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Carolyn Hax / Life Advice

Carolyn Hax

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi, Carolyn:

A lot of backstory and angst go along with this story, but I'll keep it short:

I'm in my 20s, and I got in a car accident in my dad and stepmom's 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 doesn't 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 doesn't want me to pay anything but won't tell my stepmom this. My mom and stepdad, who have had issues with my dad and stepmom not paying them 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 I'm worried that if I do, my stepmom will hound me for more. But I feel guilty.

I guess the answer you'll probably give is to pay what I can and stop overanalyzing this. Or maybe you won't, because sometimes your answers are surprising.

-- Guilty Feeling

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