My question involves a traffic accident in the State of: California
My gf got into a small fender bender in a parking lot. Here's how it happened:
Car A = guy in dodge ram
Car B = gf's car
Car A is parked in a parking lot space and not moving. Car B enters the parking lot and proceeds to park in a space right next to the spot Car A is parked in. While Car B makes her way into the desired space, Car A backs up in a way that causes his front bumper to cross over the line and into the space Car B is trying to park in. Her front passenger side fender got smashed in pretty good. It's still driveable, but sometimes her tire rubs against the fender if she goes over a bump or takes a sharp left turn.
No police report and no witnesses. No police report because when she called them to have an officer sent out to the scene, they said they wouldn't come out since it was on private property. This was in a small plaza with a bank and Long's drugstore.
The guy's insurance had an appraiser take an estimate of her damages and concluded them to be ~$1,513. A few days later the guy's insurance decided to settle with her, but only with half (~$800), stating that she was half at fault since the guy stated she was only "halfway in to her spot" when he was backing out.
The guy isn't seeking any claims with her insurance company. Her insurance company also said they can't fight it for her since she only has liability.
My gf has taken her car to get 2 additional estimates and one came to ~$2300 and the other ~$3100. She has called multiple times clearly stating she is not accepting the settlement offer of the $800. The insurance company doesn't seem to want to budge no matter how much she pleads her case to them.
Is her only other option small claims court? Do you guys think there are any other ways around this? Small claims court seems like it would be a last resort as it seems the most stressful. I also just don't want her to waste her time if the case gets dismissed for the same reason the insurance companies came up with (50/50 fault).
If she takes it to small claims court, from your experiences and from the details I've provided, how do you think the court will favor and what damages would be awarded to her if any? I'm assuming the defedant would also file a counterclaim if he is taken to court, what do you think would happen then?
Thank you for your time!