Visitor Question

Car and Truck Crash…

Submitted By: Anonymous (USA)

I was recently involved in a car and truck crash where a semi truck hauling a flatbed trailer backed into me in a turning lane. I was behind the truck waiting for the light to change when he backed into me (4-6 feet). I then put my car in reverse and put it in park, and went to get out of my car to speak to the driver when he took off through the light.

I followed him as he raced up the street and attempted to get his license plate number (which was too filthy to read) and ultimately was able only to get the company name off the truck and a spray-painted number off the back window.

When I filed a hit-and-run report and finally tracked him down, the company initially apologized and offered to pay (not through insurance) for the damages to the front of my car.

However, days later when they asked about witnesses (there are none because I raced after the truck rather than stopping to talk to the people in the straight lane beside me), they suddenly began changing their story. They claimed that the driver had never hit me and had gone straight through the light without stopping. But when I countered this, citing the paint transfer on the front of my car as evidence of a hit, they changed their tune to say that I had hit him.

They are now telling me that I can’t prove a thing and my insurance company says this is unfortunately true. The damage to my car is estimated at $2,000. I am a 25 year old woman with a perfect driving record.

Is there any point in going after them, or will I simply lose and end up having raised insurance premiums? What is the best way to deal with the company? Thank you for your time.

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 Anonymous,

Your circumstances are regrettable. If we had a dime for every time someone told us we were going to lose our client’s case in court, or that we didn’t have enough evidence, we would be quite rich.

Although you didn’t mention whether your own insurance company agreed to pay your damages, we can only presume they will. If, as you say, they believe the collision was your fault there always exists the possibility your rates may be raised, or worse, your policy might be cancelled.

With your perfect driving record though, reporting a valid claim to your insurance company should not adversely affect your premiums at all. Do not give up. You have the option of going to Small Claims Court and filing a Claim. You know you are right and you should believe a good Judge will see that.

The purpose of Small Claims Court is to help those people, whether rich or poor, whose cases fall into that empty gap where it isn’t worth it to hire an attorney, and it is too egregious to just ignore it.

Filing a Small Claims case will cost you less than $100 dollars in filing fees. When you eventually prevail the Judge will order the defendant to pay that money back anyway. And that will be in addition to the claim for the $2,000 for damages to your vehicle. Bring a photo of the truck’s paint on your car and tell the judge the truth. You will be surprised to see most Judges will have a large capacity for seeing the truth.

The limit in Small Claims Court is usually $5,000. So you can sue for $2,000 in actual damages and $3,000 for Mental Anguish. That is perfectly legal and done all the time. You deserve it for what your have been put through.

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: May 12, 2011

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