This isn't the kind og turkey I had in mind.
November 20, 2007 12:01 PM   Subscribe

A guy driving his son's car backs into my wife's van, while my wife's dad is driving it. The guy admits fault, then changes his mind and his story. My in-laws never thought to file a police report or get contact information from the witness. Now we think that the vehicle that hit us may be uninsured. It all happened on private property. Help.

This all takes place in Virginia. My inlaws are in the minivan, bringing it home to us from the mechanic. There is an accident on the interstate, so they pull off the interstate onto a back road, where in a vacant lot, they see two guys, each in a pickup, talking out the window.

One of the pickup guys leaves and my father-in-law pulls into the spot where he was (alongside the other pickup) to ask the guy in the other pickup for directions. While he is doing this, the first guy decides he wants to tell his budy something else, so he throws it into reverse and backs into our van, despite the fact that my father-in-law is laying on the horn.

He breaks the hood and the grill, and is falling all over himself apologizing and admitting fault. Yet, my in-laws don't file a police report.

They call the guy's insurance, who calls the guy, who admits fault. Then, about five minutes later, he decides its his word against ours, so he calls and files a separate claim, saying my father-in-law hit him. His insurance company has told us that he did this.

Now, he refuses to give us any information on how to contact his son, the vehicle's owner, and he says he is really the victim here. To make matters worse, his insurance company is now saying that his son's vehicle isn't on the policy.

It looks like my only option is to go through my insurance company, but I really don't want to do this, if I can avoid it.

So, MeFites, please put on your IANAL outfits and help me out. Thanks as always.
posted by 4ster to Law & Government (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
you can try to sue this guy in small claims court, but is it worth it? i'd just turn the whole mess over to your insurance company.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 12:06 PM on November 20, 2007

Do they have insurance information for you or your in-laws. If so, I would worry about them making a claim. If this is a risk, you might be best off contacting your insurance company before they get a chance to do so.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:33 PM on November 20, 2007

Has anyone filed a police report? Go to the police station and see what your options are. I think you're supposed to file within 24 hours, but I'd give it a shot.

Regarding contacting the vehicle's owner, your insurance company will track him down as long as they have the VIN and the liscence plate. The driver at time of accident can withhold this info from you, but they can't hide from the insurance industry, which I'm pretty sure is more powerful than the gods.

You might end up sharing fault somehow, but it's better than giving in to this asshole.
posted by nax at 12:56 PM on November 20, 2007

I know you don't want to, but your insurance company will most likely be your best recourse. They have the resources to sort this out.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 1:00 PM on November 20, 2007

Good grief. This is a mess. Either A) Get a lawyer or B) Use your insurance company. This is not the sort of situation that will end well with Dear Abby type advice. This is not a manners or life experience question. This is a legal entanglement, it is a problem that money can solve. You cannot afford to skip the lawyer (or insurance company) on this one, it will bite you in the long term if you do.
posted by Happydaz at 1:05 PM on November 20, 2007

I've said it before, but it bears repeating. Call the cops whenenver an accident happens. No cop=no official witness= you are SOL when the other guy claims it wasn't his fault. If the cops balk at it just tell them your insurance company requires an official witness/report.
posted by Gungho at 1:11 PM on November 20, 2007

This probably wouldn't have helped in your case, but I keep a disposable camera in my car to document any accidents.
posted by neuron at 1:21 PM on November 20, 2007

In Boston you have 5 days to file a car accident with no injuries with the police. They won't show up unless someone is hurt. Check out what it is in your jurisdiction; maybe you have some time, especially if it happened only a few days ago.
posted by sutel at 1:26 PM on November 20, 2007

Err, make that 5 business days.
posted by sutel at 1:27 PM on November 20, 2007

Use your insurance company. This is what you pay them to do. They might (or might not, depending on what the policy says about claims with a clearly pursuable defendant) bump up your premiums for a year or two, but that would cost you a lot less than a lawyer would, and, being an insurance company, they will hound this guy to hell and back again.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 6:28 PM on November 20, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for all the good advice. Here is what ended up happening:

My neighbor, a police officer, contacted a friend who is an officer in the jurisdiction where this accident occurred. The second officer got in touch with the son of the guy who hit me (the son is the vehicle's owner). The son has apparently filed a claim and told them the truth.

Not surprisingly, the father told the son that he had already paid for the repairs.

Thanks again everyone for your help.
posted by 4ster at 8:49 AM on November 27, 2007

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