What to do if I was involved in a car accident 3 years ago but was uninsured and I’m now being sued?

The owner of the car (grandfather) was deceased. The car was uninsured, and I myself did not have a license. The police were on the scene, but no tickets issued. No report was made. I recently received a letter saying I was being sued by an insurance company for a large mount of money. Im not looking for advice to fight the case, I understand I shouldn’t have been driving the car. I was in charge of caring for my grand mother at the time. She needed something, I go. That’s beside the point. I’m wondering what steps do I take next? Do I go to court and just let the judge render the verdict? Or is there possibly something else I can do? I don’t have $82,000 sitting round to hand out.

Asked on October 21, 2014 under Accident Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If you think you were not at fault in the accident--that is, you did not cause the accident, were not driving carelessly, were not speeding, etc.--then you can fight the case; if the other side cannot prove you were at fault, you may well be able to defend yourself and avoid liability. If you were at fault, you can still try to fight the amount of damages (amount of money claimed) if you think it excessive, such as by challenging asserted medical bills, the extent of injuries, the cost to repair or value of any car damaged, etc. and at least forcing the other side to prove all the damages they claim. (Rememer: if you don't show up, the other side wins automatically, by "default," and gets the full amount they are looking for--even if they really are not entitled to it) If you end up with a judgment (a verdict, as you put it) against you, at that point, you may need to consider bankruptcy as an option, if you end up being ordered to pay an amount you simply cannot afford.


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