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Car insurance/liability question...

mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
edited May 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
So, just out of curiosity...

Say we have these neighbors, right. We're in a duplex. The driveway isn't "separated" per se, but there is a very clear dividing line down the middle between our two garages, with plenty of space between the two. Say our neighbors have the incredibly frustrating tendency to park their cars in our driveway (as in, behind our garage door).

So say one day my wife forgets to check to make sure that these fuckheads haven't parked in our driveway. She uses the little remote to open the garage door, and backs out. And damages their car in the process. Should we be, or more importantly are we, liable for that?

This happened like a month ago, too...the guy nextdoor hadn't said shit since. But now that I'm home (I go to school in another town, so I'm not around much during the school year) he decided to talk to me asking if we had insurance coverage and what not. "No rush" he says. Yeah, no rush indeed, you prick fuck.

So yeah, obviously the next step after getting some input from people who may or may not know what they're talking about (you guys) will be to call my insurance company and see what they think. I have coverage, obviously, but I don't think I should have to cover the deductible (couple hundred bucks) on this bullshit. He was parked in our fucking driveway.

And in case anybody is wondering, the damage was definitely much more than our deductible.

TL;DR version: I know that generally if you're backing up you're automatically at fault, but is there any sort of exception for when fuckheads park without your permission in your driveway? I'm only looking for a "no fault" here, since there was absolutely no damage to our vehicle.

EDIT: If it matters, we rent rather than owning. Same landlord for both sides of the duplex.

mcdermott on

Posts

  • MalkorMalkor Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    This is me shooting from the hip, but wouldn't he be at fault since he parked right behind your garage door? He probably has his own space where his car is supposed to go. It should have been there, not impeding your wife's car. The insurance system in this country is gibberish to me though, so I'm probably wrong. Call up ur dudes!

    14271f3c-c765-4e74-92b1-49d7612675f2.jpg
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    Malkor wrote: »
    This is me shooting from the hip, but wouldn't he be at fault since he parked right behind your garage door? He probably has his own space where his car is supposed to go. It should have been there, not impeding your wife's car. The insurance system in this country is gibberish to me though, so I'm probably wrong. Call up ur dudes!

    Well, I'm hoping it's more of a no-fault situation, where we're both responsible for dealing with our own vehicles. I'm just hoping that maybe somebody else has experience with such an accident/claim that occurred on private property/their own fucking driveway.

    And yeah, seriously I don't think I should have to pay shit since he was parked in our driveway. But that's just me, and I don't trust our legal system to feel the same way.

  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    Well, it's a shared driveway to a duplex.

    Was he parked, like, totally in front of the garage, or was his car just sticking a little onto your side? i.e., if your wife was looking where she was going, should she have seen the car?

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    Thanatos wrote: »
    Well, it's a shared driveway to a duplex.

    Was he parked, like, totally in front of the garage, or was his car just sticking a little onto your side? i.e., if your wife was looking where she was going, should she have seen the car?

    Well, that's part of the problem. If he had actually been parked directly behind her, she probably would have had little chance of seeing it (she's in an SUV, it's a passenger car, and our driveway slopes downward).

    As it stands his car was basically just sticking out about a foot in front of our garage. So in theory if she had checked her driver's side mirror, she might have seen it (but still would not have in the rearview mirror).

    It is a shared driveway, but there is about 6 feet between the two garages and a clear line down the center. Basically, the family next door owns like three or four cars, so they run out of parking and use ours. On the morning in question they had one in the garage, one in front of their garage, and one parked right next to that one, mostly in the "dead space" between garages, but partly in front of our garage.

    His excuse on this particular morning was that he though she'd be at work by then...she had taken a day off instead.

    Amazingly, they haven't parked on our side since. We had hoped since they hadn't brought up filing a claim and/or compensation since that they were instead accepting that they were fuckheads, and taking responsibility for their own fuckheadedness. We were wrong, obviously.

  • MalkorMalkor Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    Did you take pics?

    14271f3c-c765-4e74-92b1-49d7612675f2.jpg
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    Yeah, that's a pretty dumbshit thing to do. Accident rules get a little weird, but I think it's probably your fault, though if they were to haul you into a small claims court, the judge would almost certainly find for you.

    I think you're probably fucked, but you may want to talk to a cop/insurance agent you know first (not your insurance agent), to see what they think.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    Malkor wrote: »
    Did you take pics?

    Unfortunately, no.
    Yeah, that's a pretty dumbshit thing to do. Accident rules get a little weird, but I think it's probably your fault, though if they were to haul you into a small claims court, the judge would almost certainly find for you.

    I think you're probably fucked, but you may want to talk to a cop/insurance agent you know first (not your insurance agent), to see what they think.

    Hmmm....I don't know any insurance agents, and don't have contact info handy for any cops.

    I really am tempted to just tell them to take me to court, if they feel like taking their chances. I'm pretty confident that you're right, and that a judge would find in our favor...especially since we're not seeking any money from them. At that point I suspect they'd just go ahead and have their insurance cover it, and pay their own fucking deductible.

    EDIT: Thanks for the input, Than...I'm thinking at this point we can probably leave this open, but I'll say that the only further responses I'd be looking for are from people who have been in incredibly similar situations. Who knows, maybe somebody has. Otherwise this can just die a slow and natural death.

  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    It's weird that he would wait a month. Like, how do you bring that up to the insurance people (or the police, as many insurance companies request a police report if they assign fault) -- "Oh, I got hit by someone in my driveway about 45 days ago, and I thought maybe I'd let you know."

