What should I do, I received a subrogation letter?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What should I do, I received a subrogation letter?

I was in a minor accident couple months ago, no police report was taken. I just received a subrogation letter asking for 12K. I have no ammount close to that, as I am a full time student and work part time. Honestly speaking, the accident was at most $800. I spoke to them and said the least was $8700. I don’t know what I should do. They gave me until the end of them month. What should or can I do? What happens if I don’t pay it?

Asked on April 15, 2019 under Accident Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If you don't pay, the insurer can sue you. (That's not to say they will, but they have the legal right to if they want.) If they sue you, the have to prove two things:
1) You were at fault in causing the accident, such as by driving negligently or carelessly--you are only liable if at fault.
2) The amount of the damage (e.g. cost to repair): they can only recover what they can prove the cost caused by you was.
If they do 1) and 2), they can get a judgment against you for whatever amount of damage/cost they can prove. If you don't pay that judgment (what the court finds you owe), they can garnish your wages (have your employer send part of your pay to them). Also, a judgment last for many years, so even if you can't pay now, they can try to collect from you in the future, when you are in better financial shape. And the judgment will be on your credit history/record.

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