What is my liability if 2 1/2 years ago I was involved in an accident and went to traffic court and was found not guilty?

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What is my liability if 2 1/2 years ago I was involved in an accident and went to traffic court and was found not guilty?

The car I was driving was not my own but the owner had active insurance. The insurance company of the owner of the car that I hit sued me a year ago. The case was never seen before a judge. Instead I spoke with a representative of the law firm who told me if I did not make monthly payments my license would be suspended. So a month later I began making payments. Since then I have been told (not by any lawyers) that what they did was wrong and i should not have to make payments on something that i was found not guilty of. Now they have garnished my bank account and my license is suspended. Please advise on how to proceed?

Asked on December 23, 2015 under Accident Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

1) Traffic court and the finding therein is *not* relevant to a civil lawsuit for damages: the two courts are separate, and a finding in one does not bind, or control, what happens in the other. Think OJ Simpson: he was found not guilty criminally, but then was sued and had to pay a ton of money.
2) If you agreed to make monthly payments, you can be held to that agreement and, if you fail to make payments, can take action, such as wage garnishment.
3) If the amount at stake that you agreed to pay is less than the cost of a lawyer, pay it, or if you can't pay it all at once, speak to the other side's attorney and see if you can't reinstate a payment plan. If the amount is involved is more than the cost of a lawyer, hire a lawyer and let the attorney can help you.


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