If I was involved in an auto accident with a local neighbor, how much can I be held liable for regarding the other party’s rental car?

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If I was involved in an auto accident with a local neighbor, how much can I be held liable for regarding the other party’s rental car?

I filed a police report, we went through insurance, and was found to be 100% at fault. It was a minor accident luckily. It seems my neighbor was renting a car for 39 days while waiting for repairs. She rented 3 different vehicles during that time, ranging from $26 to $42 per day. Since both our policies only cover $30/day for only 30 days, which she was paid in full for. She now wants me to pay for $600 that was not covered. She has threatened small claims court if I don’t pay in full.
My question is, what am I responsible for? I was considering paying her $30/day for the 9 extra days she needed the rental, but I am sure that won’t satisfy her. What is the right thing to do?

Asked on December 19, 2015 under Accident Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If you were at fault, you are liable for all "reasonable" costs the other party incurs, including rental car costs, due to your negligence. The issue is whether 39 days of rental is reasonable--it seems long, and you are not liable if the repair shop drags its feet, since that is not under your control. There is a reasonable chance you are not liable for some or all of the $600, if the length of the rental (or the daily rate she was paying) was unreasonble. But if the damage you did was such that it would reasonably take 39 days to fix, and if the car rental rates were reasonable, you would be liable for any amounts not paid by her insurance.


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