What should I do if I was involved in a car accident for which I was at fault?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What should I do if I was involved in a car accident for which I was at fault?

I rear-ended a car. I don’t have any insurance so I asked if I could pay the driver personally. They agreed but now their insurance company are calling me asking for me to pay money. The driver only wants $1000 but the insurance company are asking for $8,000. Who should I pay?

Asked on January 15, 2016 under Accident Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

DON'T pay the driver if the insurer is also asking for money. If the insurer paid him $8,000, they can look to get that money from you--and if you also pay him $1,000, you'll have paid $9,000 total. If you pay someone money without getting a signed settlement agreement stating that the payment is in full satisfaction of all claims and that they they will indemnify you (pay for you or reimburse you) if anyone else (like their insurer) tries to bring a claim against you resulting from the accident, paying them is throwing money away: they can take the money, then sue you for more, or their insurer can sue you. You need the written, signed agreement entered into *before* you pay to protect yourself.
At this point, if the insurer is also seeking money from you, you'd have to settle with the insurer as well--it's likely too late to just settle with the driver. You can try to negotiate an amount of payment you can afford and are comfortable with, but make them prove what they are entitled to: the insurer should provide proof of the amount they paid out and for what; and if the insurer paid the driver, he should send you proof of his deductdible, because he should only get his deductible at most, not any amounts already paid by his insurance.

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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption