Legal Question in Credit and Debt Law in California

I was at fault in a car accident that caused almost $10,000 damage to the other guys car (hardly any to mine) and I only have $5,000 insurance coverage. I'm a 58 year old widow who has had a mental block when it comes to understanding insurance and I had no idea I was underinsured. My only source of income is SSDI and the only thing I own is my 1993 Jeep and a house with no equity. I'm just sick because I don't know how I'm going to pay this $5,000. Does the law allow any recourse for me and can you suggest how I might deal with this problem? Thank you.

Asked on 9/01/09, 12:43 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Larry L. Doan Law Office of Larry L. Doan

The only recourse is bankruptcy if you want to discharge the debt. That's probably not the answer you want to hear. However, you should know that even if you don't file for bankruptcy, if you are judgment-proof, i.e., no real asset to go after, then even if the other guy sues and gets a judgment against you, he won't be able to collect anything. Your house is a potential asset but if it has no equity, it is not an asset now. He could place a lien on the house for the $5,000 judgment but the homestead exemption you are entitled to will make that lien pretty much worthless.

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Answered on 9/02/09, 2:50 am

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