If my son was uninsured and at-faultin accident, should he just pay the other driver’sinsurance company without seeing any of the paperwork regarding the damages?

He was not insured and at fault. He hasn’t seen any estimates of repair costs or multiple estimates. They adjust advised him to pay over $4,000.00+ or possible recourse. What are his rights so he does not get rail roaded by insurance company but still does the right thing?

Asked on July 28, 2010 under Accident Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) I know you say he was at fault, but note that if your son has any doubts, he does not need to accept what other people tell him--he can make them sue him and prove fault.

2) He should definitely NOT simply pay. He can and should request (even if he's accepted fault; see above) to see multiple estimates, evidence of the damage (even photos), receipts for completed work, etc. He has a right to make sure that he's being charged fairly, not too much or for unnecessary or even fraudulent work.

3) Even given the above, he only has to pay if sued and a judgment is rendered against him. If he does not feel he should pay, he can make them sue him and prove the damages.

4) If he has few assets at stake, if he can't afford whatever he may ultimately need to pay, he might consider bankruptcy--it would discharge all or most of the debt, provided he did not cause the accident DUI or DWI.


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