Saint Petersburg, FL asked in Car Accidents for Florida

Q: I was in a fender bender last June and my ins did not take effect until next day. The accident was my fault and the othe

The other partys ins co keeps calling me to recover their payout. I live on SS retirement and own a mobile home. I explained my income just covers necessities and I can't pay them anything. What can they do

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3 Lawyer Answers
Charles M.  Baron
Charles M. Baron
Answered
  • Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Hollywood, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: Probably the reason they keep calling you is that they figure it will be a waste of time and money to sue you. They can sue you within 4 years of the date they had to make the payout to their insured, resulting in a money judgment against you - but S.S. income and the dwelling you live in are exempt from the assets that creditors are entitled to collect. If you are sued, it's best to promptly consult an attorney in your area in person to determine if you are indeed non-collectible, and to determine the steps that should be taken.

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Terrence H Thorgaard
Terrence H Thorgaard
Answered
  • Freeeport, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: They can file a civil suit against you. If the amount of damages are less than the small claims jurisdictional limit, they will file a complaint in small claims court. You will be notified of the suit when you are served (either by a peace officer or a process server) with process (a summons informing you of the date and time of the pretrial conference assuming it's a small claims case, and a copy of the complaint) They will seek a judgment against you. A judgment is a finding by the judge that you owe a specific amount of money. The judgment can include court costs.

At the small claims pretrial conference, again assuming it's a small claims case, you can be defaulted if you don't show up; a judgment would be entered against you. If you appear, some areas have mediation available at which time you, the mediator, and the attorney for the insurance company may attempt to arrive at an agreement by which you agree to pay a certain amount over a stipulated period of time. Or you might want to talk directly to the plaintiff's attorney about a similar type settlement. Other options for you would be to agree to the entry of judgment, or to go to trial and make them prove their damages.

A civil case is different from a criminal case; you can't be put in jail for failure to pay. However since it's a traffic case, your license might be suspended. And if a judgment is entered, you have to fill out what's called a "fact information sheet", if one is requested.

Peter N. Munsing
Peter N. Munsing
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Wyomissing, PA

A: If you own your mobile home clear, they could try to get a judgment and you might need to look at bankruptcy protection. If your car was added, may be covered. They can also ask the Dept of Transportaion to suspend your license if that is allowed in Florida.

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