What to do if my unliscensed fiancee backed out of a driveway and scratched a parked car’s bumper?

The police report estimated damage of $1,000. I was contacted by her insurance company for more information a year and a half after the accident but never heard from them again until yesterday. I got a letter from the insurance company’s attorney asking for $3800. The accident happened almost 2 years ago. We actually assumed that she didn’t file a claim since the scratch was so minimal. Is there any way to get this cost down; my only income is disability.

Asked on November 6, 2013 under Accident Law, Georgia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Disability income cannot be garnished; if you also have little in the way of assets, you may be effectively "judgment proof" (effectively no way for the drive or their insurer to collect from you). If you are willing to pay something, such as because you acknowledge fault on your fiancee's part (or on your part for that matter, for letting an unlicensed person drive your car), you can contact them, explain your financial condition (few assets; only disability income) to them, which should illustrate that their chances of collecting other than voluntarily (that is, other than if you agree to pay) from you are slim, and use that as leverage to get them agree to some lower or more reasonable amount.

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