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Question
I have an older car with liability only (no comprehensive). Live in Maryland.

I was parked in a rest area waiting for my wife, engine off, reading a book.  A car backed into me, drove off in a panic and came back 10 minutes later. I called the police and he had returned by the time the police arrived.  I assume he spoke to his friends to come up with a story.  He told the police that both cars were moving prior to the accident and it was not his fault. No one was hurt. There were no witnesses to the accident and the police completed an information exchange form only.

When I called his insurance company to make a claim for damages to my car (about $1200 to the front passenger bumper now hanging off and cracked headlight) they said no proof who was at fault and will not make any payment to me.

This seems so unfair as I was parked, engine off. Any suggestions on how to pursue this without an attorney as his fee would exceed the damage to my car.

Answer
Hi,

I am a little confused about the rest area. Was it at a park, on an expressway. What compelled him to come back?
Unfortunately, you won't go anywhere with an attorney. Personally, I get a little tired of the first thought for resolution in any matter is an attorney. A great deal are incompetent and yet they always seem to get the money and rip people off in these kind of situations. Don't mind me, I have served as a consultant and expert witness in the court system for 18 years and although I worked with a select number of attorneys for two decades that were very good, I also ran into many ambulance chasers that may have been attorneys in title,but had absolutely no competence.
This is why I went completely around them in auto theft claims that had been denied. I represent my clients under Power of attorney, which in many cases gives me the same power they have.

Here is what are society has turned to. In a he said/he said situation with no third party witnesses, the guy that tells the best story is believed.
I have come across someone deliberately braking and stopping, causing someone to hit them. Fake injuries from the people in the car hit. Or, be stopped at a light and deliberately back into the car, again accusing the driver behind at fault.

It gets better! There doesn't have to be any proof of damage and another driver can contact the insurance company of the car owner and make a claim. For expediency and worried about liability, the carrier will pay the claimant. This is the wonderful world we live in.

It would have been better for you if you had spoken with the cop first before the guy returned and given your story and the cop could have gotten this guy for hit and run. Instead, no crime was committed to the cop.

I sympathize for your situation, it sucks. Now, even if you took the guy to small claims court, it looks like you have equal blame and I don't think you are going anywhere.
I guaranty if you were to hire an attorney in this situation, you would go nowhere, but line the attorney's pocket.

It's a good thing you were not injured and that is the way you need to look at it. You have every right to be angry, but that is our fine "justice" system at work.

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Rob Painter, Ase, CFEI, CAFATE

Expertise

Please remember. I am not an attorney and cannot legal advice. My answers are based on my experience due to litigation I have been involved in as an expert, for both insurance companies and while oposing them opposing them. I deal with only comprehensive claims on autos related to fire and theft. I have even had the opportunity to rewrite policy coverage language as it relates to vehicle theft and forced entry for insurance defense attorneys.

Experience

Experience in the area: Working with insurance companies and attorneys on these issues for over 20 years. It is very common to have a reported stolen car with a so-called factory anti-theft system to have the theft claim denied. I have served successfully as an expert witness in the courts across the US representing the insured and their attorney revealing that the insurance expert did not take all known theories into consideration before rendering their "Forensic" conclusion. Many insurance carriers us independent "Forensic" experts to examine reported stolen vehicles commonly using flawed methodology implicating the innocent insured with the theft. My job is to determine if the insurance expert reached his conclusions based on accepted scientific principals or just net opinion with no basis other than opinion. My case record against such experts is very compelling.My resume can be seen at the catagory "Auto Theft and Prevention." In "Forensics" the scientific method must be employed. In the forensic locksmith field determining how a reported stolen vehicle was last operated, many processes cannot be duplicated and are conveniently not addressed. If they were, juries would have the opportunity to make a fair and impartial opinion at least about what the expert could or could not prove. There is a purported process determining the last key used. The chances of determining such is very rare uless the key is found in the ignition lock. Experts commonly destroy evidence as well and are rarely questioned on this event. I reveal the weakness in their testimony on such instances.

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