What should I do if an insurance company is coming after me for a no fault accident? 30 Answers as of July 10, 2013I was in accident where I rear ended someone and then someone else hit me. The report was written as though no one at fault. Come to find out, my insurance had been canceled 2 or 3 days before. The insurance company of the truck I hit is coming after me and threatening me. No citations were written. What should I do?
ROWE LAW FIRM | Jeffrey S. Wittenbrink
Your question does not truly pertain to a "no-fault" accident under Louisiana law. Under Louisiana law, a rear-end collision is presumed to be the fault of the following vehicle, subject to certain defenses, such as a "sudden emergency" or that the taillights of the vehicle in front were defective. If your insurance was cancelled and you were beyond the "grace period" for reinstatement prior to the accident and/or have not reinstated your insurance, you will have to pay an attorney for your defense or defend yourself. There may be defenses to the accident that need to be explored, including whether or not anyone was actually injured or harmed in the accident. Many times accidents occur with no one being actually injured. In that instance, even if you are at fault in the accident you will only owe for the property damage you may have caused.
Answer Applies to: Louisiana
Judnich Law Office | Martin W. Judnich
Liability wise, you may be looking at being personally sued. The fact that you did not have insurance, due to it being cancelled days before, means that you personally are liable to the vehicle that you hit. It does not matter that no citations were given in a police report. Liability and citations do not necessarily go hand in hand. The only thing you can do to try to not be sued is to try to work something out with the truck that you hit, if they were injured. We have this and more info in the link to our insurance blog on our website.
Answer Applies to: Montana
The Law Office of Josh Lamborn, P.C. | Josh Lamborn
There is really no such thing as a no fault accident. Someone is always at fault and here it sounds like you are at fault. If you have no personal assets it is likely that the insurance company will threaten to sue you, but won't because it will not be economically beneficial to try to spend money to get nothing from you. It is more likely that they will reimburse their insured through their uninsured motorist coverage. If you do have assets they may decide to sue you (or if they just feel litigious). If you are sued you will be served with the lawsuit. The lawsuit will say how much they are asking for. You can agree to pay that amount; you could try and negotiate the case with the attorney yourself, or you could hire your own attorney. What you do not want to do is ignore a lawsuit because then the court will automatically award the other side what they were asking for. For now you are kind of in a wait and see mode.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Law Offices of Earl K. Straight | Earl K. Straight
Since your own insurance had been cancelled prior to the accident, they will not defend you. You are thus on your own. You can fight the claim yourself or hire an attorney to help you. The worst thing you can do is ignore it. They will eventually file a lawsuit, and if you do not answer the suit and defend yourself they will take a default judgment against you. The other option is work out a settlement with them. You may also have a claim against the car that hit you for your own damages, and if that impact was enough to push you into the car in front of you a second time, the car behind you could share some responsibility for the damages to the car in front of you.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Premier Law Group | Jason Epstein
I've got bad news for you. If you rear ended someone, then it was your fault. It doesn't matter how the ticket was written or if no citations were issued. The accident where you hit the car in front of you was your fault. The second accident where the other car hit you was not your fault. You will be personally responsible for all damages you caused from the accident that is your fault.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A. | Christopher J. Roberts
The first thing I would ask is why your insurance was cancelled. If there is some way to dispute the cancellation, you should. The insurance company otherwise would handle all of this for you, including hiring you a lawyer if needed. Assuming it was properly cancelled (e.g., for nonpayment of premium), you will be responsible for defending yourself. Most rear end accidents are considered the fault of the driver who struck the other car. However, the fact that the police officer did not cite you suggests that there may have been circumstances to excuse the event. For example, if the person in front of you slammed on his brakes for no reason, or if there was a very slick spot that you could not have anticipated. Or if may be that you only "tapped" the car in front of you, until you were rear ended and then slammed back into that car. In that event, it would be much more the fault of the guy who hit you. You have to decide whether you think you can convince a jury that you were not at fault in causing the accident and/or the damage to the truck (or injuries to the occupants). The insurance company cannot make you pay unless they take you to court and get a judgment against you. They may not want to spend the money to sue you, but they may. It is very important that if you are sued, that you hire a lawyer unless you are already familiar with the court system. If you don't comply with applicable court deadlines, file a proper answer to the complaint, and otherwise follow all the procedures to defend yourself, you could lose the case without even getting in front of a jury. If you think you may have been partly at fault despite what the police said, you may try to negotiate with the insurance company and agree to something like a payment plan for damages to the vehicle.
