What can I do if I bumped another car and now the driver is stating that there was more damage than what really occurred?

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What can I do if I bumped another car and now the driver is stating that there was more damage than what really occurred?

While parking I hit the bumper of another vehicle. There was virtually no damage but we exchanged insurance information just in case. no police report or insurance claim was filed. The owner called me to tell me there was an estimate for $476 in damages and my car doesn’t have a scratch on it. Her insurance company called me today to tell me she filed a claim with a much larger estimate to fix her car. What should I do since I know I didn’t cause anywhere near that amount of damage?

Asked on August 7, 2015 under Accident Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Assuming you have liability insurance, which you should have--it is required--refer the matter to your insurer and let them work it out with the other driver and/or their insurer, so long as the amount they are seeking exceeds your deductible.

If you don't have insurance, have too high a deductible (so your insurer won't get involved), and/or choose to not refer this to insurer for some reason, you can refuse to pay unless and until they sue you and win; to win, they'd have to prove in court that you caused the damage and the amount/extent/cost of damage. If they can only prove a lesser amount of damage or repair costs, that's all they could collect. You can also try to settle--offer them some lesser amount to resolve the case, which amount they may take to avoid the  cost and effort of suing you. If you do settle, get the settlement in writing--i.e. that for paying $X, you have settled all claims against you arising out of this accident.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Assuming you have liability insurance, which you should have--it is required--refer the matter to your insurer and let them work it out with the other driver and/or their insurer, so long as the amount they are seeking exceeds your deductible.

If you don't have insurance, have too high a deductible (so your insurer won't get involved), and/or choose to not refer this to insurer for some reason, you can refuse to pay unless and until they sue you and win; to win, they'd have to prove in court that you caused the damage and the amount/extent/cost of damage. If they can only prove a lesser amount of damage or repair costs, that's all they could collect. You can also try to settle--offer them some lesser amount to resolve the case, which amount they may take to avoid the  cost and effort of suing you. If you do settle, get the settlement in writing--i.e. that for paying $X, you have settled all claims against you arising out of this accident.


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