If I was uninsured got into an auto accident with no injuries and now I’ve received a bill from the other driver’s insurer, do I need to worry about this?

Nobody was hurt and I paid a court fine; I didn’t lose my license. Now I’ve gotten this collection notice for $7300. Are they just hoping that I get scared and pay or is this a legit claim?

Asked on January 8, 2019 under Accident Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

It is legitimate (most likely--not being involved in the case, we cannot say 100%). What this most likely copmes from is the other driver's insurer paying to repair his car; when someone's insurer has to pay for damages done by another driver, they have the right (called "subrogation") to sue him or her to recover the money they paid out. You have essentially three options:
1) Pay.
2) Try to negotiate some settlement (e.g. smaller amount; payment over time) you can live with.
3) Try to defend the case in court, by showing either that you were not at fault or that their expenses are inflated (they can only recover the reasonble cost to repair the damage you did, and that only if you were at fault in causing the accident); if you lose, you will end up having to pay.


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