What do I do if I was at fault for an accident with my car was but didn’t have insurance at the time?

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What do I do if I was at fault for an accident with my car was but didn’t have insurance at the time?

I’m now being sued.

Asked on November 24, 2014 under Accident Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

If you didn't have insurance at the time, it doesn't matter if you subsequently obtained insurance: an insurer only needs to pay if there was insurance at the time of the accident.

You can try to defend against the suit. You can defend on either or both of the basis that you are not liable, or financially responsible, because the other driver was at fault (you are only liable if and to the degree you were at fault in causing the accident), and/or the amount of damage (i.e. that the other person is overstating their car damage or injuries, and therefore is not entitled to as much money--they can only get, even if they win the case, what is provably the result of your at-fault actions).

Of course, the facts may be against you--it may be that you were at fault and they did suffer the injuries, damage, costs, etc. they are claiming. If that's the case, you'll very likely lose the lawsuit.

You can try to settle, or get them to agree to accept less money, and/or money paid out over time instead of all at once, to satisfy the suit. They may take this because that way, they avoid the cost, time, and uncertainty (no case is every 100% guaranteed to win) of trial. If you and then can agree on a number or payment plan, this may resolve the matter.

If you can't successfully defend or try and lose, and also cannot settle on terms you can live with, you may need to consider bankruptcy as an option: bankruptcy works on debts from car accidents as long the accident did not involve DUI/DWI (you can't discharge DUI/DWI debts in bankruptcy).


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