Visitor Question

How do I get reimbursed for damage to my parked car?

Submitted By: Anonymous (Middlebury, VT)

My car was parked at my place of employment when a man backed into it, causing severe damage to my vehicle. I then realized my insurance had lapsed. So therefore, I had no insurance at the time of the accident. What do I do?

The police were not called, so there’s no accident report, but I do have witnesses who saw him hit my parked car, and then heard him apologize and take blame for hitting my car. Is there any way I can get reimbursed for this?

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 lack of car insurance has no direct bearing on the outcome of your property damage claim against the driver. You have a right to seek compensation from the driver for the repairs to your car.

Contact the driver and tell him you would like him to refer the accident to his car insurance company. The driver clearly knows he was at fault in causing the accident. There is no need to be threatening. Simply tell him your car was seriously damaged in the accident and you would like his insurance company to pay for the repairs.

Additionally, ask him for the name of his car insurance company, the insurance policy number, and the company’s telephone number. Hopefully, the driver will cooperate  and give you the information.

Contact the driver’s insurance company. Tell them you want to file a property damage claim against their insured. You will be referred to a claims adjuster who will investigate the accident and decide whether to accept liability on behalf of the driver (their insured). Because the driver initially accepted liability for the accident, and you have a witness, it’s likely your claim will be paid without a problem.

In the unlikely event the insurance company refuses to pay for the repairs to your car, you have the option of notifying the driver you are holding him personally responsible for the repairs to your car. If he refuses to pay, you have the option of filing a small claims lawsuit against the driver.

Vermont small claims courts have “jurisdiction,” meaning authority, to hear cases up to and including $5,000. As long as the car repairs do not exceed $5,000, you will have a good chance of winning.

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: October 19, 2017

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