Tractor accident, what are my rights? $18,945.14 being demanded I pay by leasing company – who owns the vehicle who hit me.

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Tractor accident, what are my rights? $18,945.14 being demanded I pay by leasing company – who owns the vehicle who hit me.

I was driving a tractor I had just borrowed, it was dark. Old tractor doesn’t have lights but a reflector only & I had a flashlight I was using to signal. I was moving the tractor to my barn, on the shoulder/dirt not on the street. Car hit me from behind. 4 cars were damaged no one rec’d a citation. Car who hit the tractor is leased. Leasing company demanding $18,945.00 because their investigation says I was at fault. I already had to pay the owner of the tractor $4,000 to repair it. I don’t believe I was at fault as the person who hit me should have seen the reflector/flashlight. HELP

Asked on April 27, 2009 under Accident Law, Texas

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

Whether you were negligent or not, and if you were, whether the driver who hit you was  guilty of contributory negligent, or had the last clear chance to avoid the accident, is and will be a question of fact.

From what you said in your post, if you were off the road and the tractor had the appropriate reflector you well may have no liability to the driver who rear-ended you. If the other driver was going too fast and his headlights failed to illuminate the road way he'd be at least contributorily negligent, and even if you were negligent he'd perhaps be more negligent than you and thus could not collect. If he can't collect, neither can the company he leased the car from.

But his story (assuming he ever showed up for trial) likely would be you were on the road, the tractor had no refelctor, or the reflector was not code compliant.

The reality is this involves so many facts and various peoples' credibility. That's why you have liability insurance.

Report the accident to your insurance company and your friend's insurance company. If there is insurance, they should defend you. If they don't, see a lawyer.

The problem is that if you start down the path the guy who hit you just might claim he suffered personal injury, and you owe him big bucks for that. Otherwise I'd tell the leasing company to fly a kite, but if they sue you, and he joins in with a personal injury claim (or the leasing company sues you and wins, and then he sues you, you'd be estopped from denying liability).

 

 

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