Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Carolyn: A lot of backstory and angst go along with this story, but Ill keep it short:
Im in my 20s and I got in a car accident in my dad and stepmoms car. I did not borrow the car for fun; I was visiting them from my home a few hours away and needed to pick up prescriptions.
Car accident happens totally my fault, although luckily no one was hurt. I find out the car doesnt have the relevant insurance and no damage is covered.
In the heat of the moment I offer to pay, not realizing how expensive the repairs would be.
Stepmom wants to hold me to this promise. Dad tells me he doesnt want me to pay anything but wont tell my stepmom this. My mom and stepdad, who have had issues with my dad and stepmom not paying them for things as promised, are adamant that I should not pay, and that it was their fault for not having insurance.
I am torn. I feel I should pay something, but Im worried that if I do, my stepmom will hound me for more. But I feel guilty.
I guess the answer youll probably give is to pay what I can and stop overanalyzing this. Or maybe you wont, because sometimes your answers are surprising.
Yes, its their fault for under-insuring their car, but you also say the accident itself was totally my fault.
What also matters here: You promised to pay, your stepmom expects you to pay, your dad disagrees but wont back you up.
What doesnt matter: backstory, angst, and what your mom and stepfather think. I get theyve been stiffed by Camp Dad and want restitution, but dont succumb to the temptation to let Camp Mom use you to seek their idea of justice. Youre an adult and this isnt their car, so theyre just bystanders.
Put that all together, and I think you do need to pay for the damage, in installments you can afford, unless and until your dad puts actions behind his words and calls off your stepmom.
If youre covered by your own or Camp Moms auto policy, make sure you check for coverage there.
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