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JB Umphrey
JB Umphrey, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 20232
Experience:  Explains legal matters based on 14+ years experience.
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Customer Question

I have a case in the court of common pleas in delaware. not a criminal case because was car accident on private property. I agreed to rent a car to a associate for 330.00 per month . I said i would cover the insurance. Associtate drove car for 4 months never made a payment. None of this is in writing. no receipts , check copies etc. Since the associtate never made payment he continued to drive car . After I cancelled the insurance. I did not tell him the insurance was canceled he continued to drive car and had a wreak on private property. No police report file. Insurance company has filed reimbersment claim aganst me and the associate on the same petition. The associate never responed was found guilty by default. I responded to all information and have a court date . The prosection is using the associate that pleaded guilty by default and his girlfriend as witnesses that The associate did have permission to drive the car and had reason to believe the car was insured. I am being charged with allow 3 rd to drive my car knowing that it did not have insureance. Since he has pleaded guilty by default is he admitting the he did drive the car w/o permission or any reason to think car was insured.
could this lead to future criminal charges aganst me for driving w/o license. The accident occred 20 months ago. During opening statment should I request charges aganst me should be dismissed per associate has already pleaded guilty by default. does guitly by default in this matter mean he is stating he did drive the car without permission and was not aware if there was any insurance on the car.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 1 year ago.
Welcome and thank you for your question!

I am sorry to learn of the facts you've described. To clarify:

1. This is a civil case -- not a criminal case.

2. The associate lost by default because he never answered/responded to the lawsuit. In other words, because he choose to not fight the lawsuit, he lost by default.

Is my understanding of what happened, so far, correct?

~~ J.B.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


That is correct assiociate did not respond to the law suit . He chose not to fight the lawsuit.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.


i have not received an answer to my question; During opening statment should I request charges aganst me should be dismissed per associate has already pleaded guilty by default. does guitly by default in this matter mean he is stating he did drive the car without permission and was not aware if there was any insurance on the car.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.


do not understand why I have not received any responses from you

Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for the follow-up response. I am sorry for the delay. It seems that you and I have not been online at the same time when we are posting.

At the time of the accident, you were not the driver, correct?

If you were not the driver at the time of the accident, there is no basis for you to be charged with driving without a license.

From what you've described, there is no basis to request that the case be dismissed during your opening statement. A co-defendant does not have a basis to demand a dismissal just because the other co-defendant had a default judgment entered against them. The law does not say that there can only be a judgment against one party in a lawsuit.

It is possible that the judge/ jury will find that you are not liable.

Or, to the contrary, it is possible that a judgment could be entered against each of you (you and the other co-defendant).

My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back. I am happy to address follow-up questions. Thank you for your business!

~~ J.B.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Ok i was not the driver of the car. The dispute is not about not having a licesnce it is about insurance. I cancelled the insurance on the car. I origanlly said I would rent the car to 2nd party and pay the insurance. The 2 nd party never made a payment of 330.00 per month that was discussed.He drove the car for 4 months .The reason for him needing a car is that his was confinscated per he was arrested on felony drug charges. He needed a way to get back and forth to work until he was to go to prison. because he was not making payments I cancelled insurance thinking that would relieve me of him driving the car and getting into a accident. I did not tell him that I cancelled insurance. this is a case of good vs evil. I was just trying to help someone down on their luck, keep working they approched me they very intimidating and dishonest. I realize i put my self in a bad position but I have a bad habit of having trust in people and also in engaging in conflict. ie. telling him u have not payed me i want the car back etc. his girlfriend kept saying she would pay me and I trusted she would be good to her word.now they putting all blame on me. does the fact that he never payed me by any chance void the verbal contract. Again there is noting in writing , my defense is just to say I never agreed to pay for insurance I know this is not what you want to here but there is no documentation of any of this. I realized I am screwed ,blued and tattooed. The finacial part of it is only 2000 that is a lot of money but not the end of the world. I am just concerned b/c the defense is always wicked is that they will trying to escalate to a criminal charge and that I would lose my licsence and have to pay attorney fees and a large fine. One other point is that 1000.00 of the money that geico is trying to collect is for injurings that occured to the passanger of the parked car. There was no damage to my car and only 600.00 to plantifs car. The injury is anecdotal back by no medical evidence should I motion this be dismissed based on lack of evidence.


What I am looking for from you is just anything that might help ease the pain.

Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 1 year ago.
Kind thanks for the follow-up.

As to your question "does the fact that he never payed me by any chance void the verbal contract," the answer to that is "no." It really does not matter if there is a contract or not.

You see, if you were to "lend" the car to a friend or family member, there can still be liability.

The only time that there would not be liability for you is if the person had the car without your permission -- in other words, they stole your car. And, if that was the case ........ if the person had your car without your permission, then next question to test that is: did you call the police and report the car stolen.

If you did not call the police and report the car as being stolen, then the judge/jury is less likely to believe that the person did not have your permission to have the car.

If you did call the police and report the car as being stolen, then be sure to take that police report with you to court to support your claim that you should not be responsible for his damages because he had your car without your permission.

I hope this helps to clarify things!

~~ J.B.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

What about the 1000.00 injury payment.

at this point what if I just do not show up for hearing. Can I be arrested does habeas corpus come into play. This looks like a total waste of time. I am unemloyed have bankruptcy on credit file. If they can only find me guilt as a civil matter and there are no crimenal concequence i through in the white flag.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Please just let me know if I am in danger of any criminal action if I do not show up for trial. I am Bi Polar and I just can not deal with it . If it is just a money issue without any criminal issues I am done . The damage emotioally and physically is not worth going through over 2000.00

Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 1 year ago.
Criminal cases and civil cases are two different things.

From what you've described, you are only being sued by the insurance company for reimbursement.

There is no police or prosecutor involved. If you don't show up, a money judgment will be issued against you.

J.B.

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