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I accidentally nicked someone's car door while getting out of their car and he wants me to pay. Am I legally obligated?

Milwaukee, WI |

The scratch is very tiny and can only be seen when the car door is opened. He pulled right next to a plastic sign and I didn't see it.

so even though he's only requesting $100, make him go through my insurance company? he said typically, it'd cost a few hundred but a "buddy" of his is going to do the work.. i can guarantee he will take my $100 and pocket it... if i paid him directly, can i make him sign some sort of documentation that he won't come after me for additional money? Also, shouldn't he be responsible since I was a passenger and he was the one driving? If a person accidentally stains someone's car seat would they be held responsible? Seems as if it's the same type of unintentional mistake.

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Attorney answers 4


You probably have liability insurance on your car. You can tell the other car owner to make a claim against your insurance company and your insurance company can figure out what, if anything to pay him. That's what you pay insurance for.


Insurance should cover it, if not, have them take you to small claims court to substantiate damages. Never pay anyone directly without a release of liability, or they will come back for more money.

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I would take pictures of it, get a release, and pay a minor amount. Some body shops will even fix it for free.

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If you have your own car, you probably have liability insurance coverage. Provide the other car owner with your insurance information and have him make a claim. Do not pay for the damages on your own without obtaining a full release of all liability. Your insurance company will make certain all the proper releases are executed.

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