Legal Question in Personal Injury in New York


In February of this year at 9pm at night my vehicle was parked on a city street in NYC. I was about a block away and saw a U-Haul van backing down the street. The driver of the van backed into my car and damaged the hood and grille. The car is a 2011 BMW 335d and as only 4 months old at the time.

When the driver got out of the van he was deaf or nearly deaf and did not understand english. I called the police and and when they arrived they had a very hard time getting any information form the driver. I eventually the driver handed me a rental agreement for the U-Haul so I have his name and address. The police officers instructed me to file a MV-104 Report Of Motor Vehicle Accident at the local precinct the next day.

I contacted RepWest the insurance devision for U-Haul. I got an estimate for the damage for $850 and submitted it to them. After 3 months of working with RepWest my claim was denied due to lack of evidence and the driver of the U-Haul could never be located. My wife was the only witness and RepWest said she cold not provide a statement.

I want to file in small claims court for the damage to my car. Should I file against the insurance company or the person driving? Most likely that driver moved away so how could I even file against him?


Asked on 7/07/11, 2:42 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

David Slater David P. Slater, Esq.

The owner of the vehicle is responsible for the actions of its driver. Make a claim against U Haul. Your wife is a valid witness. Good luck.

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Answered on 7/07/11, 2:46 pm

You will bring an action against both the driver and U-Haul. The driver's address is his last known address provided to you and/or the police at the scene. U-Haul will appear; if not, you may take a default judgment against them. Call the insurance company once more and ask to talk to a claims supervisor. Indicate you know your rights and proceeding to small claims court and want to amicably resolve the issues. If they are smart, they will settle with you to save both time and money.

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Answered on 7/07/11, 6:53 pm

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