Re: vehicle accident advice - Saab General Bulletin Board - Saabnet.com


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Re: vehicle accident advice
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Posted by Ari [Email] (more from Ari) on Tue, 20 Jan 2009 16:57:33 Share Post by Email
In Reply to: vehicle accident advice, yaofeng, Tue, 20 Jan 2009 11:40:00
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I'm not sure the ticket or fault matters from an insurance point of view.

If the truck driver decides to sue your son, then the ticket would be a piece of evidence if it ever goes to trial. Of course, your version, any evidence you provide, and possibly even testimony by the policeman would come into play. Let's hope that doesn't come to pass. The ticket is something, but not the be-all and end-all.

You should be very careful about those checks showing up. By signing them you may (or may not) be also providing a waver of liability - the opportunity to sue them. It's not about the metal bits - those are cheap. If your son has any physical issues from the accident, even minor issues outweight the cost of a used car.

My advice on the lawyer is not to use someone that contacts you - they're in the business of making a case, and your son is the vehicle (pun intended). Your best bet is to ask around - friends, neighbors, whomever (yes, being out of the country makes it tough) and find a local lawyer that you can hire by the hour. Yes it might cost you a couple of hundred bucks, but you can hire their time to ask some questions. You're paying for their time, so they're obligated to look out for your best interests. And with no promise of a big payday if they give the 'right' answer - right for them - you're more likely to get the real right answer.

Quite a few years back, I hit ice on the highway, spun out, and hit a bridge abuttment. The 900 gave up it's life for mine - a walk-away. While the car was spinning, I grazed a car that had spun out moments before - my bumper peeled the bumper cover off the other car, no other damage. I was given a ticket for driving too fast for conditions. True - any movement under those conditions was too fast.

My insurance company paid me (no-fault insurance), and the ticket wasn't a concern - they didn't car, and my insurance doesn't say it won't pay if you're at fault. If I had intentionally driven the car into a bridge, they'd have a case. I only found out there was another car involved when I read the ticket (I assumed I missed the other car as I spun by - I was preoccupied, what can I say?). Two years went by, and the other car never chose to sue, so I no longer cared. They'd be hard pressed - there was nobody in the car, and the cost of a suit would be much more than the price of a new bumper skin. Now, if he'd skinned his knee, that could be a lawsuit.

I've always assumed it is no-fault insurance in all states, but I can be wrong (I only play a lawyer on TV). If somebody is offering a check, they want you to go away. Now, if they're offering full price for the car, they're scared you might go after them for injuries. Typically they'll offer 50%- 60% of the car's 'value' - if you did sue, that's all you'd get after legal expenses.

Find a lawyer, if you don't already have one. They don't have to be the world's best trial lawyer, you're just looking to understand the basics of liability in your state. Tell them up front that you want to buy a short consult about an accident, and that you just want to understand your exposure. Don't let your son sign anything. However, if your son is completely and totally uninjured, they're offering the full price of the car, and a little something for his troubles (you mentioned two checks), you might just want to take it. Yes, they might be scared, but that doesn't mean that going for more makes sense.

Good luck!



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