What to do if threatened with small claims court by other driver involved in accident?

The other driver is not happy with my insurance decision to only pay less than 50% of the damages. My insurance company determined I was partially liable. The other driver believes I am 100% liable and is looking to pursue small claims court. The other driver has also offered me the alternatives of paying the difference or to revise my statement to my insurance to say that I am 100% at fault. I am being told by the other party that if I lose in small claims court that I will have to pay out of pocket (which is not true from me searching the internet).

Asked on January 18, 2013 under Accident Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If someone believes that you are at fault in causing him X damages, he is allowed to sue to recover X damages--he is not obligated to accept your insurer's opinion that he is only entitled to 50%X (that is, unless he happened to accept the insurer's payment and in the process exectued a settlement agreement in which he agreed to  take that payment as settlement in full of the claim).

If he rejects the settlement and sues you, your insurer *should* (though check the terms of your policy) step in to defend you and, if there is a judgment against you, the insurer should pay it, subject to any deductibles and like limitations.

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.