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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Small Town, Iowa
    Posts
    24

    Default Accident in a Borrowed Vehicle Due to Icy, Snowy Roads

    My question involves an accident from the state of: IOWA

    In Dec 2009 I lived with an (ex) boyfriend. I currently did not have a car and was using his 2002 Avalanche. Due to very icy/snowy roads I hit a patch of ice and smacked into the back of a parked vehicle.

    I had liability insurance, but was not aware he had NO insurance. Long story short, my insurance covered the other vehicle. Unfortunately, his vehicle was not covered.

    I actually moved out the next month (had already signed a lease before this happened). He has never requested any money...other than demanding I switch my insurance to full coverage, take his Mercury Grand Marquiz and hit his Toyota with it for the insurance money. (He has his dealers license and buys and sells vehicles) Suffice to say...we were not only broke up, but not friends after that.

    Today...I received notice I was being sued in small claims court for $5000 stemming from that accident.

    It was my fault, yes...but not due to negligent driving...just bad roads...and worse luck.

    Am I liable to pay the damages? I know he was legally responsible for having insurance on his vehicle..and truly thought he did...but I don't know if I have to pay for his vehicle? I have always carried insurance...had I known he didn't have any...I would have raised mine to full coverage for the period I was driving his vehicle....but he said he had insurance???

    Please help me. I can't afford a lawyer...I just wish I knew where I stood on this. I truly feel horrible it happened...but it was just an accident...and we were together?? Can a spiteful significant other truly come back 2 years later to sue for something he gave you permission to use...and negligently told you he had insurance on???

    Thank you kindly...

    Michelle

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: Accident in a Borrowed Vehicle (Previous Boyfriend) Due to Icy/Snowy Roads

    Not to be mean or anything, but why should you not be held responsible?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    LA LA Land
    Posts
    9,175

    Default Re: Accident in a Borrowed Vehicle (Previous Boyfriend) Due to Icy/Snowy Roads

    ... and not to make matters worse, but:

    Quote Quoting maher2229
    View Post
    I know he was legally responsible for having insurance on his vehicle..and truly thought he did...
    It appears to me from what little research I did in Iowa statutes, that you as a driver, are just as responsible for insuring the vehicle you drive as the owner is. So regarding your previous question:

    Quote Quoting maher2229
    View Post
    Am I liable to pay the damages?
    You already have the answer, and it is in the fact that your insurer covered the damages to the parked vehicle under your liability policy... Only bad thing is that your "liability' policy only covers damages to that third party, but not yours or his.

    In other words, you, as the driver of a vehicle (regardless of who owns it), are responsible to damages you caused to the vehicle you were driving as well as damages that you caused to any other vehicle as a result of an accident. You got lucky in that you had liability insurance to cover the other vehicle but weren't lucky enough to have full coverage to cover the vehicle you were driving!

    The question then becomes two fold, question number one:

    1) Is he suing you within the statutory period allowing for a civil suit as a result of monetary damages? Likely yes, but you'll have to look into what Iowa's statute of limitations is for unsecured personal debt.

    and more importantly, question number two (although this one can get complicated):

    2) Can he provide proof that his damages totaled $5000? Does he have estimates (or since it has been over 2 years) does he have repair bills showing a total cost of $5000? If not, his word that the cost to repair the damages totaled $5000 is not likely to be sufficient. In reality, the fact that he is in the business of buying and selling cars, he may have sold it "as is", and it maybe true that he took a loss on it at the time of sale (compared to what he paid for it when he bought it), but even then, I'm not so sure that would fit the bill to justify his "damages" as a result of the accident considering the fact that part of the difference between purchase price and sale price could be attributed to the use of the vehicle, and not strictly due to the damages from the accident.

    Keep in mind that if he is in the business of buying and selling cars, it is highly likely that he knows people "in the business" who may be able to fudge an estimate or a repair bill and back date it to fit the scenario.... So you'll have to proceed with caution as you proceed...

    Good luck!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    South-Central Cali
    Posts
    1,276

    Default Re: Accident in a Borrowed Vehicle Due to Icy, Snowy Roads

    Quote Quoting maher2229
    View Post
    Today...I received notice I was being sued in small claims court for $5000...

