What to do if I backed into a car several months ago and the diver said he would not seek damages but now I am receiving a subrogation collection notice?

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What to do if I backed into a car several months ago and the diver said he would not seek damages but now I am receiving a subrogation collection notice?

At the time the driver said he would not seek damages because he was driving with a suspended license and the damage to the car was minor. However, obviously he filed a claim with his insurance, had the bumper repaired, and they billed out $4,000, which they want to collect from me. I am unaware if the person who filed is the one with the suspended license, but I doubt it. What legal action should I take? Must I pay what they are asking? What are the legal ramifications if I don’t? And given the circumstances, can they even legally prove that it was me who hit the other car?

Asked on December 1, 2014 under Accident Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You don't have to pay unless they sue you and win, getting a judgment against you. However, an insurer has the right to sue an at-fault driver (and if you backed into another car, you were almost certainly at fault) to recover amounts they paid out to their insured, so they could file a lawsuit. If they do and win, you will have a judgment against you on your credit record and, if you still don't pay, could be subject to collections activity such as liens on real property, levies on bank accounts, wage garnishment, or execution on personal property. Whether they can prove you hit the other car will depend upon what evidence, including witness (e.g. the other driver or any passengers) testimony they have and how credible, or believable, it is, as compared to any contrary evidence or testimony you provide.


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