What to do if I was in a car accident on private property because another driver backed into my car as I was driving through the parking lot?

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What to do if I was in a car accident on private property because another driver backed into my car as I was driving through the parking lot?

The car insurance told me that I was 50% liable because I should have been paying attention to my surroundings. The police were called so I have a police report, and it states that the other driver was at fault, due to the incident happening on private property he wasn’t citied. Because I only had liability my car still isn’t fix and I have loss my job, I don’t live on the bus line, so I have to pay people to take me places, I’m really getting stressed. I need to file a claim but who do I sue, and how do I kno how much?

Asked on November 12, 2013 under Accident Law, Georgia

Answers:

Paula McGill / Paula J. McGill, Attorney at Law

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

LICENSED IN GEORGIA

I assume the insurance company you are talking about is the other driver's insurance company. 

Of course, that company would not admit liability.  You can file in probate court (small claims court) if your damages are $15,000 or less.  Some attorneys may take cases for that small amount.  However, it is difficult to find one. 

You will need to bring in an expert to small claims noting his experience, the fact he inspected the car, and the amount to repair the car, among other facts.   He will have to appear in court to testify. 

Also, you can try to obtain expenses for rental cars and other monetary losses.  However, you cannot just sit on your rights and stay at home from work while your damages accumulate. 

If you are going to handle the matter alone.  You should get a small claims booklet from court relating to what county to sue and how to serve the defendant.

Good luck.  

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

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Since the police report says the other driver was at fault, you should sue the at-fault driver for negligence if you disagree with their insurance company's assessment of you being 50% liable.  If the at-fault driver is someone other than the registered owner of the vehicle, you should name both the registered owner and at-fault driver as defendants in your lawsuit for negligence.

Your damages (the amount of compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit) would be the cost of repairs to your car, your transportation expenses, and wage loss caused by the accident.

If you get a rental car while your car is being repaired, your damages should also include the cost of the rental car.  You will need to mitigate (minimize) damages by going to an auto body shop whose rates are reasonable and also renting a car with a reasonable rate.  If you were to select the most expensive auto body shop and/or most expensive rental car you could find, you have failed to mitigate damages and your damages will be reduced accordingly. 


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