    If he was a penny arcade forumer, he'd probably be making a post with "I think my neighbor hit my car a month ago, but I don't really know what I should do."

    Either way, it doesn't matter where he parked -- your wife hit him. He could be completely on his side, or behind her, or whatever. She still hit another car with her car. His car was not moving, nor did it have someone in it, so he did not cause the accident. Even though he owns way more cars than he likely needs or even uses, that's a different issue.

    It's up to you if you want to talk to him about it or wait it out. It's also up to you if you want to pay for the damage out of pocket or let your insurance do it if you do pay for it, as filing a claim will cause your insurance to go up for 3 years (at which point you'd be able to change companies).

    || Flickr — || PSN: EggyToast
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Hmmm....I don't know any insurance agents, and don't have contact info handy for any cops.

    I really am tempted to just tell them to take me to court, if they feel like taking their chances. I'm pretty confident that you're right, and that a judge would find in our favor...especially since we're not seeking any money from them. At that point I suspect they'd just go ahead and have their insurance cover it, and pay their own fucking deductible.
    Here's the thing, though: they probably don't actually need to take you to court.

    They put in a claim on their insurance, their insurance tells your insurance, your insurance charges you (since it's technically your fault). If your insurance were to fight it, they may win, but I doubt they would.

    How much is he claiming in damages? It may be worth it to just settle without involving insurance.

  • witch_iewitch_ie Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    I'm not sure what an insurance company would say specifically about this situation, but they usually tell their customers to call in an accident as soon as it happens. I think this gives you and your wife a better chance should this go to court, because the judge would certainly want to know why they waited a month to bring it up. Did your neighbors say anything to your wife during this past month or just wait for you to come home?

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    Well, he definitely knew what happened and when...my wife actually had to get him to move his car so that she could get out successfully on the second attempt. So it's not really a "hit and run" issue.

    What he told me today was that he was going to try and see if he could "buff it out" first...but there was a little bit of obvious denting, so I think that's horseshit. My suspicion is that since he's old and from Montana he was waiting to deal with the man of the house, and not involve the wimminfolk.

    Anyway, regarding the whole "hit another car with her car" issue...I know that this is almost always the case, but I also know that there are exceptions. For instance, a buddy of mine in high school managed to get out of paying for damages when somebody had parked illegally (they had a trailer on their truck, which protruded a couple feet in front of his driveway). He had to cover his own damages, mind you...but didn't have to cover theirs. I was hoping that maybe somebody had had a similar experience regarding "parked in my fucking driveway without my permission."

    EDIT: No, they hadn't said a thing to my wife since the accident. As far as damage goes, there's damage to three panels of the car (front passenger fender, and both passenger-side doors). Mostly paint, but what appears to be some denting as well. I have no fucking idea what that would cost, and am kinda scared to find out. Late model car, Buick IIRC.

  • Peter PrinciplePeter Principle Registered User
    edited May 2007
    I'm just guessing here as well, but let me hypothesize from a different perspective. He was parked on your property without permission. That means technically he was trespassing, and thus parked illegally. Parking where you should not park shifts the legal burden (EDIT - for accident related damages) to the one who was illegally parked.

    My vague suspicion is that you might have a legal leg to stand on in claiming that the neighbor is at fault in this situation, and thus bears the burden of financial responsibility here, not your wife.

    Probably depends on your state laws, though. Why don't you take a quick look through your local statutes if you've got a half hour to kill?

    "A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people's business." - Eric Hoffer, _The True Believer_
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    Hell, walk down to the police station and ask.

  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    I'm just guessing here as well, but let me hypothesize from a different perspective. He was parked on your property without permission. That means technically he was trespassing, and thus parked illegally. Parking where you should not park shifts the legal burden (EDIT - for accident related damages) to the one who was illegally parked.

    Well, if it's shared, and both of them rent, then it's not his property nor is it illegal parking. It's already private property, so unless the city checked out the parking area and split the driveway, it's just an arbitrary line that the landlord painted on.

    Kind of like when a neighborkid leaves a bike on shared land in a townhouse neighborhood. People will probably have some bushes and shrubs up that makes it look like its their own, but it's still shared. I assume the shared parking area is a gentleman's agreement, but if there IS a clause in the rental policy that says you will have full access to your own parking and driveway, then you've got a good point to argue to at least split the difference.

    If it's an older car, fixing paneling is not that expensive. You could talk to the guy about splitting the difference, since the best scenario is likely that you were both in the wrong -- he parked a little on your side, and your wife should have just asked him to move before she got in the car in the first place.

    || Flickr — || PSN: EggyToast
  • Peter PrinciplePeter Principle Registered User
    edited May 2007
    EggyToast wrote: »
    Well, if it's shared, and both of them rent, then it's not his property nor is it illegal parking.

    IF it is explicitly stated in the lease that it is shared that's true, but I'd be surprised if it were.
    It's already private property, so unless the city checked out the parking area and split the driveway, it's just an arbitrary line that the landlord painted on.

    It may be an arbitrary line created by the landlord, but if the landlord arbitrarily divides the driveway in half and says "that's yours and that over there is his" that doesn't change the fact that each area is the property of the respective renter. The rules of domicile and tresspass apply in such an instance (as long as it doesn't contradict state or local law, of course).

    "A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people's business." - Eric Hoffer, _The True Believer_
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