What happens if I slightly rear ended someone but the damage was not even noticeable?

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What happens if I slightly rear ended someone but the damage was not even noticeable?

We did not get a police report. I am only 17 but he made me sign a piece of paper saying I would pay for the damage. I offered to pay for the damage I believe I caused however he is taking advantage of the situation and is asking for more. Would he be able to sue me? Or my parents if they do not know of the accident?

Asked on January 15, 2013 under Accident Law, New Jersey

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If there wasn't any noticeable damage to the car you rearended, then the other party should not have any property damage claim.  You don't owe him anything for non-existent property damage.  If he tries to sue you for the property damage, you have the defense of duress that he "made" you sign the paper that you would pay for the damage and also that now he is asking for more money which is further evidence of duress.  You also have the defense of minority.  This means that since you are a minor (under 18), you are not liable for the agreement you signed to pay for the damage.

You asked if he could sue your parents.  Although that is a possibility, don't worry about it because he has no case since he has no property damage and was not injured in the accident. In the event that he files a lawsuit against you and/or your parents, refer the matter to your auto insurance company and they will handle it and the attorney for the auto insurance company will represent you and/or your parents at no cost.

If this other party continues to contact you and bother you about payment for non-existent property damage, refer the matter to your auto insurance company.


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