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Ray, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 36329
Experience:  30 years in civil, probate, real estate, elder law
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Last year in June I was in an accident. I rear-ended a utility

Customer Question

Last year in June I was in an accident. I rear-ended a utility vehicle belonging to the Department of Transportation(DOT). I was given a citation which I fought in court and won. It was thrown out (thanks to the advise from one of Justanswer attorney's).
Because my medical bills were covered by my medical insurance mostly, I did not file a clain against the DOT.
Now, I got a bill of 16,000K for damages to the utility vehicle. I felt the accident was cause by their negligence and because they stop abruptly in front of me on the HWY. I live in Washington state.
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ray replied 6 months ago.
Hi and welcome to JA. Ray here to help you today. You need to submit this to your insurance.Your insurance company is required to defend and pay if found liable.But you are required to notify them that a claim has been made against you and they can gather facts and decide whether it is appropriate to deny the claim. You should understand that civil liability is based on state negligence laws and has different standards than the criminal ones applied to the ticket.You might well be civilly negligent but not criminally negligent here.
Expert:  Ray replied 6 months ago.
Washington follow contributory fault laws.This means if they are say 30% negligent their claim is reduced by this much.The insurer will have to investigate and determine who was at fault and the amount each party was negligent here. Report it here and let your insurance deal with it.I appreciate the chance to help you today.Thanks again.
Expert:  Ray replied 6 months ago.
If you can positive rate when we are done it is much appreciated.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I feel more information is needed. My family and I had been on an extended vacation and with my bad luck our car insurance had over lapped and was inactive at the time of the accident. Not a happy wife when I found that out, but that was the case. So there was no active insurance at the time.
Expert:  Ray replied 6 months ago.
So here you can wait until they sue you and file an answer and contest it.If they get a judgment Chapter 7 maybe an option.The civil law requires the court to determine if you were at fault here say 51-49% and their claim is reduced by this amount.You are free to respond to their letter here telling them you have no insurance and that you will contest any such suit to hold you liable.These are your options.
Expert:  Ray replied 6 months ago.
Likely they are going to hold you at least 51% here negligent.You can try to resolve it with them, offer them 33% and see what they say arguing they were negligent too.
Expert:  Ray replied 6 months ago.
Tell them if they will not accept your offer you may file Chapter 7 and they get nothing here. It gives you leverage since they know that there is no insurance either. Thanks again for the follow up.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I don't have an issue paying something, but I don't feel I should have to pay it all. There were no flags, cones or anything to indicate they were going to stop. I have seen them on the roads many times and there has always been warnings or cones to block the lane they are parked in.
Since it's just a bill now, would I need to wait for them to sue me before needing the involve an attorney if they decline my offer to pay 33%?
Expert:  Ray replied 6 months ago.
Yes you can wait and see if they sue here or take your offer.If they won't settle wait here and see if they sue or write it off.