LEGAL WRANGLING: Neighbour refuses to pay for car damage
A legal battle is now brewing between two neighbours because one refused to pay $100,000, arising from a motor vehicle accident in 2010.
According to one of the neighbours, in 2010, she was on her way to work when she forgot her purse. She went back home to retrieve it.
She parked her motor car at her gate and went inside her house. While inside she heard a loud 'bang'.
"I rushed outside to see where the noise came from. To my surprise I saw the back of my neighbour's car in the left side of my car," she said.
"I enquired what had happened. He told me that he was reversing and his foot accidentally hit the gas pedal and rammed into my car. I was not upset with him because I know accidents can happen to anyone.
"He admitted to me that his car was not insured and asked me not to make a report to the police or my insurance company. He promised me, faithfully, that he would fix my car.
"When I went to work I told my co-workers about the accident and they suggested to me that I should get a written agreement from him, stating that he is responsible for the accident and will pay for the repairs. I drafted the agreement and took it to my neighbour the same day of the accident, which was June 15, 2010.
At first, he was reluctant to sign the agreement. He gave me excuses as to why there was no need for a written agreement as he was a man of his word. I told him I felt more comfortable if he signed the agreement and he did.
"I took my car to a garage and gave him the estimate. He told me the price was reasonable and I should go ahead with the repairs. The car was repaired three months after the accident. I paid $100,000 for the repairs. I even gave my neighbour a copy of the receipt.
"Well, from that time, until now, I have been asking my neighbour for the money and he keeps giving me excuses. I know he can more than afford to pay me, but he just does not like to pay. I even suggested that he could pay me in five parts, but he has ignored my suggestions.
I even went to the police about the matter and was told it was not a police matter, I should sue him," she said
The police are correct, you will have to sue him to recover the money. However, you must bear in mind that, under the Limitations of Actions Act, there is a specified time in which to file civil suits.
A civil suit must be filed within six years of the cause of the action. The accident took place on June 15, 2010. Therefore you must file the suit against your neighbour before June 15, this year. If you file the suit after June 15, you will be out of time and will not be able to get judgement against him in court.