Minor fender bender. Do I have to file a claim?

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Minor fender bender. Do I have to file a claim?

My 17 year old son was in a minor fender bender on private property. No police reprot was filed but they exchanged information and my son took pictures of the minor dent in the bumper. Estimated cost of repair is 700.00. Can I just pay for the repairs or do I have to file with my insurance. Deductible is $500 – $1000 and I don’t want his rates to go up.

Asked on April 21, 2009 under Accident Law, Idaho

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Even though I am a lawyer, I am NOT a lawyer in Idaho nor YOUR lawyer, and this is intended as practical advice, not legal advice.

Paying for the property damages out of pocket is a common occurrence in these circumstances. The danger however always is that the other driver and any passengers may then turn around and sue your son for claimed personal injury. If you admitted liability by paying the property damages and you did not timely notify your insurance company about the incident it can claim you failed to report or cooperate and then attempt to deny liability.

Without suggesting what you should do, if you are willing to pay out-of-pocket without admitting or denying liability, at least make sure you get a General Release from the other car owner, driver, and every passenger in both cars so you don't walk into a potential buzz saw.

There may also be reporting requirements to the DMV or other authorities, but I leave that to you to figure out


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