What is my responsibility for an accident when my insurance coverage was cancelled?

About 8 months ago, I accidentally rear-ended another vehicle. My auto insurance had been cancelled at the time, due in part to a vehicle vs. pedestrian incident my daughter was victim to, where the driver was uninsured and my insurance was billed. My accident resulted in damages just over $10,000 which was covered by the other party’s insurance, which is now attempting to collect from me using both legal actions and a collection company. Also, due to state law, my driver’s license was suspended about 3 weeks ago, however I had previously moved to another state, and received a new license for that state prior to the suspension. What are my legal responsibilities for the accident damages? Should I agree to the collection companies

Asked on June 26, 2017 under Accident Law, Montana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If you are at fault in causing an accident--and legally, if you rear-ended another vehicle, you are almost certainly at fault, since the law requires the rear driver to maintain such safe following distance and speed that he/she can stop in time, and a failure to do so is considered negligent--then you are liable for any damage you provably caused to the other vehicle. If you don't have insurance to pay for you, you will have to pay out of pocket; your insurnace cancellation means that it is up to you personally to pay. If another insurer paid the other driver, they are legally allowed to recover the money they paid out from you (this is called "subrogation"). If the terms they are offering you in regards to making the payment are good ones, you should seriously consider taking them, rather than refusing and forcing them to sue you: if they sue, they will very likely win, and if they win, you will have to pay all at once and they may able be able to get some or all of the court and legal costs from you, too.
Your suspension should carry over to your new state; each state is supposed to honor what other states do in regards to driver's licenses.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.