Does an insurance company have any right to collect money from someone regarding a car accident if it was on private property and no police report was filed?

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Does an insurance company have any right to collect money from someone regarding a car accident if it was on private property and no police report was filed?

My wife was in a fender bender in our apartment complex parking lot. The other lady was speeding in the complex, but because my wife was backing out of a parking spot, she was allegedly at fault according to the other lady’s insurance. My wife did not have car insurance at the time, but I still feel the other lady was at fault. Anyways, there was no police report and it was on private party. The other lady left the scene to go to work, as she was in a hurry. This happened several months ago and now the other lady’s insurance company has sent a letter to my wife in an attempt to collect money from the accident. Does any legal action on my wife’s part need to be made?

Asked on October 27, 2012 under Accident Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you are getting a letter from an insurance company, then there next step could be to file a lawsuit against your wife for the damages.  Considering that this incident has some age on it, it would help if your wife could take some steps to document what she remembers of the accident and what the condition of the parking lot was at the time.  If there were witnesses to the incident, she should see if they would be willing to give her a statement.   If there is a sign which establishes a certain speed limit-- take a picture of the sign.  You may not need any of this information--- but if the insurance company waits another year to file, you may not be able to get the information together for an attorney if/when one is filed later.  The more information you have together now, the more quickly an attorney will be able to respond for you in the event she is served with notice of a lawsuit.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The fact  that no police report was filed has no bearing on the ability of the other driver or her insurer to seek to recover money from your wife, if she was legally at fault. Similarly, if your wife caused damage to another's vehicle, it does not matter whether that was on private property or a public road. The insurer therefore can seek reimbursement from you wife of any amounts it paid out; if she does not pay, it can sue her; whether or not it will win depends on whether it can show that your wife was, in fact, at fault.


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