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What would happen if I don’t pay for an accident that was my fault?

Asked by user in California.

I was in a car accident and I was at fault. The other person’s insurance company is suing me. What would happen if I don’t pay? I'm not willing to pay anything because I don’t have the $30,000 they’re asking for.

Answered by Enjuris Editors:

If you’re sued by the insurance company and the court determines that you were at fault for the accident, the court will enter a judgment against you.

If you do not pay the judgment, the insurance company (at this point called the “creditor”) can take a certain percentage of your future earnings every month (this is called a “wage garnishment”) in order to satisfy the judgment. The insurance company can also seize certain assets (such as the money in your bank account and your car).

Keep in mind that it costs the insurance company money to garnish your wages and seize your assets. For this reason, insurance companies are generally very happy to work out a payment plan with you based on what you can afford to pay every month. I would strongly recommend talking to the insurance company. Explain that you can’t pay the $30,000 immediately, but that you would like to work out a payment plan.

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Car Accident, DUI, DWI
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