Visitor Question

Injury claim for a bumper bump?

Submitted By: Kainoa (Kapolei, Hawaii)

Early in the morning a couple months ago I was coming off the freeway (not fresh off the off-ramp, there’s an intersection that I had stopped at prior to this one). I was feeling a little sleepy since I was dragged out of bed to drop my sister off in town, which is an hour drive at the time I drove her.

Pulling up to a main intersection, I was rolling to a stop and misjudged the distance, ending up in me colliding with the Honda Fit in front of me. We turned our hazards on, I approached her and asked if we could pull into the walmart right next to the intersection and she agreed.

Before I got back into my car she asked if I was alright, I was fine so I said yes, I asked her and she said yes also. We pulled into walmart and called the police, we swapped information and she got cited for expired insurance which I also had, but I found an updated pdf file version on my phone.

I didn’t take any pictures of her car but I did see it and there was just a small dent. She also did not seem hostile.

Skip to maybe around a week or three later and we find out she’s filing a claim for injury. We inquired with our insurance agent and she thinks the damages she reported are inconsistent with her claims, but they got an attorney and now we’re just waiting for the processing.

My question is, what are my chances in this case? What kind of financial compensation might they be looking for? Is this case in my favor? Is this as absurd as I think it is? Thank you for any information you can provide.

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 Kainoa,

All personal injury claims should be taken seriously, regardless of any perceived notion of liability, property damage, or personal injuries. This is especially true when the claimant has retained an attorney.

In your case there appears to be no issue of liability. You freely admit you struck the other driver from behind, ostensibly because you were “feeling a little sleepy.” While you don’t mention if the police officer issued to you a citation for violating Hawaii’s Following Too Closely statute, you could have been issued such a citation.

Hawaii’s Following Too Closely Statute can be accessed at Hawaii’ Revised Statutes Section 291C-50

Your insurance company’s claims adjuster is correct in stating the damages to the other driver (may be) inconsistent with her claim. Presuming the damage to the other driver’s car was in fact a small dent, the damages (property damage and personal injury) may be inconsistent with the driver’s claims.

At this point we do not know if the driver was injured and if so, how serious the injuries were. Nevertheless, the driver now has an attorney. You can be confident the attorney will vigorously pursue the claim.

Your chances depend upon your insurance company’s claims adjuster’s decision as to liability, and agreement to pay an amount commensurate with the driver’s property damage injuries.

Based on Hawaii’s Statutes, the claims adjuster will have no difficulty paying a reasonable amount for the property damage. However, whether or not the adjuster agrees to pay any additional amount for personal injuries depends on the existence, nature, and severity of those injuries, if any.

Unfortunately, other than providing your version of events, your insurance company’s decision is out of your hands.

Learn more here: Preventing Fake Injury Claims

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 888-972-0892.

Best of luck with your claim,

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