Visitor Question

Minor Vehicle Damage but No Auto Insurance…

Submitted By: China (Rockford, IL)

I took my cousin’s car without asking and hit another vehicle from behind. There was only very minor damage. I thought I had insurance but mom had removed me from the policy without my knowledge. I want to assume responsibility for the minor damage.

What can be done so my cousin won’t have to pay, since the car was in her name and I did not ask to drive? Thanks.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear China,

Your desire to “step up” and want to pay for the damages you caused is honorable, but you may have to wait to see what the victim decides to do. It’s probable the victim will contact your cousin and ask her to turn the matter over to her insurance company.

The victim’s insurance company will first notify your cousin of the amount of damages and the cost to repair the vehicle.

Before your cousin turns the matter over to her own insurance company you can step in. If you can pay the amount the victim is asking to repair her vehicle, then the matter will be over at that time, and your cousin will not have to turn the matter over to her insurance company.

If, in the possible event the victim claims injuries – and don’t be surprised if he does, the case will take on a whole new dimension. In that event your cousin’s insurance company will have to step in and defend the case. Regrettably your desire to pay the damages will be close to impossible at that time.

Get a copy of the Police Report. It’s either free or may cost a couple of dollars. Take a look at it and see if the victim stated she was injured. If so you will have some idea of the way the case is going to proceed.

Most times when there aren’t injuries the police will not be called out and no Police Report will exist. That will be in your favor and that of your cousin’s.

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

Best of luck,

Published: August 25, 2011

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