How do I take a party’s insurance company (or the other driver) to small claims court? The other party’s insurance company wants money from me?

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How do I take a party’s insurance company (or the other driver) to small claims court? The other party’s insurance company wants money from me?

I was driving in a parking lot, the other driver was backing out and hit me. I was in shock initially and I thought the accident was my fault and told the other party I would pay to fix their damages. I was so in shock I did not look at my car for damages. When I got home and composed myself, I noticed there was no damage to the front of my car, there is a dent on the side of my car and scrapes from the other party’s bumper. I did not have insurance at the time. The other party’s insurance company found me at fault, and is now trying to collect money from for damages. What steps should I take?

Asked on June 24, 2009 under Accident Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Did anyone call the police to the scene of the accident?  If so, you should get a copy of the police report.  Were there any independent witnesses?  Has the other party's insurance company taken your statement?  What they are likely doing is subrogating against you (making a legal claim for money they paid out for fixing their insured's car).  Their insured evidently told them that the accident was your fault.  You can contact the insurance company and tell them that the accident was not your fault--that it was their insured's fault.  They may drop it, or they may have an attorney try to collect the money from you.  If you are sure it was the other driver's fault, just stick to your position that it was not your fault.  Do you have photos of the damage? That would help.  The insurance company might end up suing you for the damages, and then you'll have to respond to the suit.  You can also sue their insured for the damages to your car, which will strengthen your position.  A small claims court case would probably be the way to go with that. The limit in CA is $7500.


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