Minor damage in accident, now other driver claiming bodily injury?
I was towing an 18 foot trailer when a car tried to pass me in traffic at about 10 mph. The driver clipped my trailer with the right rear part of her car. She spent the next hour running around yelling on the side of the road as a state trooper, who she stepped into traffic to flag down, waited patiently for the local department to arrive.
I was issued a citation since she claims I "swung" into her lane. Once police arrived she continued to run around the scene, yelling, etc. At one point after I asked officers if I could take some pictures of her car, she got out of her vehicle and chased me 100' back to the squad car yelling "I don't need any more pictures."
The accident report says no injuries. Damage to the car is very minor: approximately 8" scrape on the right rear fender and plastic, no gouges, dents, and it doesn't appear to have even penetrated the clear coat.
I was informed today that the driver has hired an attorney and is now claiming bodily injury. What are my options for keeping this lady from defrauding me and the insurance company? I have insurance, and it appears that as soon as she hired an attorney they want to settle. I am located in Tennessee. What can I do to stop this? Thank you.
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ANSWER for "Minor damage in accident, now other driver claiming bodily injury?":
Mike (Memphis, Tennessee):
From the facts you present, it appears your insurance company is considering settling the claim. However, you can be sure they won't pay the woman's claim if they believe it is fraudulent. Unfortunately, there's little you can do to thwart the woman's pursuit of the claim, and your insurance company's decision to settle it.
It can be presumed your insurance company spoke with you soon after the accident to discuss the facts. And it's likely they will offer the woman a nominal amount to settle her claim. This is primarily because there is no evidence the woman was seriously injured.
Moreover, there is no evidence she required emergency medical treatment. From the facts you present, it is likely the woman is claiming a whiplash injury.
The police accident report will contain notations about fault, weather conditions, tickets issued, and much more. To obtain a copy of the accident report filed by the investigating offer, go here:
Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security
Depending upon your past record of accidents and claims, there is a chance your insurance company may raise your premiums, fail to renew your policy, or cancel it.
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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