If I hit the side of the garage door at my rental with my car, do I need a lawyer?

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If I hit the side of the garage door at my rental with my car, do I need a lawyer?

I rent the property where the accident occurred. There was significant damage to the wall. Do you

recommend I get a lawyer or just let my landlord’s homeowner’s insurance and my car insurance companies figure things out?

Asked on March 9, 2019 under Accident Law, Indiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

If you hit a door--a stationary object--you are at fault. That means that if the landlord's insurer pays to the landlord and is not reimbursed by your insurance, they could sue you to recover the money they paid out (this right is called "subrogation"). Or if the landlord for any reason is not fully paid by insurance, he could sue you for the money (or he could choose to NOT file a claim with his insurance and simply sue you--he is not legally required to go through insurance).
Until and unless you are sued, you don't need to do anything. If you are sued (or a lawsuit is at least seriously threatened), consider how much you are being sued for and decide if it would be more cost-effective to pay than to spend money on a lawyer, especially since, as stated, you are clearly at fault (hitting a stationary object is by definition careless): thus, your odds of successfully defending yourself if sued are slim, and you could end up paying for a lawyer, losing, and then having to pay for the damage anyway.


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