What are my options regarding an out of state car accident for which I was at fault but did not have insurance?

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What are my options regarding an out of state car accident for which I was at fault but did not have insurance?

The accident was 20 months ago; I never heard anything back about it until 1 month ago. The other person’s insurance company is suing me for $15,900. I received a summons.

Asked on July 7, 2015 under Accident Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

You really only have three options:

1) Defend the lawsuit: that is, when you go to court, try to present evidence that you were not at fault. However, since you write that you *were* at fault, this will probably not succeed. If you were at fault, you are liable, or responsible to pay, for all the other party's damages, costs, and injuries. You can also try to show that the damages, costs, injuries were less than are being claimed, but it is likely that he or she can prove (e.g. bills, receipts, etc.) most or all of them. So while you can try to defend, if you were at fault, you will probably lose.

2) Settle the case: offer to pay less, and/or pay over time, in order to resolve the case with trial. The other side will often accept something less than the full amount and/or payment terms to avoid the time and cost of trial. A successful settlement is not guaranteed; it depends on their being some amount that you are willing to pay (and can afford) and they are willing to accept.

3) Allow them to sue you and win, and then either:

a) if you don't have many assets, much money, or a a job, and you live only on social security, a pension, a 401k, or disability, don't worry about it too much--they can't touch those kinds of income, so they can't really get anything from you;

b) if you have a job or assets, but can't afford to pay, declare bankruptcy--as long as you did not cause the accident DUI/DWI, bankruptcy will reduce or eliminate a debt from this kind of lawsuit. (You'll then have to live with the consequences of bankruptcy to your credit history and ability to get credit for the next 7 - 10 years.)

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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