What to do if I totalled a rental car in Germany, and now it appears that my insurance company will not cover the $50,000 in damages?

UPDATED: Sep 18, 2014

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What to do if I totalled a rental car in Germany, and now it appears that my insurance company will not cover the $50,000 in damages?

I don’t have an extra $50,000 sitting around, so where can this go from here? Can the rental agency sue me (i.e. can a German company sue an American citizen?). Can a delinquent balance be posted against my credit report, etc.

Asked on September 18, 2014 under Accident Law, Maryland


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Yes, a German company can sue a U.S. citizen, just like a  U.S. company could sue a German citizen who cost it money (such as by damaging its property). There are practical barriers to suit--it is much more difficult and costly to sue internationally than domestically, and much harder to collect; therefore, the company may choose to not sue. However, if they due sue, then they could potentially get a judgment against you requiring you to pay money and, if you don't, exercise remedies against you such as garnishing wages, putting a lien on property, etc. They could also, if they chose (but are not required) to report the debt to credit-rating agencies. (If they sue you and win, the judgment will be public knowledge.)

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