    Please help me. I can't afford a lawyer...
    First, take a deep breath, and RELAX. People typically represent themselves in small claims court -- not attorneys. Iowa allows folks to hire an attorney for small claims, but it's not required. The Iowa Courts call it "a low-cost, simple process for resolving civil disputes involving small amounts of money" and "small claims hearings shall be simple and informal."

    See this Iowa Courts page for more information on how to proceed (you need to file an answer using a simple form). See also their tips on representing yourself. Maybe get a NOLO book or two on Representing Yourself and on the Small Claims process.

    It will be your ex's responsibility to show that (a) you were responsible and (b) you owe $5000. As the website recommends, "If you...want some assistance preparing your case you might consider retaining a lawyer for an hour or so to look over your case and point out strong and weak points."

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    CT & IL
    Posts
    5,276

    Default Re: Accident in a Borrowed Vehicle Due to Icy, Snowy Roads

    Hummmm...since he was not insured could it be possible that the OP's insurance could cover the damage if an underinsured/noninsured provision is in the OP's policy? I would think no, since full coverage is not required...but I'll toss it up for discussion.

    But yes, you can be found liable ... PLUS is sounds like you two were involved with an insurance fraud incident, if I read your post correctly..


    other than demanding I switch my insurance to full coverage, take his Mercury Grand Marquiz and hit his Toyota with it for the insurance money


    And it sounds that in lieu of paying him, you participated in this insurance fraud....is this correct?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Small Town, Iowa
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: Accident in a Borrowed Vehicle Due to Icy, Snowy Roads

    Absolutely NOT davidmcbeth3...I REFUSED to participate in his scheme. Yes, I understand his loss, and yes, I felt horrible. But is it worth breaking the law and injuring myself or someone else so he could recoup his losses??? NO.
    I hit a parked car on accident due to slippery roads from a snowstorm. I had liability only (he had already told me he had insurance on the vehicle...being a 2002 Avalanche I assumed it was full coverage). After the accident...within days he demanded that I raise my liability to full coverage...and then use two of the other vehicles he owned...and crash one into the other. That way my insurance would total out one vehicle and fix the other so the two checks he would receive would partially cover the money he lost on the Avalanche. I refused. He kept at me for some time stating "it was the least I could do" so he could recoup his money.
    This is where things go from bad to worse. Since I refused to participate in insurance fraud...he became irate, and contact between us came to a stop. During this short period after the accident, he had agreed to sell me a Jeep Cherokee (another car he owned) on payments...for which was completed a while back. Virtually no contact during this time...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    CT & IL
    Posts
    5,276

    Default Re: Accident in a Borrowed Vehicle Due to Icy, Snowy Roads

    Quote Quoting maher2229
    View Post
    Absolutely NOT davidmcbeth3...I REFUSED to participate in his scheme. .
    OK, you wrote it so it was a reasonable query.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Small Town, Iowa
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: Accident in a Borrowed Vehicle Due to Icy, Snowy Roads

    You are correct...I did state he demanded I do that...but did not specifically state I refused so it was left unclear...my apologies.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    CT & IL
    Posts
    5,276

    Default Re: Accident in a Borrowed Vehicle Due to Icy, Snowy Roads

    Quote Quoting maher2229
    View Post
    You are correct...I did state he demanded I do that...but did not specifically state I refused so it was left unclear...my apologies.
    No apology needed. I queried, you answered.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    27

    Default Re: Accident in a Borrowed Vehicle Due to Icy, Snowy Roads

    Your ex-boyfriend is an idiot to say the least. His little insurance scheme would not have worked. What happened when you hit the other parked car would not have happened this time around. Your collision coverage MAY have covered the vehicle you were driving if you did what he asked, but MAY not have because this would be the second accident with you driving a car owned by him. Even if it did, you can't damage your own property without paying your collision deductible twice, once for each vehicle involved, and in this case your insurance would be acting as primary and not likely to pay for both vehicles. Most times insurance does not pay if you have insurance , but are driving someone else's uninsured vehicle. Insurance follows the car, not the driver. This is to prevent someone from owning several cars, not paying for car insurance, and then just having other people drive them and hoping the insured driver will pick up any damage costs.

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