Can I sue for damages from an accident if I was not at fault and I have text messages to prove it?

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Can I sue for damages from an accident if I was not at fault and I have text messages to prove it?

I was in a car accident where the person rear ended me. I knew who he was and he begged me not to go through insurance and he would pay the damage. After I faxed him the estimate he ignored my calls and refused to give me his insurance information. I filed a claim since he said he wouldn’t pay the damages. His insurance is now saying I got the make and model of his car wrong and I can’t collect. Can I sue him since I have texts stating he would pay the damage, not bail on me, and then texts stating that he isn’t paying?

Asked on November 18, 2011 under Accident Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Did you show the text messages to the other driver's insurance company which would prove their insured is liable?

I assume there wasn't any police report of the accident because the police report would have identified the vehicles and both drivers/registered owners.

The other driver is liable for the accident since it was a rear-end collision.  If the insurance company continues to deny liability, proceed with your lawsuit for negligence against the other driver and also name the registered owner in your lawsuit if he/she is someone other than the driver.  Your damages (the amount you are seeking to recover in your lawsuit) would be the cost of repairs to your car.  You will need to mitigate (minimize) damages by selecting an auto repair shop whose charges are comparable to other auto repair shops in the area.  If you were to select the most expensive repair shop you could find, your damages would be reduced accordingly.  If you need a rental car while your car is being repaired, your damages should include the cost of the rental.  Again, you will need to mitigate damages by selecting a reasonable rental car/rental rate.  If you were to select the most expensive rental car you could find, your damages would be reduced accordingly.  If the insurance company accepts liability, it will probably have a maximum daily rental car rate.  Also, the insurance company won't pay for the collision damage waiver on the rental car.  If you have adequate insurance, you won't need the collision damage waiver.  Depending on the cost of repairs to your car, you might be able to file your lawsuit for negligence against the other driver in Small Claims Court.  Your damages should also include court costs.  Court costs would include the court filing fee and process server fee.


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