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    miss_chula's Avatar
    miss_chula Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
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    #1

    Jan 17, 2006, 10:30 PM
    Proof of Insurance for a no-fault auto accident
    I was recently involved in an accident. Unfortunately, my insurance lapsed. I have witnesses that claim the accident was not my fault. However, since I did not have insurance at the time, I do not know what I may be liable for. If I can prove the accident was not my fault, will that mean I will not have to pay for the other person's damages? I know I may lose my license for a year, but I just want to know how much I might have to pay out to this person.
    RickJ's Avatar
    RickJ Posts: 7,762, Reputation: 864
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    #2

    Jan 18, 2006, 05:52 AM
    This is two separate issues.

    Was the other person cited for a violation that resulted in the accident?

    If not, then your only worry is them/their insurance company pursueing you - claiming it was your fault - which I believe is unlikely (if there was no citation issued).
    Fr_Chuck's Avatar
    Fr_Chuck Posts: 81,302, Reputation: 7692
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    #3

    Jan 18, 2006, 09:34 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by miss_chula
    I was recently involved in an accident. Unfortunately, my insurance lapsed. I have witnesses that claim the accident was not my fault. However, since I did not have insurance at the time, I do not know what I may be liable for. If I can prove the accident was not my fault, will that mean I will not have to pay for the other person's damages? I know I may lose my license for a year, but I just want to know how much I might have to pay out to this person.

    First of course you should have received a ticket for "no proof of insurance" or "no insurance". Next did you receive any tickets for the accident. If there was, you will need to either be found not guilty of the ciminal ticket or plead NOLO.

    The real thing will be the civil trial if the other party or their insurance company sues you in court for damages.

    A lot of the info you will need is to look at the police report, see what is written in it as to who they claim to be at fault. Next you will need your witenss. But it may be months before you go to trial.

    Of course even with a witness the other side may and can still sue you.
    You need to hire an attorney to represent you.
    excon's Avatar
    excon Posts: 21,482, Reputation: 2992
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    #4

    Jan 18, 2006, 10:13 AM
    Sloooow doooown, Miss
    Hello miss chula:

    Like I said to the Padre, I'll betcha you didn't even call the cops. If that's so, then you've not been ticketed and your license is safe. I suggest that you get insurance now and not let it lapse.

    That handles your problems in traffic court - you have none.

    Next is civil court, which is where you'll be if they sue you. Yes, if you can prove the accident was not your fault, then of course you'll win. Furthermore, if they sue and you file a countersuit for the damage done to your car, you'll win that too.

    So, if they don't sue you, maybe you should sue them. Whether you had insurance at the time isn't relevant in civil court - only who's fault it was. Make sure your witness appears with you. Notarized statements won’t cut it.

    excon
    Fr_Chuck's Avatar
    Fr_Chuck Posts: 81,302, Reputation: 7692
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    #5

    Jan 18, 2006, 11:15 AM
    Assumed
    Yes I did assume you called the police, since you said you would lose your licence for a year, normal sentence for driving with no insurance. But a good atttorney can often get that reduced to a fine and/or community service.

    So yes if no police, no ticket and no criminal issue.

    And yes as excon says, the witness will have to appear in court, if there was no police report then only the evidence you bring is looked at. And yes civil court does not care if you had insurance only who is at fault.

    Also if the damage is less than the allowed in small claims court you can sue there, no lawyer is needed
    sideoutshu's Avatar
    sideoutshu Posts: 225, Reputation: 23
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    #6

    Jan 18, 2006, 11:52 AM
    What state are you in? I will base this on NY law, since that is what I know.

    I would say that if you are the type of person who lets your insurance lapse, you are also the type of person who doesn't have much by way of assets that could be taken in a lawsuit. That being said, if you are in a state with a system similar to NY, you are going to be fine assuming that the other driver didn't suffer HORRIFIC injuries.

    This is what will happen, the other driver (or his passengers) will hire a lawyer, the lawyer will see that you have no insurance. He will then exercise one or both of the following options:

    (1) File a claim against MVAIC (Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation) for his clients injuries. This is what you do when a car that causes an accident has no insurance. A plaintiff can acquire up to $25,000 from a state fund set up to protect people who are injured from people like you.

    (2) File a claim against the other driver's own insurance company. Every automobile insurance policy comes with UM(uninsured motorist) and SUM (supplemental underinsured motorist) coverage. So if you get in an accident with someone who has little or no insurance, you still have a way to recover. If the car that you were involved with was expensive, or new-ish, they probably carry decent insurance and they will go that route.
    sideoutshu's Avatar
    sideoutshu Posts: 225, Reputation: 23
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    #7

    Jan 18, 2006, 11:58 AM
    In response to the questions and responses about representing yourself, don't do it, you will lose. Like I said above, the chances of you having to go to court are slim anyway, but if you did, your testimony is not going to stand up very well against the accident reconstruction expert the plaintiff brings in. If you feel the need to do so, get a written statement from the witness stating his name, residence, SS#, how the accident happened, where he was standing in relation to the cars, weather conditions, visual obstructions if any, the color of any applicable lights for both vehicles, approximate speed, his distance from the impact, where the cars came to rest after the impact, etc. Have him draw a diagram if possible. Then have it notarized so that when the time of trial comes(if it ever would) he can't come in and say something different.

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