If I caused an accident but don’t have insurance, what’s going to happen to me?

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If I caused an accident but don’t have insurance, what’s going to happen to me?

I had a car accident in a rental car that I thought was insured. I asked to purchase the insurance yet I apparently only purchased what is called the lost damage waiver, which only covered the car. As I am between running cars at the moment I let my was expired at the time of the accident. Now, I’m getting calls from both the rental car companies insurance people and the insurance people of the person’s car I hit. The insurance for the rental car company said the person I hit is claiming injury damages and that I will be liable if I don’t have insurance. Do I need a lawyer? What type of lawyer do I need?

Asked on July 27, 2011 California

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you didn't have insurance and caused the accident, you will probably be sued for negligence for the property damage to the other vehicle and also for the injuries to the other driver.  The property damage would be the cost of repairs to the vehicle.  The personal injury claim would include medical bills, pain and suffering, and wage loss.  Compensation for the medical bills and wage loss is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to the medical bills.

It would be advisable to have an attorney to represent you.  As to the type of attorney, this would be an attorney who would defend you in a personal injury case.  Most of the attorneys you will see listed in the telephone book under personal injury are representing the plaintiff (injured party) and might not represent a defendant.  If you can't find an attorney with personal injury experience to represent you, you might want to find an attorney who handles civil litigation and will defend you.  It would be advisable to check with your local or county bar association which may have a lawyer referral service.

If the case results in a judgment against you, you might want to consider filing bankruptcy.  Until there is a judgment against you, it would be premature to file bankruptcy. 


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