Car was not left in "Park" and rolled into another vehicle...

by Paula
(Newburyport, MA)

A friend and I went to lunch. Apparently the car wasn't left in park. While we were inside, my car rolled and hit another car. The driver of the other vehicle was straddling 2 parking spaces. The woman was hysterical as it was a new Audi.

The policeman made mention that if she wasn't parking as she was, my car wouldn't have it hers. I got an estimate for $250 for the damage (minimal).

I just received a note from her insurance company requesting reimbursement for $850. I didn't see any major damage on her vehicle that would warrant that amount of damage...just a few scratches. Though I reported this to my insurance company, I didn't file a claim.

Pictures were not taken. The accident happened in June, and I just now (November) received the note from the woman's insurance company. What can/should I do in this situation? Is there a way to challenge the repair cost? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
Disclaimer: Information provided in our response is NOT formal legal advice. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Under no circumstances should the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Our response does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. Always get a formal case review from a licensed attorney in your area.

ANSWER for "Car was not left in "Park" and rolled into another vehicle...":

Paula (Newburyport, MA):

Insured's have a legal obligation to notify their insurance companies and report a crash. This is a contractual obligation under the notification and cooperation and clauses in the policy. Failing to do so promptly after the accident may result in the insurance company raising an insured's premiums, failing to renew a policy at its expiration, or in an extreme measure, cancelling the insured's policy.

The position of the Audi owner's car does not give rise to a defense against your negligence in failing to place your car in park.

It appears you have two basic choices:

1. Notify your insurance company and report the accident and let your insurance company handle the matter.

2. Pay the $850.00 to the Audi owner.

It is unlikely the Audi owner secured a fraudulent estimate. In any event, your insurance company will scrutinize the estimate. They may send their own claims adjuster to look at the car. They may also require the Audi owner to secure additional estimates. If your insurance company decides the estimates are too high, they won't agree to pay the amount of $850.00.

Hopefully you took several photos of the cars at the time of the crash. If you did, be sure to send them to your insurance company.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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