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  1. #1
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    Nov 2013
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    Default Car Door Hit While Open

    My question involves an accident that occurred in the state of: California
    My car was recently hit by a driver with an expired license. I checked to make sure there were no cars around and proceeded to open my car door when it was safe. As I am standing next to my door to get in, another car hit my door and luckily missed me. I didn't call the cops (my mistake) and he accepted responsibility, however I didn't get it in writing (my mistake). I filed a claim with his insurance company and it was denied. I am aware of California law and I believe I was within my right because I opened my door when it was safe. I would like to know if I can take him to small claims court to cover the damages and argue that he should not have been driving in the first place. Do I have a legitimate case? If so, what would be the next step.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Car Door Hit While Open

    Quote Quoting m1234
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    My question involves an accident that occurred in the state of: California
    My car was recently hit by a driver with an expired license. I checked to make sure there were no cars around and proceeded to open my car door when it was safe. As I am standing next to my door to get in, another car hit my door and luckily missed me. I didn't call the cops (my mistake) and he accepted responsibility, however I didn't get it in writing (my mistake). I filed a claim with his insurance company and it was denied. I am aware of California law and I believe I was within my right because I opened my door when it was safe. I would like to know if I can take him to small claims court to cover the damages and argue that he should not have been driving in the first place. Do I have a legitimate case? If so, what would be the next step.

    Thank you.
    How long were you standing at the open door?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Car Door Hit While Open

    Only long enough to get in, less than a minute. He admitted he saw me getting in and saw my door open, yet he still hit the door.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Car Door Hit While Open

    Quote Quoting m1234
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    Only long enough to get in, less than a minute. He admitted he saw me getting in and saw my door open, yet he still hit the door.
    Proving that admission will be tough. In court he will probably claim you just opened up the door and he could not adjust in time. I would go through your own insurance if you have collision. If you do not, then suing would not put you in a worse position than you are now.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Car Door Hit While Open

    Can I argue in court that based on the fact his license was expired since January he shouldn't have been on the road and this could have been avoided? BTW thanks for your help.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Car Door Hit While Open

    Quote Quoting m1234
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    Can I argue in court that based on the fact his license was expired since January he shouldn't have been on the road and this could have been avoided? BTW thanks for your help.

    No. The argument is often tried for expired licenses too. It does not change who is responsible for the damage.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Car Door Hit While Open

    So it essentially comes down to his word against mine. Do you have any suggestions as to how I should approach the argument?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Car Door Hit While Open

    Quote Quoting m1234
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    So it essentially comes down to his word against mine. Do you have any suggestions as to how I should approach the argument?
    Unless you had witnesses it was always going to be this way. Gather your facts and information on damages the best you can and write down what happened and review it a few times for clarity. Try to describe events that caused the damages in an "elevator pitch" type speech. Give more about the facts and not your interpretation of the facts. Wear a nice suit or dress. Make copies of everything.

    http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/small_claims/

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Car Door Hit While Open

    Quote Quoting m1234
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    Can I argue in court that based on the fact his license was expired since January he shouldn't have been on the road and this could have been avoided? BTW thanks for your help.
    You can make the statement but it will not affect the outcome of the case., It is not a fact material to the issue.


    so, do you have insurance? Have you reported this to your insurance, or the DMV as accidents with over $750 (and if they hit your open door which would mean they hit the edge of the door, I cannot see how it would be less than $750 to your car alone] must be reported to the DMV via an SR1. If reported to your insurance, they usually do it for you.

    If not, you have 10 days to report it. Failure to report it will result in a 1 year suspension of your license.


    http://www.dmv.ca.gov/forms/sr/sr1.pdf

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Car Door Hit While Open

    Thanks for all your help I really appreciate it.

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