What should I do if my car insurer is attempting to sue me because of an accident that was caused by another party?

UPDATED: Jun 2, 2011

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What should I do if my car insurer is attempting to sue me because of an accident that was caused by another party?

I was in a car accident over 1 1/2 years ago. The driver hit my car as I was waiting in traffic and attempted to flee the scene but was too injured to get away. After several months my insurance company finally gave me a check for the damages to my car. Months after that I received a letter in the mail stating that my insurance company was seeking payment for the accident. I spoke with a rep and explained that I was not at fault and I was the policyholder. I was told that everything was fixed, but today I got a letter from a law office attempting to collect the amount that was given to me.

Asked on June 2, 2011 under Accident Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You really only have three options:

1) If you feel you are not at fault and are unwilling to pay anything, then you need to defend yourself--refuse to pay and either wait to be sued and defend, or else refuse to pay and affirmatively bring an action for declaratory judgment, seeking a court order declaring that you do not owe anything.

2) If feel that maybe you are somewhat at fault, or are willing to pay something to resolve this matter, see if you can't negotiate a settlement that you and they are all content with.

3) If you feel that you are at fault, or the amount they are seeking is sufficiently small, it may be worth simply paying it.

A good first step, even to help you decide what to do, would be to consult with an attorney. The lawyer can help you understand both the strength of the case against you and the cost of defending against it.

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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