If I do not have enough money to support myself, do I still have to pay the loss arising after my insurance policy limits are claimed?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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If I do not have enough money to support myself, do I still have to pay the loss arising after my insurance policy limits are claimed?

I was in a no fault accident according to the police last
December as there were neither witnesses nor camera to see
who was in the wrong but to a question asked by the
insurance claim associate- whether I could have done
anything to prevent the accident, I replied that if I had
turned faster into the shopping complex, maybe the accident
would have been prevented. Now due to that answer, my
insurance company holds me responsible for the accident and
at the time of the accident, there was no bodily harm to the
other driver but now she is claiming bodily injury claim. My
insurance coverage covers 3/4 of the amount but the onus
lies on me to clear 1/4. What can I do as I can barely meet
my needs and have a part time job and have to borrow money
all the time from my father who says he will not cover me
for this. Please advice, thanks.

Asked on May 30, 2019 under Accident Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you are liable for the surplus or excess loss: your personal financial condition does not absolve you of your liabilty when you are found to be at fault. If you have not been sued yet and lost, you don't have to pay: until you lose in court, there is no obligation to pay. If they do sue you, you can try to convince the court you were not at fault--while your prior statement can be used against you, you can expand on it in court, and only if the person suing you proves your fault would you have to pay. If your insurer will not pay but you think they should, you could also try suing them for "breach of contract," or violating their contractual obligation to pay, and try to prove in court that regardless of your answer to that question, that they should pay under the terms of your policy.
Finally, if you are ordered to pay more than you can afford, consider bankruptcy as an option; bankruptcy works against amounts owed due to car accident lawsuits.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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