Has a car accident lawsuit been filed against you due to your negligence that led to a fatality, and you are wondering what you will do? Well, car accident lawsuits are not easy, but I can share important details in this article that will help you overcome the hurdle depending on the case’s facts.
Can I Be Sued After Getting In A Car Accident?
If you have been involved in a car accident due to your negligence, there is a chance that the other parties involved can sue you. However, a personal lawsuit directly against you as the at fault driver is not necessary since insurance companies are involved in most cases. This means that filing a lawsuit directly against an individual is usually a last resort.
In most states, personal injury attorneys avoid such lawsuits and only take cases that involve some sort of insurance to provide compensation for the client’s injuries, medical bills, damages, and legal expenses.
Most individuals also lack the financial ability to accommodate personal injury claims or lawsuits out of their pockets. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that any of the victims will come after you directly after a car accident, so it is important to have quality car insurance coverage to handle the matter.
What happens if I am sued after causing a car wreck?
Most at-fault drivers panic when they get served with a car accident lawsuit after the insurance company fails to settle a case with the injured person in an accident that they caused. However, there are things that you need to understand if a car accident lawsuit is filed against you by a person claiming that they were injured in a collision that you caused.
- Contact Your Insurance Company Immediately
Once you cause or get involved in a car accident, you should contact your insurance company as soon as possible. Remember, insurance companies will try to avoid paying any compensation if there is a chance to do it, so you do not want to give them an excuse.
- Free Defense
You need to know that all car insurance policies must provide a free attorney to you if a car accident lawsuit is filed against you. This applies to all the insurance policies, including even minimum limits policy ($25,000).
- Indemnification up to the policy limits amount
This means that the insurance carrier compensates for loss or damage up to the purchased policy limits. Therefore, the insurance policy offers security for financial reimbursement after a person incurs specified losses after a car accident.
If you have a minimum policy limit of $25,000, you will get free defense from the insurance company and be covered up to the purchased limits. In case you have a $60,000 policy and the jury awards you $70,000, you will only get the amount on your policy limit.
- Find out what the lawsuit is about
If you are sued, or there is a claim against you, make sure that you get detailed information about what the claim is about or what you are being sued for from the insurance company.
In this case, you can seek to know the following:
- What is the claim about?
- What are the total lost wages and medical bills?
- How much is the case worth, depending on the insurance company valuation
- If they have made any offers
- Write a letter to your insurance company
Next, you should write a letter to your insurance company informing them that you expect them to pay up to the purchased policy limits amount if they have a chance to offer you a limited liability release or a release. In some cases, you can sue your insurer if they refuse to pay policy limits after the victim’s attorney demand an amount that is over your limits and accuse them
What Do I Need to Consider If A Lawsuit Is Filed Against Me?
If you caused an accident and a lawsuit has been personally filed against you, there are factors that you need to consider to ensure you are on the safe side. Here are some of the factors:
1. Ensure you have a car insurance
Driving around without car insurance is a very risky game because, in case of an accident, the other driver can directly come after you as they are is no insurance to protect you. Therefore, if a lawsuit is filed against you, you should first consider whether you have insurance in order to determine what might happen and prepare for it in time.
2. Determine whether your insurance coverage is enough
If you have insurance, things will be relatively easier for you as the insurance company is likely to protect you. However, you should also determine whether your insurance policy limit is enough to cover all the medical bills and the damages. If it isn’t enough, the other driver will not be able to get full settlement from your insurer alone. This means that the other driver may try to sue you personally in order to get full reimbursement.
3. Find out whether the other driver has insurance.
In some cases, the other driver will still try to push you to compensate them for their injuries directly and the damages, whether they have insurance or not, as long as they know that you are at fault. If you think that the other driver has insurance, you should inform your personal injury lawyer about your situation as soon as possible.
4. Determine whether you were at fault
If you feel that you have been wrongly accused of being responsible for the accident where the other driver sustained injuries, you should prepare enough evidence to support your argument in court. Besides, you should also avoid admitting fault before consulting your lawyer in case you are involved in an accident.
5 Important Things You Need To Know After Hurting Someone in a Car Accident
Personal injury lawyers represent those who have been hurt in an accident and are facing a battle against insurance companies. However, what many people do not understand is that it is not in the interest of anyone to sue any person since court fights can be exhausting.
Here I share 5 important things that you need to know if you have hurt someone in a car accident.
1. The insurance company will provide free defense through a lawyer who has a conflict of interest with you.
Usually, defense attorneys are offered hourly billing opportunities by insurance companies. Some may have cases worth millions in their firms, which means that they might not be devoted to ending the case or settlement as you would wish. On the other hand, these lawyers want to save the insurance company money as their client to ensure that they are happy with their work.
