Someone hit my truck! what to do about it ?
November 12, 2010 11:35 AM   Subscribe

An uninsured motorist hit my car. What are my options ?

Some idiot ran a stop sign and hit my car. He got cited for running the stop sign, and for not having insurance. I've got the police report and all of that.

I've got a couple of estimates - it's about 2000 dollars to repair. The damage is almost entirely cosmetic, but rust is a concern where the paint was removed on the bottom and underside of the body. I already had the door fixed so that it will open. The truck is a 2009 Tacoma. I have uninsured motorist coverage, and the deductible is 750 dollars.

Looking him up on CCAP reveals that he's been cited a few other times in the past few months, and that someone else has obtained judgment against him for about 800 dollars. He hasn't fulfilled any of those obligations (around 1800 dollars in total). He hit me with a POS 95 Beretta in really bad shape.

So, should I pay to get the truck fixed and go after him myself ?

or, have the insurance company do that, and just pay the dedictible ? Will this affect my rates ?

Not fix it and still go after him for the lost resale value ?

Some other option I haven't considered ?

I'm pretty PO'd about this, and Mrs. Fuzzybutt is of the opinion to just let it go. I'm not real sure what to do. I'm not real confident he's gonna be able to pay, and I really don't want to have to lay out 750 dollars just before the holidays - But I do want some compensation for either the lost resale value or the repair.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt to Work & Money (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I got rear-ended by an uninsured motorist a few years ago. The kind of person who does this sort of thing - which is to say, regularly slam into other peoples' vehicles while sans insurance - is not always the kind of person who is easy to track down OR easy to coerce into fulfilling their obligations. You or I? We'd do the right thing, even if it was painful. Uninsured Hazardous Motorists of America Local 86? Not so much.

In my case, after months and months of hellish frustration and tears, I elected to pay for the repairs myself. And immediately get comprehensive coverage with a super-low deductible.

You'd be well within your rights to go after him for the damages, of course. But Mrs. Fuzzybutt's hunch - that pursuing this may be WAY more painful and frustrating than just coughing up the cash - is probably right.
posted by julthumbscrew at 12:09 PM on November 12, 2010

$750 will get your truck fixed and back on the road. Going after the guy that hit you will take months and you will most likely not have cash in hand for a very long time. I am not sure what the laws are there, but in CA you can have your insurance pay for the damage and use the money however you want. So I would go and get a high quote, shell out the $750 for the deductible, get my truck fixed on the cheap, and then take a much smaller loss. You paid for uninsured motorist for a reason...use it.
posted by Felex at 12:17 PM on November 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: So, should I pay to get the truck fixed and go after him myself ?

You pay your insurance company to deal with this stuff, let them. They have lawyers who are experienced in taking people to court and getting judgments upheld, AND knowing when it's worth even trying to do that. For $2000, they probably won't do much because they are saving those lawyers for cases where the judgment is more than the cost of the lawyers' time.

If your goal is to make yourself whole, take the insurance route and never think of this again. If you want revenge against the guy who hit you, try and deal with it yourself but expect to do no better than the last person to win a pointless judgment against this guy.

Uninsured motorist coverage is usually a very tiny portion of your overall rate (IIRC $4 out of $100), so even if it was affected, it wouldn't make a noticeable change in premium. From a underwriting perspective, your risk of being hit, when not at fault, is more a factor of how many uninsured motorists there are in your state, so there's nothing that you've done that indicates your risk profile has changed.
posted by nomisxid at 12:20 PM on November 12, 2010 [2 favorites]

This is the reason you pay for uninsured motorist coverage, in case an uninsured motorist hits you. The reason that this guy is driving around in an old car in really bad shape, without insurance and with an outstanding judgment against him is probably not because he has been saving that money to make you whole. Avoid the headache and call your insurer.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 12:23 PM on November 12, 2010 [3 favorites]

Check your policy.
Depending on your insurance carrier, if you have uninsured motorist coverage, it may be only for bodily injury. Sometimes property damage is seperate.
posted by smelvis at 12:37 PM on November 12, 2010

nthing insurance. And if you're POed, write a polite letter to the DMV and the police documenting why this guy should be off the roads, and then let it go.
posted by zippy at 12:45 PM on November 12, 2010

Yes, pay your deductible and let insurance deal with. Your rates don't go up if you're in an accident that's not your fault.
posted by IanMorr at 1:01 PM on November 12, 2010

This exact same thing happened to me, except I live in New York, where it is required that you have auto insurance. The driver who hit my (parked) car did not, but lied and told me that they did (and that they would pay for the repairs, but after a month, still didn't have the money). It looks like you are required to have auto insurance in WI (I am assuming that's where you live):

You have insurance (and uninsured motorist coverage) for a reason--what's the point of paying for it if you're not going to use it?

For what it's worth, my rates did not go up, my insurance went after the uninsured driver on my behalf, and my insurance refunded my deductible.
posted by inertia at 1:14 PM on November 12, 2010

This guy is probably judgment-proof, i.e. he has no money, so even if you sue and win, good luck ever seeing a penny. You'll just be in line with all the other people the guy apparently owes money to.
posted by elpea at 3:12 PM on November 12, 2010

i had this happen to me a couple of years ago. i got rear ended my mr. uninsured (who then gave me a card for an attorney as opposed to insurance information. my situation was worse--when he hit me, i was pushed into the car in front of me, who then sued me.

my insurance covered it. they told me that if they ever got money from the other guy they'd pay back the deductible. of course, i haven't seen it yet.

i did make it a point to go to court--multiple times--to make sure mr. uninsured got justice in that way. that actually took some effort as i missed his first court date and he thought he got off scott free.
posted by lester at 3:55 PM on November 12, 2010

Best answer: From Ms. Vegetable (who has in fact recently worked on WI auto insurance rates): Your rates should NOT go up as a result of this accident. Uninsured motorists coverage is generally not affected by factors like age/sex/driving history (while the rest of your coverages are). There are state laws that prohibit increasing rates for a UM claim. If your rates go up at your renewal, switch insurance companies.

@IanMorr: While I would love to say that you're right, your rates can and do go up in Wisconsin if you are in an accident that is "not your fault." Examples: you are partially at fault, or you failed to yield, or you stopped without warning and somebody rear-ended you, or you cut into a lane and somebody hit you, etc.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 4:25 PM on November 12, 2010

Once you get a judgement against him and he drags his feet in paying you, you can get a "request and order to seize property. Then you can go with a marshall to take his Beretta in lieu of payment. You would be doing the world a favor.
posted by Maxwell_Smart at 5:35 PM on November 12, 2010

Earlier this year I was rear-ended, from both of us being at a complete stop, by this "charming" guy who had ZERO required paperwork. No valid license, proof of insurance or registration. He asked me who I was insured with and he said "Me, too!" Wrong. I called for the police and they sent a Community Service Officer, and he Was.Not.Cited for anything!
To this date, he has yet to respond to my ins. co's many requests. Total scumbag.

That being said, my insurance covered the damages to my car and additional physical therapy since I'd had shoulder surgery a couple months before and the impact aggravated my shoulder.

Uninsured motorist coverage is a very good thing. Oh, and since I was not in any way at fault for this accident, it had no ill affects to my insurance rate.
posted by SoftSummerBreeze at 7:35 AM on November 13, 2010

Response by poster: I'm gonna file a claim on Monday - that's the direction I was leaning anyway, but it's good to have some confirmation that I'm not missing something.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:55 AM on November 13, 2010

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