If I hit a car after backing out of my driveway, what is my liability?

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If I hit a car after backing out of my driveway, what is my liability?

The other car was parked across neighbor’s driveway in weird place and it was night so I didn’t see it. We exchanged insurance information and my insurance company paid for the repairs and a rental car during that time. However, the person I hit wants more money as he says he was “inconvenienced” and had to rent an “equivalent car” that cost more than what my company wanted to pay for. He’s asking me for more money. Does he have legal standing to get it? Should I pay it to him to avoid being sued? Doesn’t the insurance company pay him what is legally set as being what needs to be paid?

Asked on November 22, 2014 under Accident Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If he signed an agreement, release, or settlement with your insurance company saying that he was being paid in satisfaction of all claims, he can't sue now--check with your insurer about this.

If he didn't sign an agreement saying that he was being paid in full satisfaction (or otherwise couldn't sue), he can try to sue for any amount not paid by your insurer. However, 1) there is no compensation for "inconvenience," and 2) while he may be entitled to the difference between what your insurer paid for rental and what he had to pay, he's limited to a reasonable  rental--so, for example, if he had a luxury car, he's typically not entitled to rent one at a premium so he's driving something "equivalent," but could only rent an equivalently *sized* car at reasonable rates. Therefore, he most likely does not have good claim, from what you write.

If he is threatening suit, turn the matter back over to your insurer; they should help you resolve this.


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