What to do about a very minor fender bender in a parking lot?

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What to do about a very minor fender bender in a parking lot?

We were backing out of a store parking space and another person backed out at the same time. Our cars “Kissed” and left some minor scrapes, our van has a small dent while the other car has some scrapes only. The woman is trying to tell me she needs to have it go through her insurance and get 2 estimates, etc. I offered at the time to have our body guy fix it but now she wants to go through all this junk. I am on a fixed income as I am disabled. My 19 year old future son-in-law was driving my vehicle. The lady claims she stopped her car and beeped her horn. What should I do?

Asked on June 27, 2012 under Accident Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You can't prevent her from filing a claim, getting multiple estimates, or, for that matter, suing you if she wants to and feels she can prove that you (or in this case your future son-in-law, who you permitted to drive, and so whom you are responsible for) were at fault and caused her damage. You can offer to settle, as you have, but cannot compel settlement. If she refuses to settle, you can pay what she wants; defend against the claim, by either trying to refute fault (i.e. show your son-in-law was not negligent or careless; a driver is only liable to the extent he or she was at fault) or by showing that her damage/repair estimates are too high; or do nothing if all of your income is protected from garnishment (e.g. social security) and you have little or no assets/property, since in that case, even if you are liable, she cannot effectively recover anything from you.


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