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Being sued for a auto-accident, any advice welcome

americana

Junior Member
#1
What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? California

Hello,

I will try to put it as simply as I can. I was involved in an auto-accident in which I rear-ended one of the parties involved. What had happened was the at-fault party made an unsafe lane change resulting in me rear-ending her and her rear ending the car in front of her. I at the time did not have car insurance because I had just bought my car and was in the process of getting it registered. I did however have a temporary moving permit which made it legal for me to drive without registration or insurance. The police report determined the person at fault to be the car I rear-ended because she was in violation of VC 21658. She is now trying to sue me in a small claims court because her car was totaled and I didn't have insurance.

I would like to know if she has any solid grounds for suing me or will the judge base the decision off of the police report? I'm also wondering if I did have insurance would my insurance have fought her claims or is she in the right to a settlement? A lot of people told me that CA law states that if you rear-end someone you're automatically at fault but in this case there was no way to avoid rear-ending her car because she did an unsafe lane change.

A little more detail about the accident: I was driving within a safe distance between me and the car in front of me when this lady decided to merge in front of me at a high speed. Unfortunately for her we were nearing an intersection and the light had turned red so she had to break really aggressively which left me no room to break safely as she had constricted the space between our cars considerably.

I would like to know how this will go for me and whether or not I should worry. She is asking for over $5000 for damages to her car which is barely worth under $1000. Also any advice on how to present my side of the story to the judge would be immensely appreciated.

Thank you!
 

Zigner

Senior Member
#2
What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? California

Hello,

I will try to put it as simply as I can. I was involved in an auto-accident in which I rear-ended one of the parties involved. What had happened was the at-fault party made an unsafe lane change resulting in me rear-ending her and her rear ending the car in front of her. I at the time did not have car insurance because I had just bought my car and was in the process of getting it registered. I did however have a temporary moving permit which made it legal for me to drive without registration or insurance. The police report determined the person at fault to be the car I rear-ended because she was in violation of VC 21658. She is now trying to sue me in a small claims court because her car was totaled and I didn't have insurance.

I would like to know if she has any solid grounds for suing me or will the judge base the decision off of the police report? I'm also wondering if I did have insurance would my insurance have fought her claims or is she in the right to a settlement? A lot of people told me that CA law states that if you rear-end someone you're automatically at fault but in this case there was no way to avoid rear-ending her car because she did an unsafe lane change.

A little more detail about the accident: I was driving within a safe distance between me and the car in front of me when this lady decided to merge in front of me at a high speed. Unfortunately for her we were nearing an intersection and the light had turned red so she had to break really aggressively which left me no room to break safely as she had constricted the space between our cars considerably.

I would like to know how this will go for me and whether or not I should worry. She is asking for over $5000 for damages to her car which is barely worth under $1000. Also any advice on how to present my side of the story to the judge would be immensely appreciated.

Thank you!
Slow down there - your "temporary moving permit" does NOT allow you to drive the vehicle without insurance. When the DMV gets the report (you DID file a report, as required by California law, right?), you will be facing a 1-year license suspension.

The only way to "present your side" is to tell the truthful story.
 

americana

Junior Member
#3
Slow down there - your "temporary moving permit" does NOT allow you to drive the vehicle without insurance. When the DMV gets the report (you DID file a report, as required by California law, right?), you will be facing a 1-year license suspension.

The only way to "present your side" is to tell the truthful story.
You mean a police report? If so then yes a police report was filed but I haven’t been contacted by the dmv about it. And the temporary moving permit was to allow me to move the vehicle in order to get smog/brake and lamp inspections done. They had told me it would be alright to drive the car for that purpose but I wasn’t aware that I needed insurance or that I would even be able to get it without my car being fully registered. I only found out I could have had insurance without registration after this ordeal.
 

Zigner

Senior Member
#4
You mean a police report? If so then yes a police report was filed but I haven’t been contacted by the dmv about it. And the temporary moving permit was to allow me to move the vehicle in order to get smog/brake and lamp inspections done. They had told me it would be alright to drive the car for that purpose but I wasn’t aware that I needed insurance or that I would even be able to get it without my car being fully registered. I only found out I could have had insurance without registration after this ordeal.
Nope, I'm talking about the report that YOU are required to submit to the DMV, not the police report. https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/forms/sr/sr1

Did you bring the car in from another state? If not, then California doesn't require "brake and lamp inspections." California is VERY clear that your vehicle must be insured in order to drive it on the road in California. It's not even believable that you weren't aware of that.
 

FlyingRon

Senior Member
#5
There are only two states in the union that even "technically" do not require insurance (and in those states alternate means of financial responsibility are in place and they're a long way from California). Why on earth would you drive the car under any circumstances without liability insurance. Normally, this would be a no brainer. Your insurance would handle it. You may wish to consult an attorney. Frankly most drivable vehicles are worth more than $1000.

As pointed out, if you have an accident with more than a trivial amount of damage ($1000 among all cars and anything else you hit) or injury, you must report it to the DMV (SR-1). Failure to do so will result in your suspension as will the fact that you don't have insurance.