What are uninsured drivers responsible for afteran accident?

UPDATED: Jan 24, 2012

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What are uninsured drivers responsible for afteran accident?

While I was in college my mom paid my car insurance for me. I was unaware however that as a result of financial difficulty my mom stopped making thems and I was driving uninsured. I am insured now but was involved in an accident without insurance. Now the insured’s insurance company is now contacting me with collection notices and phone calls claiming that my license can be revoked if I do not pay. Is this true? Shouldn’t the company cover the people involved in the accident? What am I legally responsible for at this point?

Asked on January 24, 2012 under Accident Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) If you were at fault in causing an accident--for example, you were driving negligently, or carelessly, such as driving too fast for conditions, ignoring highway or street signs or lights, were intoxicated, were texting on a cell phone, etc.--you are liable, or responsible, for the injuries and damage you cause. Even if you were not entirely at fault--the other driver was also careless--generally you can be held liable for a portion of those costs, the amount related to your degree of fault. Only if you were not at fault at all should you not be liable at all.

2) If the other party had insurance, the insurer would pay for his injuries, property damage, etc.--at least up to the limits of his policy.

3) Insurers, however, get what are called subrogation rights. This is the right to sue an at-fault driver to collect what they paid out to their insurered. So, for example, if the insurer paid out $20k, they may seek to collect that $20k from you--the insurer does not have to absorb the cost, if you were at fault.

So if you were at fault, the insurer could seek payment from you. If you do not pay voluntarily, they could sue you for the money; potentially, if you are sued and they obtain a judgment against you and you do not pay, then I believe you could lose your license.

If you do not believe you were at fault, you could refuse to pay and then look to defend yourself in court--that is, present testimony and evidence showing that you were not at fault. The insurer has to prove that you were, by a "preponderance of the evidence" (or more likely than not) that you were at fault to win in court.

If you believe you were at fault and the amount they are seeking is not too great, you may wish to pay it to avoid collections and litigation.

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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