Advice needed. My 18 year old son apparently backed into a car parked on the road, while reversing from a driveway. He borrowed my car and returned it without incident. Then, 5 days later, he received a phone call saying he hit a parked car that belonged to a neighbor who lives across the street. Being the responsible person he is, my son called the lady and said "Apparently I hit a car on such a date?"
The woman says "yes you did and the damages are approximately $2500, but we only want $500 for our deductible and we won't implicate police" So my son went about pawning his guitars and amplifiers to pay the lady, but told me it was to pay for University he just started. Apparently they made an agreement the money would be paid by that Friday, but come Friday when my son hadn't accumulated that much money, he told me about the incident and that the lady was now harassing him.
Later on that night, my ex husband called me to say that our son was implicated in an incident he wasn't sure had even occurred, because he received a call from the woman. While speaking with her, he immediately told the woman that his truck had no damage to it as he inspects it every morning. But he assured the woman he would get back to her when he had more information.
Because our son had my car that evening, I called the woman myself to see if she could enlighten me as to what was really going on. I recorded the conversation I had with her, and informed her I was recording later on in the conversation. I asked her to tell me herself what had occurred and she proceeded to tell me how she witnessed a "light colored truck, or high vehicle" back into her son's Honda Civic. (I assumed she said truck because my ex told her there was no damage to his truck). When I indicated to her that my son was not driving a truck at all, and in fact, had my car, she quickly iterated "oh yeah, you drive a Volkswagen."
I drive a white Impala, for the record, and the pictures of her son's Honda Civic shows dents closer to the bottom of the door, and right under the mirror. My bumper protrudes 17 inches from the ground to 24 inches in height at max. The dent under the mirror is at least 27 to 30 inches from the ground.
My car isn't new and has some rust, some scratches, etc. and there happens to be black scuff marks on my rear passenger corner, consistent with what the investigating officer says occurred. Also, my bumper has no cracks or dents (and it's foam filled) and the Honda Civic has $2500 damage! When the officer was here, he took pictures of my car with a measuring tape (the other vehicle pictures have no measuring tape) but the officer did say to me "...if he did in fact talk to the lady and arrangements were made, I can't charge him with Fail to Remain.
That was the only thing he was charged with! Whether we believe he struck that vehicle or not, he did make contact with her, so why this charge?
Can I even argue the fact that the woman was making up stories as she went along, that it had already been brought to a Collision Centre before the police were implicated? My son was designated driver that night and a 17 year old, who had 3-4 drinks that night, said he believes my son hit a car because he felt the car "jerk" when my son reversed. How do I fight this??
Any advice is appreciated, thank you in advance.
I suggest you quickly pay the neighbour her $500 and move on. From the sounds of things, your son was not forthright with either you or your ex; and certainly didn't volunteer any information about his 'arrangement' with the neighbour. If he was innocent, why would he go through such steps. Smells like a 'cover up' to me. The reference to the 17 year old also raises some concerns. Was your son hanging out with a 17 year old who was illegally drinking? Either way, something smells fishy about your son's story and I don't think there are too many people who are likely to buy his story. If your son is ever cross-examined, I suspect the real story will be quite different from what you're believing. Who knows, maybe he was also drinking and didn't want to call the police because he knows he would have been in contravention of his driving restrictions???
Bottom line: your neighbour seems to be acting quite nice. Most folks would come after your son for the full cost of their repairs, not just their insurance deductible. After all, why should her insurer be on the hook for anything?
I therefore suggest you seriously consider quickly paying her, get a good well-written full waiver/release (so that her insurer can't come after your son later for reimbursement of anything IT pays), and move on. I suspect, the longer you delay this, the costlier its likely to become.
I appreciate your advice but did you read the entire post? It's too late for any arrangement with the woman, she called the police when my son didn't pay her and the officer said both parties go through their own insurance company should they wish to make a claim.
What about the woman telling me that she witnessed a light colored truck or high car hitting her son's car? My Impala barely clears my driveway, it scrapes if I go in from an angle. My car's height is lower than the damage on the car.
And he returned the car to me; and being a mother, I inconspicuously look for the sings of drinking, even though he insists he will never drink alcohol (Neither do I, ever.) But there was no smell of alcohol on his breath, he didn't appear to have been drinking, his speech wasn't affected, etc.
I don't think I'm a blinded mother, I think it's possible the other car could have been hit by a truck like she said she saw, I don't understand why it's difficult for some to see clear facts.
But thanks again.
If your son was charged with Fail to Remain that means there must be some evidence of a collision. Such being the case, then the officer also didn't buy your son's story either.
As for paying the neighbour and resolving this quickly, it seems that ship has likely sailed. Don't be surprised if the neighbour's insurer seeks claim for anything it pays out. Fault determination rules are not dependant on convictions. You should also look up the concept of 'subrogation claims' as this will likely present itself in the near future in one way or the other. Unfortunately, sometimes folks dwell on petty aspects and fail to see an easier and much cheaper option when its presented. The aggravation and expense that is likely possible far outweighs the $500 that could have quickly reolved this! Hopefully this doesn't become a very expensive lesson for your family. Regardless, I bid you good luck with your case(s).
It's not all cut and dry, unfortunately... Thanks a million for your words of wisdom
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