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I was in a car accident in which I was at fault and I was not insured at the time, what are my rights?

San Jose, CA |

I was in a car accident in which I ran into the car in front of me. I am at fault and my Insurance policy had lapsed so I was uninsured. I am now getting a bill from a collections agency and they are saying that I still owe fees. Can they do that? What are my rights? I owe 5,000.00 which they have provided no reason in which the charges are that and say that the amount is still pending for medical from the other party. What should I do?

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Attorney answers 1



I wasn’t a witness to the accident and do not know if you were, or were not at fault. Probably not a good idea to indicate so in writing to the world (hey—that’s just the lawyer in me). In any case, absent a judgment, you are not obligated to pay anyone anything.

You may have one or more defenses available to you. I would contact a local attorney to see what they are. You may want to go to the AVVO web site and look for an experienced personal injury defense attorney in your area. You may also want to check or for excellent personal injury defense lawyers.

Why do you think you owe $%K? Who is sending you the bill? The other driver? The other driver’s insurance company? The auto storage facility? Normally these types of items/bills can be negotiated. Especially in today’s fragile economic climate.

Remember that when determining responsibility, it first needs to be determined that you were negligent for causing the accident. So what exactly is negligence? It is the doing of something which a reasonably prudent person would not do, or the failure to do something which a reasonably prudent person would do, under circumstances similar to those shown by the evidence. It is the failure to use ordinary or reasonable care.

Ordinary or reasonable care is that care which persons of ordinary prudence would use in order to avoid injury to themselves or others under circumstances similar to those shown by the evidence. The person whose conduct we set up as a standard is not the extraordinarily cautious individual, nor the exceptionally skillful one, but a person of reasonable and ordinary prudence.

One test that is helpful in determining whether or not a person was negligent is to ask and answer the question whether or not, if a person of ordinary prudence had been in the same situation and possessed of the same knowledge, he or she would have foreseen or anticipated that someone might have been injured by or as a result of his or her action or inaction. If the answer to that question is "yes", and if the action or inaction reasonably could have been avoided, then not to avoid it would be negligence.

If I were you, I would not attempt to handle this case on your own. Too many issues you need to deal with.

The above information is provided for discussion purposes only. Jackson & Wilson, Inc. and its attorneys believe in helping people and answering their questions and providing information and solutions. To encourage and facilitate this practice, it is understood and agreed by the recipient that by opening, reading and viewing this information, no attorney-client relationship has been discussed, agreed to or otherwise established. In legal matters, time is of the essence. As such, you should contact an experienced lawyer right away to protect your legal rights!

Best Regards,

Jon Mitchell "Mitch" Jackson
Jackson & Wilson, Inc.
Tel No. 949-855-8751
Toll Free 800-661-7044

2009 “Top Gun” Orange County Trial Lawyer of the Year
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