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TexLaw
TexLaw, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4430
Experience:  Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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My wife was backing out of a parking lot at a park and did

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My wife was backing out of a parking lot at a park and did not see any vehicles around her. She proceeded to slowly back out until she was hit by the car that was driving behind her. They did not exchange insurance at the time since our insurance card was at home, but they did exchange numbers. They called us today, two days after the fender bender, telling us that the cost for the repairs would be $673 dollars. The damage on both of our cars was very minimal (a few scratches 2-3" long). My question is, is it better to just pay them so we don't have to go through our insurance ($500 deductible with $40 monthly payments) and increase our rate or do I have a case with this being equal fault?
Hi,

Thanks for your question.

Was the car that she ran into moving forward at the time she bumped into it as she was backing up?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

yes

So, knowing more about the facts, would you say that the driver was not being very responsible by failing to yield to vehicle which was backing up and was clearly at a disadvantage as far as seeing the approaching vehicle?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Yes. My wife said she backed out very slowly and continued to look and did not see anything or hear any honking.

What state are you in?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Iowa

The law in Iowa states that when a person's own negligence is more than 51% of the fault for causing his own damages, that person may not recover from a Defendant who is only 49% at fault.

In this case, it is arguable that the fault is even, or that the person whom your wife backed into is actually more at fault than your wife.

So, you have a good defense in this case.

Now, the real question is what do you do about it.

Did your wife accept liability at the scene of the accident?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

She did not. She only stated she is sorry and that she could not see her.

My take on this is that you can deny liability on solid legal grounds and tell the person that they were contributorily negligent and thus have to cover their own damages.

If they actually want to try and press the case, you then turn it over to your insurance company and ask them to defend the case based on your denial of fault.

However, this is not the sort of thing that a lawyer would work on, and they would likely have to bring the claim in small claims court. If they did so, you could simply at that point either agree to pay, turn it over to your insurance company, or go to court and deny liability and assert that they are contributorily negligent (I think you would win).

In regard to your insurance. A small damage claim like this may still cause your rates to go up. But this is entirely up to the insurance company and depends on your claims history. If you haven't made any other claims and have a good driving record, a small fender bender like this may not affect your rates.

You can contact your insurance agent and ask them about what they think about whether this would cause your rates to go up or not.

Please let me know if you have any further questions. Please also kindly consider rating my answer positively so that I am compensated by the website for my work on your question. Rating positively does not cause an additional charge and does not prevent us from further discussing your questions.

Best Regards,
ZDN
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