Q: What am I able to do in this situation?
Two years ago my mom crashed into my neighbor. They told us that we can just pay the insurance down payment ($500) and that would be the end of it. We paid the $500 in cash and didn’t get any proof (dumb, I know). We later got letters in the mail from an attorney saying we need to pay over $2000 because of the damages/insurance, etc. We do not have enough money to pay that much, and we had already paid the down payment. They also put the wrong name in the documents we received. They put my moms name and another random name that we had never heard of. We also know that he works in a car dealership where he uses the cars for free, and they want to charge us for having to “rent” a car while theirs got fixed. The damage to the car wasn’t even that bad, it must’ve been in the shop for a day or two. We don’t know what to do, since we do not have money and the only proof we have is the picture of the crash and the letters we got in the mail.
A: I'm sorry about your predicament. Unfortunately, the options are limited because two years have elapsed. It sounds like the attorney is handling a subrogation action for the insurance carrier to get its money back for the property damage claim. It doesn't look like this is stemming from your neighbor denying receipt of the $500. I could be mistaken, but that's what it appears to be, based on your description. What must have happened here is that your neighbor handled the damage as a first-party claim through their own insurance. If these facts are correct, you could explain to the insurance company attorney that had you known that reimbursement of these funds would have been demanded of you, you would have handled the claim through your mom's insurance. Maybe the attorney could explore the possibly of your mom's insurance honoring the claim at this late time, despite their deprival of notice of the claim, based on your reasonable beliefs that the victims insurance would take care of everything.
If this does not work, you could try to negotiate for an installment plan. A court could have sympathy for your situation because of your financial situation and the fact that you merely missed the boat to have this treated as a claim against your mom's insurance instead of the neighbor's insurance - the means to pay it was there and available. It looks like your mom did not take advantage of it. Or they could say you should have known. There's no telling how they could view the matter.
I hope your mom's carrier will be sympathetic to you and consider the claim at this late stage. You could try it. Good luck
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