How do I pay for property damage but NOT the fake injury?
(Costa Mesa, CA)
I was parked in an apartment complex. At night I got in my car and my next door neighbor parked behind me with no lights on prior to parking (or after). The street was not lit well. I backed out at 1-2mph and hit the driver's side right door. She got out screaming immediately.
Then she pretended to be injured but did not do a good job of faking the injury. She was holding the side of her head that was facing away from her side window. She cried only when police arrived, then denied the ambulance she had called because she was told she would have to pay for it.
The sheriffs that arrived on scene said they knew she was faking it. I have pictures of the accident and the small scratch/dent my car made on hers. She is claiming $2,500 in injuries. I did not have insurance at the time of the accident.
I want to pay the claim for the damage to her car, rental, and deductible. On the other hand, I do NOT want to pay for a fake injury. What do I do? How do I only pay for the property damage and not her fake injury? Thank you.
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ANSWER for "How do I pay for property damage but NOT the fake injury?":
Brandon (Costa Mesa, CA):
You are in a precarious position. Without property damage and personal injury insurance, you will have to defend yourself against the women's personal injury claim.
Unfortunately, in addition to fending for yourself, if the woman reports to the California Department of Motor Vehicles your failure to carry insurance, the consequences are:
- You may be cited for failure to carry property damage and personal injury liability insurance
- Your car may be impounded
- You may be personally liable for the women's losses
California Department of Motor Vehicles:
Financial Responsibility Requirements for Vehicle Registration
While the woman is under no obligation to do so, be sure to ask her to submit to you at least three estimates for different body repair shops. You can also tell her you will not pay the amount of $2,500, if that amount is in addition to the cost of repairing her car.
If you tell her you will not pay the personal injury amount of her claim, her recourse may be to file a small claims lawsuit against you. The claim is likely not substantial enough for an attorney to accept it. Small Claims Courts in California have jurisdiction to hear cases up to $5,000.
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,
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