I was driving someone else's vehicle (they had no liability) and while pulling out of a parking space at a Target put a minor dent in the passenger door on a 15 year old minivan with a blue book of $2000. I offered to pay for repairs. She was hostile and demanded the police be called. They said they couldn't do anything it was on private property and had to get her to stop screaming at me and calling me names. I got a bill in the mail for $1,800 from her insurance company. I moved and never got anything else in the mail. When I went to renew my license 3 years later found out it was suspended. I don't want to pay this bill, it's an outrageous amount and for that kind of money I should be getting the title. What can I do? It's been 6 or 7 years.
I am not licensed to practice law in Washington, but if this happened in Missouri, you would not get your license reinstated until you paid the amount owed for the damages to the vehicle. Sometimes, the lawyer for the victim's insurance company will sign a release (allowing you to get your license reinstated) if you enter into an installment agreement to pay the damages and make a few payments, or they might agree to accept a smaller lump sum before releasing you.
You don't have the right to determine the value of the damages or the value of the vehicle you damaged. You say you moved away and never got anything else in the mail. Any judge will see this situation as one in which you attempted to evade the insurance company's attempt to contact you. You might try and dispute the amount of the damages, but it's been 6 years since this happened, so it will be more difficult.
In my opinion, your best option is to pay the $1,800.
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The other party got a judgment against you in court. After this much time it is unlikely you will be able to vacate the judgment. Judgments only last for a fixed number of years and have to be renewed to remain valid. In my state, it is 7 years.
Check with the dmv and if the judgment renewal time has passed you will be able to get paperwork from the dmv which clears your license.
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The following things are NOT relevant to your driving status/driver's license: whether or not the accident happened on private or public property, the fact that you were screamed at and called names, and the fact you offered to pay for repairs.
The following things ARE relevant: In WA state, insurance companies are allowed to put a hold on your license for uninsured motor vehicle accidents (like yours). The insurance company contacts the Department of Licensing here, tells them about the judgment, and that allows the DOL to suspend your license.
The only way you can get your license back is to satisfy the judgment against you. That does not necessarily mean you will be on the hook for $1,800. Perhaps after 3 years their insurance company will settle for less. You need to contact the insurance company and negotiate with them a price that satisfies them. Again, that might be less than $1,800, it might be more.
So long as the judgment is outstanding, your privilege to drive will continue to be suspended, even if you move out of Washington. Call the insurance company and try to take care of it. I do not necessarily think you need an attorney to do that.
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