What to do if I’m being sued by the insurance company for a car accident I had with no insurance?

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What to do if I’m being sued by the insurance company for a car accident I had with no insurance?

I was involved in a car accident 2 years ago and am now being sued by the other driver’s insurance company. Even though the other driver actually hit me, I was determined to be at-fault by her company. The police were not able to establish fault nor was I ticketed. Unfortunately, my insurance had temporarily lapsed leaving me uninsured at the time of the accident although it did not appear that way since my insurance cards were still current. Since then, I have not allowed a mistake like that to happen and actually reinstated my insurance on the day of the accident. Currently, I am being sued for $35K which I do not have nor do I have any personal assets to put liens on. Do I have any other recourse besides accepting a judgment and then filing bankruptcy? Also, is it normal for an insurance company to try and go after an uninsured driver who more than likely will be extremely difficult to collect from?

Asked on December 19, 2011 under Accident Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you believe you were not at fault, you could certainly try to defend yourself in court, presenting evidence that  you were not at fault and also disputing or attacking the insurer's evidence--to recover money from you, they need to be able to prove that you were at fault by a prepondence of the evidence, or that it was more likely than not that you were at fault. You are only liable for a car accident if at fault.

You can also present evidence that the other driver was at fault (e.g. you say he hit you), since to the degree he was at fault, that reduces what you would have to pay, even if you were at fault as well.

If you do not believe that you can prove that you were not at fault and/or that the other driver was, or you try to do so and lose in court, then bankruptcy may be your best recourse; this would be an unsecured debt, which is the kind of debt bankruptcy works best against.

In terms of whether this is normal or not--the insurer or their attorney obviously feels that they can get at least some of the money from you, either now or at some point in the future. (Once they have a judgment, they can try to enforce it for years to come.)

Hong Shen / Roberts Law Group

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It is more than likely that the insurance company paid the money and now is trying to get the money back from you. You need to get an attorney immediately since if this goes on trial today, you would lose. Filing bankruptcy would have serious consequences later on. You need to talk to an attorney to find your best options, such as settling with the insurance company.


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