What can I do if I wrecked my girlfriend’s car and due to a break-up her mom is now is telling the insurance company that I did not have permission to drive the vehicle?

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What can I do if I wrecked my girlfriend’s car and due to a break-up her mom is now is telling the insurance company that I did not have permission to drive the vehicle?

I am a 20 year old college student. I was involved in a rear-end accident that was my fault. I was the only person in the vehicle when the accident occurred. There were no injuries but there was damage to both cars. At the time I did not own a car, nor did I have insurance. The vehicle I was driving was my girlfriend’s car that was insured and registered to her parents. About a week after the accident, my girlfriend and I broke up. Angry over the break up, her mom called the cops and her insurance company and claimed that I had did not

have her permission to drive the car at the time of the crash. There were no charges filed. However her insurance company, is now refusing to cover the other vehicle damages in the crash, due to their customer saying the vehicle was stolen. I recently received a letter from the insurance company of the other car in the accident demanding $15,000 from me. I don’t have that money nor do I have any assets for them to come after. I am worried they will garnish my wages. Should I just ignore the letter?

Asked on February 10, 2019 under Accident Law, Oregon

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

If you ignore them, assume they will sue you and get a judgment against you--you were at fault, as you write. That judgment will be enforceable against you for at least 10 years--so if you make money, get any assets or property or vehicles, etc. during that time, they can go after it. They can also garnish your wages at any time during that period. 
Unfortunately, you can't force your ex-girlfriend's mother's insurance to cover you, since you were not a driver on the policy, so there is no one else to pay this for you.
You may wish to consider trying to settle with them for a some lesser amount, payable over time, which you can afford. They may not agree to do so, but you are not worse off if you try and fail--it doesn't make you any more responsible than you already are.


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