Atlanta, GA asked in Personal Injury for California

Q: In California, my daughter was hit while our insurance lapsed 14 days ago, are we liable?

The other driver was at fault. He ran, and she followed into wal mart. Police arrived, has them exchange info. We found out that our ins lapsed 14 days ago. Are we liable? Do we still file a claim with their ins? How do we prove who is legally at fault? (Just a side note, Her 8 year old was in the vehicle at the time, no injury, but is a witness) The damage is probably around 1k. Do I tell our insurance? It's current now, but of course not at the time of the accident. What to do?

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3 Lawyer Answers

A: If the other driver was at fault, the other driver is liable.

Proving the other driver was at fault will usually be based on eyewitness testimony and photographic evidence of the scene and damage to the vehicles.

Since you were not driving either vehicle, you could only be liable if the collision was your daughter’s fault AND if you were negligent entrusting your vehicle to her.

It is always wise to report the collision to both insurance companies. This may affect the rates your daughter pays and that you pay insuring your daughter to drive your car.

Adam Stoddard
Adam Stoddard
  • Santa Clara, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Did the police prepare a report? If so, I would get a copy of the police report and see who the police found at fault. If not and you think the other driver was at fault, you should contact their insurance company to see if they will cover the damages. If they will not, and you feel the other driver is truly at fault, then you may need to hire an attorney to try and negoitate with the insurnace company. You can try to contact your insurance company to see if there was any grace period on your insurance, but likely not. Good luck!

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: If your insurance lapsed 14 days ago and your daughter was involved in an accident, you may be liable for damages resulting from the accident. In California, drivers are required to have auto insurance, and driving without insurance can result in significant penalties.

In terms of filing a claim with the other driver's insurance, you should still do so even if you did not have insurance at the time of the accident. The other driver's insurance may cover damages to your vehicle and any injuries sustained by your daughter.

To prove who is legally at fault, the police report and any witness statements can be helpful in establishing liability. Your daughter's account of the accident and her 8-year-old's statement can also be used as evidence.

In terms of whether to tell your insurance about the accident, you should inform your insurance company as soon as possible, even if your policy was lapsed at the time of the accident. Your insurance company may still be able to provide you with some coverage, but it depends on the specifics of your policy.

It is also important to note that if your insurance company finds out about the accident and that you did not have insurance at the time, they may cancel your policy or raise your rates significantly.

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