What to do if I had an accident and the driver of the other car had third party liability only so he wants me to pay for his damages but he is quoting repairs higher than the value of his car?

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What to do if I had an accident and the driver of the other car had third party liability only so he wants me to pay for his damages but he is quoting repairs higher than the value of his car?

He is threatening to go to small claims court. I had a rental car with insurance hence it covered the damage.

Asked on December 22, 2015 under Accident Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

First, if you were not at fault, you would not be liable to pay anything: liability, or the responsibility to pay, is based on fault. So unless you were driving negligently or carelessly, you should not pay; if the other driver sues you, unless he can prove that you were at fault, he would not win.
If you were at fault, then you would be liable for his damages, but only for his actual costs or losses: e.g. cost to repair; towing cost, if any; cost to rent a car while his is in the shop; etc. If he is asking for more than his actual costs--and note: in terms of repair costs specifically (as opposed to rental costs, etc.), he cannot get more than the then-current fair market (or "blue book") value of the car, since you are not obligated to pay more than the actual value of the damaged property--you can refuse to pay and let him sue you; in court, he will only be able to get the amount of compensation (even if he wins) that he can prove he is entitled to based on the lesser of actual fair market value or repair, etc. cost.


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