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Accident on private police report...can a civil lawsuit be filed?

Naperville, IL |

I got into an accident on private property. Police were called but they refused to file a police report since it was on private property. Me and the other party exchanged information and the police checked over it just to make sure it was correct.

Now my question: If the other party files a claim with my insurance company, how will they know that it's my fault? It's my words against their words. If they file a civil lawsuit against me, wouldn't it be the same: my words against their words since there is no proof?

I would like to pay them for damage (about $50 to fix a headlight that came off loose) but they seem like shady people. The guy wanted $500 in cash to fix a simple headlight. Even the cop said it would cost about $50-$75 to fix. I wouldn't mind just paying $100.

I think that they are people who would purposely damage their car to get more money out of me which I'm not willing to do. Another problem: If civil lawsuit is bought in court, does the court require to look at my driving record.

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Attorney answers 2


You should immediately report this incident to your automobile liability insurance carrier and provide them with all of the relevant information and cooperate with their investigation of the potential claim. Failure to notify your company about the accident may jeopardize your coverage, so you should not delay in reporting it.

You pay your insurance company a premium so that when you have an incident like this, they are the people responsible for investigating it, defending you and indemnifying you against any claim. If they believe that the claim is somehow trumped up by the other party, they will resist payment and defend you against any type of fraudulent claim.

It is unlikely that a suit would be filed against you for such a small claim, particularly when you have insurance coverage that will pay for it. If by any chance you went to court, your past driving record would not be admissible into evidence, as it would not prove how you drove at the time of the incident in question.

Legal Disclaimer:

Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to insure proper advice is received.


I don't know the precise facts of the accident, but I can tell you the first thing we do (other than Shakespeare's missive to "kill all the lawyers") is contact your insurance carrier immediately. Give them your story and facts supporting it (they will walk you through the process) and then relax as your insurance company will provide a defense if it ever does get to a lawsuit or a claim.

Granted, for a small amount of damage, it may just be that you'd rather "settle" for a small sum outside of your insurance assuming it was all or partially your fault. You can still elect to do this and I would discuss this with your insurance carrier when you speak to them on the phone.

You really don't have much to worry about so this should be easy to take care of.
Good luck.

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