Answer Applies to: Florida
E. Ray Critchett, LLC | Ray Critchett
You should schedule an appointment with an attorney to defend you. The insurance company may attempt to obtain a judgment against you and then try to lien your assets. Whether someone is or is not cited on the accident report does not matter.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
Just because no citations were issued does not mean that no one was at fault. If you hit someone in the rear, there is a legal presumption in Florida that you were at fault. If your insurance was canceled, and if you don't have any insurance coverage for it, then I would discuss with the insurance company that they work some kind of a deal out with you to accept monthly payments. Otherwise, they will sue you and the costs of the lawsuit will be added on to whatever judgment they get against you, and once they get a judgment, then you don't have any control over how you pay them.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
Try to reinstate your insurance if your insurance was canceled for nonpayment and you were still within a grace period; if not, cooperate with the person you hit by signing an affidavit of no insurance if they will release you.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Law Offices of Andrew D. Myers | Andrew D. Myers
"No fault" does not mean what many think it means. All "no fault" means is that medical bills and certain documented wage replacement benefits are paid by the motor vehicle operator's own insurance carrier without a requirement that "fault" be determined, and without looking to the vehicle that struck that operator. With respect to bodily injury or other claims, a determination of fault is alive and well and necessary. "No fault" benefits have been around for about 40 years in states in which legislatures have fallen for the scheme under heavy lobbying from the insurance companies. Do yourself a favor and retain an attorney. The insurance industry's own data indicates that once an injured person retains an attorney the value of the claim can as much as double.
Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
Magnuson Lowell P.S. | Richard S. Lowell
If you rear-ended someone, then most of the time, you are at fault. It doesn't necessarily matter that no citations were written. I'm not sure why you believe this is a no fault accident - but if it was, then you need an attorney who can make that argument for you and impress it upon the truck's insurer. Otherwise, you will want someone who can negotiate with the insurer on your behalf. Because you didn't have insurance, the truck's insurer can contact the Dept of Licensing and ask it to revoke your driver's license until the matter is resolved (or unless you put up a $25,000 bond). This can be a tricky situation. I recommend you contact an attorney - like me - who has experience dealing with claimants and insurance companies.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo | Mark Leonardo
If your accident occurred in California, this is not a no-fault state. If you were uninsured, the insurer of the car you hit will cover that persons car damages and injuries, but then the insurer will come after you for what they paid out. As for your insurance, please be certain that you were given 30 days notice of the impending cancellation of your policy. Without that, they should provide coverage. If you are on your own, all you can do is negotiate with the insurance company that comes after you and make a payment plan and try to negotiate as low of an overall settlement as you can. Lump sums will get you a bigger discount where a payment plan will cost you more in the long run. If the damages are significant, you should consult with an attorney before attempting to negotiate.
Answer Applies to: California
West law Office | Russell West
If you rear ended someone you are the responsible party for the person you hit regardless of whether you were ticketed of not. They have every right to come after you. The best thing you can do is try to negotiate with their insurance company to work out the best deal possible with them. You can also hire a lawyer to help you do this. If you don't work something out they can take you to court and get a judgment and place a lien on your property until you pay. If someone hit you then you have a claim against them if there was any property damage or injury as result to someone rear ending you.
Answer Applies to: Washington
David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
Citations do not determine who was at fault. Officers write citations based on their view of the evidence. Sometimes, the officer does not assign fault because he/she cannot figure out beyond a reasonable doubt who is at fault. Do not assume that you are not liable just because you did not get a ticket. Offer to pay whatever premium you failed to pay and get a copy of your insurance policy and read the grace provisions carefully to see if you are within some grace period to have the policy reinstated. If you cannot get insurance coverage, settle the claim for as little as you can. Retain an attorney to help you.
Answer Applies to: South Carolina