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What legal recourse do I have when someone does not report accident to their insurance to repair damage they caused?

Torrance, CA |

While making a left turn had to stop because of Emergency Vehicle. Car behind hit left side of my car causing tail light and paint damage and dent to bumper. About $800 -$ 900 damage. Exchanged all required information. Called their insurance after several days and they advise person has not reported accident. It has been several weeks now. My insurance only covers liability on my car as it is 1997. Insurance Company advises they won't do anything until accident is reported.

Attorney Answers 6


  1. If you haven't done so already, you should have an appraiser inspect your car and write up an estimate as to the cost of repairs. You should also take photographs of the damage to your car. If police came to the scene of the accident and issued a report, you should obtain a copy. You should file a lawsuit in small claims court against the driver that caused the accident. It doesn't cost much to file in small claims court. You will need to hire a process server or sheriff to serve the other driver with the small claims complaint. You will be given a hearing date and time. Bring any witnesses that you might have. You might also want to bring photographs showing the layout of the roadway where the accident occurred in order to assist you with explaining to the judge how the accident occurred. Bring your repair estimate and photographs to he hearing, as well as any witnesses if you have any. You and defendant will be required to represent yourselves at the hearing. So the insurance company for the other driver cannot appear on his behalf and they can't hire an attorney to defend him. His insurance company will be obligated to pay the amount of the judgment entered in your favor. Bring all of your evidence and photographs and go prepared....if you lose, as the plaintiff you are not entitled to an appeal in small claims court. Good luck!

    ***This response is provided solely for general information purposes and is not intended as legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.


  2. You can file a claim with the other party's insurance company. Ask them to inspect your vehicle and pay for damages. If that does not happen, file in small claims.


  3. You have an equal responsibility to report the accident. You should have done it within 10 days. You need to file an SR1 with the DMV. You may have to sue the person in small claims court to recover.

    My answers are for general information only. They are not legal advice. Answers assume California law. I am licensed in California, only. Answers must not be relied upon.<br> <br> Legal advice and counsel must be based on the interplay between specific exact facts and the law. This forum does not allow for the discussion of that interplay. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if that interplay were explored during an attorney-client relationship. <br> <br> I provide legal advice and counsel during the course of an attorney-client relationship only. The exchange of information through this forum does not establish such a relationship. That relationship is established only by personal and direct consultation with me followed by the execution of a written attorney-client agreement signed by each of us.<br> <br> The communications on this website are not privileged or confidential. I assume no duty to anyone by my participation on Avvo because I have answered or commented on a question. Specifically, I assume no duty to respond to any question, comment, telephone call, or email.<br> <br> All legal proceedings involve deadlines and time limiting statutes. So that legal rights are not lost for failure to timely take appropriate action and because I do not provide legal advice or counsel in answer to any question, if you are an interested party you should promptly and personally consult an attorney licensed in the appropriate jurisdiction for advice and counsel. See, also, Avvo's terms and conditions of use, specifically item 9, incorporated by this reference.<br>


  4. Write a demand letter to the other side demanding repayment of your damages in full. Sue them in small claims if they don't pay. They and their carrier are idiots if they don't respond.


  5. You should file a police report regarding the accident. You should open a claims with the other party's insurance company and provide the insurance company with a copy of the police report. You should also file an SR-1 Form with the California Department of Motor Vehicles. On the form, you should leave the insurance information for the other party blank. If the other carrier does not pay your claim, you should file a small claim action against the driver and registered owner of the the other vehicle. If you were injured, contact a personal injury lawyer for advice.


  6. You need to file an SR1 with the DMV within 10 days from the accident since it is more than $750, and sue the person in small claims court. Goodluck!

    *Disclaimer: This response does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and I. I am not your lawyer and I am not representing you in the underlying issue stated in your question. The response I have offered is not intended to be relied upon, you should seek out an attorney to assist in this matter. You may contact me directly at (415) 362-6765 ext.120; website: www.wc-advocateforjustice.com. (Attorney for Law Offices of William E. Weiss)

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