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dog got hit by a car, post-accident drama, what to do ?
  • wufanwufan
    Posts: 78
    Post edited by sunyata at 2014-03-05 14:05:51
  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3495
    Errm...Ok. # 1 - did your friend paid the first $500 in cash or with check? It is always better to play with something that they can keep a record of and prove to the court.

    #2 Its not like they were intentionally walking their dog offleash, he escaped.

    Honestly, if i was in your friends situation, I would not have paid the car owner. Even if there is no marked sign with speed limit, clearly they should have not been going fast enough to hit the dog, especially since it sounded like it was a residential area. If it escalates to a small courts, then I would just show up, explain how the dog got loose, and everything was accidental and not intentional. Your friend probably would have paid less, or nothing at all since the "scratch/dent" was barely noticeable.

    Tips for owners would be

    #1 take pictures of the car
    #2 take pictures of your dog
    #3 call police to document on paper
    #4 discuss with the car owner to see if you can settle this outside of the court
    #5 If needed, take it to small courts
  • AWE46M3AWE46M3
    Posts: 357
    Body work ok a car can be very expensive, especially because there can be instances of damage that are not easily spotted without removing parts. I've had two bumpers replaced on my wife's car for very, very minor accidents where she was not at fault and both times the repairs were around $1,700. If the car had additional scratches, then 200-200 for removing the dent and paint correction would be possible.

    That said, what was the basis your friend had for making the original payment? The did other person have a repair estimate? Did your friend make the other party sign something saying the payment represented a final settlement for the incident?
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8589
    Post edited by sunyata at 2014-03-05 15:35:55
    Posts: 189
    Agree with everything @Sunyata said! I think you should make that post a sticky.

    However, Your friend is now in stages beyond the info above.

    Unfortunately the fact that she paid $500 means nothing especially without a written agreement for what it was for. Doesn't matter if it was check, cash, or Money order. The Plaintiff can state that was for misc damages (ie. pain and suffering, lost wages, repair estimate costs etc). If the police has already put your friend at fault, there is a slim chance any judgement will be in their favor in court. Especially if they show a repair bill of 1500. If your friend decides to take the matter into civil court then its very easy for the car owner to go to a more expensive repair shop and get an estimate, charge for court costs, legal advice (if permissible), pain and suffering (if permissible), lost wages from work or business etc. It is very likely that your friend will loose the case. This is why parties at fault usually settle before going to trial, it is cheaper to pair a sum than to go to court.

    They should get a drafted letter and mail to to the victim (as deemed by the police) certified stating something along the lines as we agree to pay the 1500 in damages and you will consider this matter resolved with no further claim to any additional damages, monetary or otherwise. This letter would need to be notarized and signed by the victim claiming damages. Then no matter what they do your friend wouldnt need to pay more than 1500. The victim would then have a hell of a time taking them to court for it, also at their own expense, and not your friends. ... I can get my friend (Personal Injury lawyer) to send you an example of the letter if you would like. just PM me.
  • CaliaCalia
    Posts: 3664
    Post edited by Calia at 2014-03-05 16:18:55
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8589
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
  • ddavidddavid
    Posts: 94
    If the gal has Homeowners insurance, they should take care of everything required.
    How fast was the car travel ling ? And at which point did the dog make contact with the car? You mentioned front bumper. That to me tells me that the car exceeded the speed limit. Most residential areas in my state, California has a 25 mph speed limit which is apple to stop when a kid runs out to get his ball. My Shiba just last week got loose and ran straight up the middle of the road. And it was dark, late evening. The driver saw him, slowed down and diverted around him. Even though it was the girls responsibility having a loose dog, it also the drivers responsibility to obey driving speed and be alert in a residential neighborhood.

    For one, the driver should have received an estimate of total damages within a reasonable time. Which he did not. He can't come back 4 months later. And secondly the agreed on damage was $500.00 that is a verbal contract if not a written contract which should have absolved any and all discoveries, unless specifically specified in the contract as being otherwise. She doesn't owe anymore money. The man waited too long. And it was also his mistake to agree that $500 was sufficient to cover costs.

