligation is to pay for the provable amount of damage you caused. Let them provide you 2 - 3 estimates of the cost to repair damage, so you can confirm what the/ cost is; then pay them (but first make them sign a written settlement and release in which in exchange for the money, they agree to not sue you, and do not hand over the funds until the sign) for the damage. Again, it's not your concern what they do with the money; your only right is to not have to pay for more than the damage you actually did, but if they prefer to pocket the money and drive a damaged car, that is their issue. You pay for what you broke; the other side decides what to do with that cash.


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