I was in an accident and I had insurance coverage but not on the vehicle I was driving?

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I was in an accident and I had insurance coverage but not on the vehicle I was driving?

There was a mix up since my car was just purchased. I was cited for running a red light but when I went to court I was found not guilty and it was dismissed. The other person in the accident is trying to sue me (with her insurer) for damages. Can they sue me if was found not guilty? The company that is trying to sue me is now claiming that if I don’t pay they will have my license taken away. Is this possible?

Asked on August 8, 2014 under Accident Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

1) Whether or not you were found not guilty in traffic or municipal court is irrelevant to whether you can be successfully sued. The standard of proof in a criminal (even traffic) proceeding is "beyond a reasonable doubt," which is a much higher standard than the proof needed ("a preponderance of the evidence) to find you liable in a civil case. Therefore, being found nonguilty does not mean you might not be liable, since it is a different standard (and different court--civil vs. criminal or municipal).

2) You can't lose your license for not paying someone's claim or demand, though you can be sued. If you are sued and lose and do not pay, then it is possible that one sanction you could face is lose of your license. You could also lose you license for not being insured at the time.

3) If the dealer who sold you the car was negligent, or careless, in not making sure you had coverage before you left the lot, it may be possible to in turn sue them for any amounts which you have to pay which should have been covered by insurance.


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