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What are my defenses? Settling, mediating, small claims or counterclaim for subrogation of $19,000 against me. What can I do?

North Hollywood, CA |

I was in a collision back in July of 2012, my insurance had lapsed, i was hit head on, we exchanged info, they never took my statement or my side of what happened. I had repaired my car on my own since I had no insurance, and I was never contacted 'til now that the other party's insurance claims I was at-fault, they have an law firm coming after me to recover $19,000, what can I do? I have no assets, money, or credit, I just turned 18, graduated high school, barely have enough for me. My insurance didn't want to handle this because they said the auto-payment never went through so we weren't covered.

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Attorney answers 5


The other person's insurer stands in their insured's shoes when making a subrogation claim against you. Therefore, you have all of the defenses available arising from the underlying motor vehicle accident against the subrogation action that you would have had the other driver sued you - including fault for the crash. California is a comparative fault state.
Small claims is not an option because the jurisdictional limit is exceeded.
Mediation is an option however mediation is a process to negotiate a settlement and is not binding on either side. As a result, you may under up paying mediation fees and not accomplishing anything.
Settling is an option. Most subrogation claims can be resolved at a discount and with a payment plan.
Having them sue you is an option. You will have to pay a filing fee but then you may be able to seek a Mandatory Settlement Conference which may result in a judicially negotiated settlement.
Filing for bankruptcy is an option to discharge the debt/liability as to the person for BK protection. Since you were less than 18 at the time of the accident, your parents and the person who owned the car may also be exposed to this subrogation claim.

As stated above, this is an incomplete answer but an attempt to provide a cursory overview of a subject that attorneys 'practice' and improve upon during the entirety of their legal careers. This response is not meant as legal advice or as a legal opinion. Such advice would be impossible or impractical without additional information and more facts giving rise to the question. A consultation with an attorney is necessary.


If you were not at fault, even if you did not have insurance, you are likely entitled to bring your own claim. Find a local personal injury attorney asap for a consultation.


Consult with a personal injury attorney who can bring a claim on your behalf.


Contact one of the above lawyers in your state to resolve this.


Explore BK. Best of luck.

This answer is provided by California Accident Attorney Manuel A. Juarez, Esq., 510-206-4492. Abogado de Accidentes de Autos de California: 510-206-4492. Abogado de Lesiones de Accidentes de Autos, provides answers of a general context. These answers are not intended to form an attorney client relationship. Oakland Abogado Accidentes Autos, Abogado de Lesiones Personales, Abogado de Accidentes de carros, Abogado de accidentes de Peatones, practices in Antioch, Berkeley, Concord, Oakland, Hayward, Martinez, Newark, Richmond, San Francisco and San Rafael. El abogado de lesiones y heridos en accidentes de autos, is licensed only in California. This information is good only in California and it is not to be taken as legal advice on car accidents, personal injury, divorce, bankruptcy or in any other type of situation. Esta respuesta es del Abogado de Accidentes de Autos, Abogado de Lesiones Personales, Abogado de Heridos en Accidentes de carros, Manuel A. Juárez, 510-206-4492. Abogado Hispano de Accidentes, Abogado de Divorcios, Abogado Latino de Accidentes, Abogado de Accidentes de Oakland, Hayward, San Francisco, California. Estas respuesta son solo para información general y no consisten en consejo legal sobre divorcios, mantención de esposas, mantención de hijos o bancarrotas. Las respuestas son comentarios legales que no forman una relación de abogado y cliente. Manuel Juarez, Esq., esta licenciado solo en el Estado de California.

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