Q: I was at red light. The light changed, and I drifted into car in front of me who started moving and then stopped. There was no visible damage to his car and none to mine at all. called. The police who said to stay in car until they got there because he was so mean to me. Now he is calling me to find out how I want to handle THE DAMAGE to his car. He had mentioned he was in a prior accident two months ago and lady hit him and gave him wrong info and “he isn’t going to get taken again”. I only drifted into him. I am totally afraid of him. I did not have the insurance at 12:00pm. I just went home and paid the premium. I forgot to pay it. If he was in accident before. There was no police report even written and the police had to get his information for me. (McKeesport, PA)
A: You need to verify that you had or did not have motor vehicle insurance. Just because you missed a payment or two does not mean they terminated your coverage. Call to be sure. If you are insured, report the accident and give them the information. They will handle it. If you are certain you did not have insurance at the time, you need to get ready for his potential claim. Gather your evidence. Make a written log of events, get the police report, log or accident report. If possible without trespassing or creating a disturbance, photograph the back end of his car. If he sues and you are not insured, do not ignore the papers that come in the mail. Take them to a lawyer and see if one can defend you at a reasonable cost.
Q: My 17-year-old son pulled over 12:46am for having a break light out. Cop said he didn’t have insurance, but I did, it’s my car, His mom I just bought it 10 days prior and just didn’t get around to dropping old and adding new car with our insurance agent. They searched car found small amount weed, a bong, papers and e-cigarette devices. Now, I get 2 fines for district court no brake lights no insurance, but it’s addressed to the defendant with my first name and my son’s last name. The cop wrote it this way on the ticket, so I am fighting the ticket. If they drop these tickets can it go to juvenile court? Since the district dropped I don’t understand why 2 different courts are charging with the same offenses. (Duquesne, PA)
A: Your question is a bit confusing. It really depends on who is charged in each action. If you are charged on the Motor Vehicle traffic summaries, and your son is subsequently charged in juvenile court for the reefer, then that is permissible under the rules. However, if your son is charged with Motor Vehicle summaries, enters a plea of guilty, or is found guilty or not guilty, an adjudication occurs. The police cannot then charge him again for drug offenses arising out of the same set of facts. There are Rules 109 and 110 of the PA Rules of Criminal Procedure that address this. It is basically a double jeopardy situation. I would consult with a lawyer for a precise answer as I am not looking at your charges and am not sure I have all the facts
Q: My dad is elderly and is an ex-alcoholic with a revoked license (habitual offender). He wants to buy a van, so I can drive him to the store and appointments and frankly, take him to and from the bar. Can he buy a van from a private seller and register it and get insurance? I would just have him write me a check and buy in my name, but I don’t want my relatives to act like he is gifting me money. We just want to buy like a $1500 van.
A: If you have a valid driver’s license, current insurance, and the car will be registered to you, I don’t think your father is breaking any law that I am aware of merely by writing the check. If he not only wants to pay for it, but also register the vehicle and obtain insurance in his name, I believe he can. He just cannot drive, obviously.
Q: I took my car in for a transmission problem and they had the car roughly two months all work was covered under factory warranty. I got the car back and three weeks later my fiancé and my daughter were driving down the road and it caught fire and totaled the car (luckily no one was injured they jumped out of the moving car). There was transmission fluid where the car caught fire on the road. It’s in the police report also. (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: I would make sure you notify your auto insurer asap. I would gather all evidence, police reports, your repair bills, and keep notes on all conversations with the dealer or their reps. You may want to have the vehicle sealed or kept in a locked garage by a neutral party to avoid an allegation of tampering with evidence or spoliation. Your insurer may do that for you so their expert can examine the car. They may have a subrogation claim against the dealer for what they pay out to you. Whatever you do, do not give the car back to the dealer prior to a forensic mechanical exam by your insurer or a neutral mechanic. My experience is that car dealers never want to admit fault or liability and never want to pay. Litigation is usually necessary. I would notify them but at the same time do not make any statements to them or their reps and find yourself a lawyer.