If I was uninsured and was hit by an insured driver, am I liable for damages to her vehicle?

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If I was uninsured and was hit by an insured driver, am I liable for damages to her vehicle?

I was driving my mother’s car she was in the vehicle and we stopped at an intersection about to make a left turn. I made the turn and turned into the lane closest to me. A woman coming from

the opposite direction also tried turning into the same lane at the same time as me even though it was the lane farthest from the median on her side, and she side swiped me. It was completely her fault because she wasn’t turning into the correct lane. I pulled over to the side of the road, when my mother suddenly informed me that her car was uninsured. I reported to the police that the accident was the other woman’s fault. I was cited and paid a fine for operating a vehicle without

insurace… even though it wasn’t my vehicle and I was unaware the car was uninsured. Anyways, my mother and I have both now received letters from a collection agency saying that the other

woman’s insurance company farmer’s is coming after us for damages to her vehicle. The collection agency says that if we don’t pay the $2,274 then we will both lose our driver’s licenses,

and that they’ve already sent a recommendation to the state of Alabama to suspend our licenses. They said we are automatically liable to pay the other woman’s damages since we were

uninsured. Is this true even if she hit us? Shouldn’t farmer’s have to cover the damages to her vehicle? If we had $2,000 lying around then the car would’ve never been uninsured in the first place, and with 3 kids in the house, my mother losing her license is not an option. Can we really lose our licenses or is this just a scare tactic to get us to pay? Would we have a chance taking this to court? Is it too late now that farmers has got a collection agency involved?

Asked on November 15, 2016 under Accident Law, Alabama

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The collection agency is lying to you.  Liability for an auto accident is NOT determined based on whether or not a party is uninsured.  You  should sue the collection agency for violating the Fair Debt Collection Act.  Liability for an auto accident is determined by the facts and police report attributing fault to the party causing the accident NOT whether the party was insured  or uninsured.  
Your mother should file a claim against Farmer's for the property damage (cost of repairs) to her car because the other party was at fault in the accident.  Since the at-fault party's insurance company is denying the claim, your mother (registered owner of the vehicle) should sue the at-fault party for negligence.  Damages (monetary compensation your mother is seeking in her lawsuit against the at-fault party) would be the property damage (cost of repairs) to her vehicle.
In some states, the Department of Motor Vehicles can suspend a driver's license for driving without insurance.  If that happens in your situation and your mother's situation, the drivers' licenses should be reinstated upon providing proof of insurance.
It is not too late to pursue the above issues in court.  Don't be intimidated by the collection agency.


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