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Woman Is Asking me to Pay for Prior Damage from our Minor Accident

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A couple of weeks ago I was in a very minor car accident with a lady who was driving for Uber. This was around the 1st or 2nd week of December in Devner, CO. I was backing up into a parallel parking spot. As I was reversing, she stopped right behind me and I ran into her vehicle. I didn't see her pull up, I was going 5 mph or less. There was absolutely 0 damage to my car, my rear hook on my Jeep Wrangler hit her front bumper and created a hole in her front bumber on the right side about the size of an apple.

We got out and she had to tell her Uber passengers that she couldn't take them to their destination. The front of her car is absolutely WRECKED. Both head lights were messed up, the bumper is coming off on the end, her hood is bent; everything needed to be replaced. She proceeds to tell me that her best friend borrowed her car after her best friend had totaled her own car. While her best friend was borrowing her car, she had a bad crash. So she said not to worry about anything because she had an appointment to fix it the next day for the prior damage. We just swapped pictures of our licenses and moved on.

As it turns out she filed a claim and was able to find me. She said that "it is only fair" that I pay for the bumper and is requesting $700 plus labor costs. My insurance called me and we had a few different conversations about what she was claiming and how to move forward. I bought my Wrangler 4 weeks prior to the accident. Before I bought my car I switched to a different insurance that covered me as a driver for test driving cars and driving my roommates car as I didn't have my own car. That was supposed to cover me as a driver through the end of the year. My insurance is now telling me that because I purchased a new car but didn't notify Geico in time that I am no longer covered and they will not be helping me with any damage claims. They did however do a VIN background check and found evidence that her car was towed after an accident because it was a disabled vehicle after her best friend's accident.

I was thinking I would offer to pay for some of it, split it half and half with her best friend? Before I found out that I wasn't covered, she filed a claim with Geico that was over $3,000 which included all of the damage that was on her vehicle. Including damage to her freaking windshield! It can't be insurance fraud now that she's dealing with me directly.

She shouldn't have been driving with a vehicle that was unsafe for road conditions, right? And she definitely shouldn't have been driving for Uber? She has been texting me asking how she wants to handle the situation and I'm slightly at a loss for what to do. Should I be worried about what this would do to me legally if I was unknowingly driving without car insurance? How can she actually come after me?
Let me know if you need further information or photos.
 


Zigner

Senior Member, Non-Attorney
You're in a bind. You might end up eating this if you wish to protect your license due to driving without insurance.
 
You're in a bind. You might end up eating this if you wish to protect your license due to driving without insurance.
Even if I thought I was totally covered at the time? I added my car since and they said that even though I was paying for insurance, it wasn't the right insurance. Then adding my vehicle voided that insurance. Thank you for your reply.
 

Ohiogal

Queen Bee
Even if I thought I was totally covered at the time? I added my car since and they said that even though I was paying for insurance, it wasn't the right insurance. Then adding my vehicle voided that insurance. Thank you for your reply.
Yes. Because you are supposed to know for a fact that you are insured and have evidence of said insurance. You don't.
 
Yes. Because you are supposed to know for a fact that you are insured and have evidence of said insurance. You don't.
I see what you’re saying, but I was under the impression that I knew for a fact I was covered. I was still paying to be covered as a driver and to cover other people if I was driving. And I had proof of insurance for that coverage. What I didn’t know was that I had a certain amount of time after purchasing my car to tell Geico about it. I was at day 40 after purchasing and was waiting to register my car by the deadline of Jan 4th to tell geico because that was when I thought I had to report it to Geico.
 

Ohiogal

Queen Bee
I see what you’re saying, but I was under the impression that I knew for a fact I was covered. I was still paying to be covered as a driver and to cover other people if I was driving. And I had proof of insurance for that coverage. What I didn’t know was that I had a certain amount of time after purchasing my car to tell Geico about it. I was at day 40 after purchasing and was waiting to register my car by the deadline of Jan 4th to tell geico because that was when I thought I had to report it to Geico.
ignorance is not a defense
 
I see what you’re saying, but I was under the impression that I knew for a fact I was covered. I was still paying to be covered as a driver and to cover other people if I was driving. What I didn’t know was that I had a certain amount of time after purchasing my car to tell Geico about it. I was at day 40 after purchasing and was waiting to register my car by the deadline of Jan 4th to tell geico because that was when I had to report it to Geico.
ignorance is not a defense
And you are helping 0% to help me figure out what to do after realizing my ignorance. I’m trying to explain why I didn’t know I was insured, not trying to defend it. I’m not looking for an out, I’m looking for advice on how to handle it best.
 

not2cleverRed

Obvious Observer
And you are helping 0% to help me figure out what to do after realizing my ignorance. I’m trying to explain why I didn’t know I was insured, not trying to defend it. I’m not looking for an out, I’m looking for advice on how to handle it best.
Pay the woman. If she has to work at getting the money, she might get irritated and take you to court, where things could get worse.

