Do we still have to pay for an injury if their insurance already covered it?

by Kyle
(Tulsa, Oklahoma)

My girlfriend punched a guy (one time in the eye) who had punched her car (and did $1,400 dollars worth of damage). Now the guy she punched is saying his hospital bill for his eye was about the same amount as the damages for her car. But the insurance he has paid for it all. Not one cent came out of his pocket.

But they are saying she should pay the amount the insurance did. So is she required to pay the amount to them or should we take this to court?

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Do we still have to pay for an injury if their insurance already covered it?":

Kyle (Tulsa, Oklahoma):

Your girlfriend in not under any legal obligation to pay any amount of money to this hooligan. Your girlfriend has a couple of options.

She can ignore the matter. If she does the worst thing which might happen is she might receive a letter from an Attorney demanding she pay the $1,400. This is unlikely because the amount is so small few Attorneys will waste their time on it.

On the other hand she can file a Small Claims lawsuit against him for the amount of damage he did to her vehicle. In the State of Oklahoma the maximum amount of money one can sue for in Small Claims Court is $6,000 dollars. She will be well within the limits.

If she decides to sue and this fellow's insurance company still has not paid for the repairs to your girlfriend's vehicle, she can sue for the amount of repairs, and an additional amount for her "mental anguish".

Your girlfriend can also file a claim with her own insurance company for the repairs to her vehicle. Her insurance company will investigate the matter, possibly speaking with witnesses you provide.

If, after their investigation the insurance company is convinced the damage to the car was not your girlfriend's fault, but rather this fellow's, your insurance company will pay to repair the damages to her vehicle and will then subrogate, which means they will sue this fellow for the amount of money they had to pay to repair your girlfriend's vehicle.

And if your insurance company determines this fellow caused the damage, the claim will not be held against you and will therefore not adversely affect your policy or your premiums.

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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