    At this point she should still demand a SHOP estimate, and past estimates. At LEAST 3 estimates. So can't come back later. I dunno, Attorney are expensive, I'd weigh Attorney costs over settlement costs. Or she can simple refuse to pay anymore claiming that both parties have settled. I doubt that he will hire an Attorney for a small sum of $1000 and probably, if any, will take it to Small Claims court. She can rebuttal and make a good case, and even counter sue for any amount paid over $500 the original settlement, claiming a good reason why she made another payment.
    A bit too lengthy to get into "How to prepare a Small Claims Court Action." The court cost are minimal, set by county, and runs around $75.00 (Small claims has a maximum amount which can be sued for.) Don't forget picture is a huge plus, pictures of everything, dog, road, car, as many as one can. Any contracts entered into, both verbal and written, If verbal compose a written from memory.
    Post edited by ddavid at 2014-03-05 19:49:32
  • LMSpostLMSpost
    Posts: 91
    Where does the owner of the car's insurance come in here? If I were your friend I would find more about their coverage and wether or not they reported it to their insurance co. Today I was talking to my insurance agent and they mentioned if I were to hit a deer and damage my vehicle it would be covered under comprehensive. This makes me wonder if the same goes for a domesticated animal.

    For example, let's say the dog was hit and the owners were not near by and there was no way to identify the owner... the car owner would be responsible for the repairs or would be making a claim to their insurance company. I don't see how the pet owner should be responsible for any repairs, I am actually surprised the car owner got any money at all out of your friend. If anything, I think paying their deductible would be the most I would think should have been paid.

    Post edited by LMSpost at 2014-03-05 21:24:16
  • Kira_KiraKira_Kira
    Posts: 2482
  • Kobe1468Kobe1468
    Posts: 1590
  • wufanwufan
    Posts: 78
    My friend did pay with a check and she should have evidence of that payment. They did not sign any written document. It was only verbal contract. My friend was in shock and was in no mood of negotiating. Her No.1 concern was the wellness of her dog. It's gated residential area for 200 clustered homes. The speed limit is 15m/h. I seriously doubt anyone could have hit a dog like that. But again I was not there. I am also interested in knowing what was on the police report that day.

    Thanks for all good advice. I am forwarding this to my friend. And for sure she should be the one to make the decision. Whether it's consulting an attorney or simply ignoring the request. I know it's very unfortunate. By the way, her dog is a small size GSD (by small he just past puppyhood and weighs less than a normal GSD). I think she was more happy to find out the dog was okay.

    I may update it later.
  • AWE46M3AWE46M3
    Posts: 357
  • omgtainomgtain
    Posts: 68
  • ddavidddavid
    Posts: 94
    Tort laws are pretty much the same in all states, they come from old English Law (Great Britain). And Auto Insurance company comprehensive follows the same too. Since this is Homeowner's dog, Homeowners insurance covers this incident. What does change are premiums, coverage deductibles, and amounts that can sued under small claims.
    That's why I suggest not getting an attorney involved due to the expense. $500 per hour can add up really fast into 10's of thousands. Speaking from experience. That's also why insurance companies will settle with the plaintiff even when the defendant is not at fault, plus the fact a jury is unpredictable (in larger cases than this one - of course.) Insurance companies want to close a claim ASP because of hidden liabilities.
    Also in this case the burden lies with the defendant (the dogs owner) up to the point of settlement $500 paid. Thereafter the burden lies with the car owner to proof the verbal contract was other than stipulated.
    If were her I'd contact my Homeowners insurance anyway to have a record and receive free advice. And thereafter simply wait it out until you hear from the plaintiffs attorney, if any. This is really not so complicated at all since it doesn't involve personal injury, although there is nothing to prevent the plaintiff to add personal injury up to a year later from the date of accident. That's really the worst nightmare scenario to keep in mind.
    Post edited by ddavid at 2014-03-07 02:09:16

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