As explained to you in post #2 and post #4.
 

LdiJ

Senior Member
Pay the woman. If she has to work at getting the money, she might get irritated and take you to court, where things could get worse.

As explained to you in post #2 and post #4.
Are you suggesting that he pay for the prior damage to her car? It sounds like the only damage he did was bumper damage, and it sounds like the bumper needed to be replaced anyway due to the prior damage.
 

Zigner

Senior Member, Non-Attorney
Are you suggesting that he pay for the prior damage to her car? It sounds like the only damage he did was bumper damage, and it sounds like the bumper needed to be replaced anyway due to the prior damage.
That might be a better alternative than the penalty for driving without insurance.
 

LdiJ

Senior Member
That might be a better alternative than the penalty for driving without insurance.
Wow, I really do not agree with that. Yes, there can be some fines involved with driving without insurance but nothing to the extent of 3-4 thousand dollars worth of damage he never caused.
 

Zigner

Senior Member, Non-Attorney
Wow, I really do not agree with that. Yes, there can be some fines involved with driving without insurance but nothing to the extent of 3-4 thousand dollars worth of damage he never caused.
Again, I suppose it's up to the OP to research the penalties. From what my cursory look has shown, the OP may be looking at a $500 fine, 4 points against his license, and (possibly) 40 hours of community service.

ETA: In my state (just FYI), being involved in an accident such as this without having insurance would lead to the loss of driving privileges for a year, in addition to other penalties.
 

ALawyer

Senior Member
Based on the facts you provided, as I understand them, you would be found "at fault" or primarily at fault for the accident, and therefore would be liable to pay for any damages that are the proximate result of that accident. In most instances that would be the amount necessary to cover the actual reasonable costs to repair her car to the way it was before the accident (and possibly something for loss of use). Your NOT responsible to pay to have the car restored to brand new condition. (BTW to the extent that she may have been partially at fault, say 10%, her recovery would be for 90% of the damages, as her recovery would be reduced to the extent of her contributory negligence in most states.)

If she had collision insurance and filed a claim with her insurance company, her company would have paid her or the auto body shop the cost to repair the car less the deductible and then it (and its lawyers) would seek to come after you. If she did not have collision coverage and you can't work it out between you her only option would be to sue you in a local court.

Unless she can bring her suit in a small claims court, that could be a daunting challenge, and she might need a lawyer unless she can get it into a small claims court. If she does sue you, you could default (and she'd eventually get a judgment against you which she'd have to collect -- not always an easy task) or you could deny liability and defend yourself either alone or through an attorney. You (or the attorney on your behalf) could deny liability, deny that the damages were as great as she claimed, and/or claim she was at at least partially at fault. If the matter were nt settled it would eventually get to court where a judge would decide at trial. At trial the burden is on her to prove both that you were at fault and what the damages were, which often would require her to produce a mechanic or a certified paid bill.

Fortunately for you, at least at this point, she is only claiming property damage to her vehicle. However, if she hires a lawyer all of a sudden she might also assert a claim for some personal injury (that sprain she might claim she got after the accident, or some recurrent headaches) which could complicate matters and increase her potential claim and your potential liability. (Of course if the judge senses she is lying about the personal injury it would somewhat sabotage her property damage claim as well.)

It seems to me that you have some negotiating power and to the extent she is acting unreasonably, that may play out to your advantage in the end, as few lawyers would want to take her case on and (except here on FreeAdvice.com) lawyers expect to be paid for their work, and that would come out of her eventual recovery.

I'm not commenting about whether or not your own insurance would be liable to defend you and/or pay the claim as I would need far more facts and to read the policy. And that I don't do for free.
 

quincy

Senior Member
Again, I suppose it's up to the OP to research the penalties. From what my cursory look has shown, the OP may be looking at a $500 fine, 4 points against his license, and (possibly) 40 hours of community service.

ETA: In my state (just FYI), being involved in an accident such as this without having insurance would lead to the loss of driving privileges for a year, in addition to other penalties.
Driving without insurance a Class 1 misdemeanor.

https://law.justia.com/codes/colorado/2016/title-42/regulation-of-vehicles-and-traffic/article-4/part-14/section-42-4-1409/




(bumping spam off main board)
 

HighwayMan

Super Secret Senior Member
I’m trying to explain why I didn’t know I was insured...
Unless you had an insurance card for the Jeep with it's VIN on the card then the vehicle was not insured. Why the dealer even let you drive away with no proof of insurance in amazing. Around here you cannot take delivery of a vehicle from a dealer without proof it's insured, but I guess that's how things are done in Colorado.
 

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