2. The plaintiff cannot file a lawsuit against your insurance company in their injury claims.
Usually, the plaintiff can only file a lawsuit against the individual that caused the car wreck directly in personal injury claims. Most drivers and personal injury attorneys would wish to see this rule changed to allow the plaintiff to sue the insurance company, but these companies like the rules. These rules allow insurance companies to engage us in fights with unlimited resources.
In some places, the jury is even not allowed given a chance to know anything about your insurance company. The insurance company makes the plaintiff’s personal injury claims settlement, so the defendant doesn’t have to worry.
3. The defense may push you to change your story.
In some situations, the insurance lawyer may try to bully you and ask you to change your story. For instance, if you are at fault for rear-ending another car and hurting someone and you decide to tell the traffic officer that you are at fault, the insurance attorney will most likely ask you to deny fault. Well, I know this might sound strange, but remember the insurance defense lawyer is ready to do anything to help the insurance company save money while risking your assets.
4. It is extremely unlikely that you will pay anything from your pocket.
There is very little chance that you will be required to pay an excess verdict unless the insurance company fails to give the plaintiff your full insurance limit benefits. However, even though the chance is very low, there fews few cases where the defendant might be required to pay a judgment after the insurance fails to cover it.
5. The defense and the insurance company will not reveal the amount of coverage.
The insurance lawyer is hired to represent the interests of the company. Therefore, if you hurt someone in an accident, you should consider hiring a non-insurance attorney to represent you and work with an insurance defense lawyer. This will ensure that you have a knowledgeable and experienced person who is truly working to protect your interests.
Unlike the insurance defense lawyer, your personal injury lawyer will not be looking at the case at the angle of trying to save the insurance company money but protecting your assets. I also believe that your lawyer will most likely write a letter to the insurance defense attorney and insurance defense lawyer or contact them and urge them to ensure you are fully released and settle the case.
What Steps Do I Need to Take If A Car Accident Lawsuit Is Filed Against Me?
Like I mentioned above, the plaintiff will never sue your insurance company directly, but they can file a lawsuit against you in case your insurer fails to compensate them for the injuries and damages. So, what steps should you take now that they have filed a car accident lawsuit against you?
- Contact your insurance adjuster immediately and provide them with a copy of the lawsuit. You need to cooperate to ensure things don’t get out of control.
- Find out from your insurance adjuster if they had settled the plaintiff’s claim for the medical bills and lost wages that resulted from the car wreck. If they say that they haven’t and they do not intend to do so or they will do it later, let them know that their policy might be the reason you have been sued. This means that most cases involving car accidents result from insurance policy.
- Usually, the insurance company will not agree to meet the medical bills’ expenses as they are incurred. These bills will go to the collection while the plaintiff has lost wages, making it hard for them to feed their family since your insurance company has not paid any amount for the injury claim.
- Confirm your liability policy limits amount with your insurance adjuster and ask them to be ready to pay the entire amount.
- Then, find out from your adjuster the amount that they have offered to pay as a settlement for the injury claim. Confirm the plaintiff’s lost wages and medical bills total with them, especially if you have Direct or Allstate Insurance. Insurance companies usually try to pay an as little amount as possible for people who get hurt by the insured. Ensure that you stay aware of all what is happening by inquiring all the important details from the insurance adjuster.
- The insurance defense may try to bully you into changing your story, but it’s probably best if you admit that you were at fault if you know that your negligence caused the wreck. You should not let your lawyer blame the person who was injured in an accident if you are not sure they are responsible.
Well, this happens almost all the time as most insurance defense lawyers direct their clients on what they need to say. Blaming the other person for your mistakes makes you look ugly and irresponsible, and it usually catches up with you when the plaintiff hires a good attorney to represent them in their lawsuit.
- Avoid taking the lawsuit personally since your insurance company had the opportunity of settling the case on your behalf, but they choose not to do it. Instead, you should think about the lawsuit from a different perspective. Imagine if someone hurt a person you hold dear in your life, and the at-fault driver and the insurer blames you for the accident; how would that make you feel?.
- Hire a non-insurance personal injury lawyer
Consider hiring an independent defense lawyer, and ask them to protect your interests rather than relying on the insurance company lawyer.
- Find out from the insurance lawyer the amount of business his firm receives from your insurance company. You have a legal right to know that and also find out their hourly billing to the insurance company.
What’s the Difference between a Judgment and a Settlement in Car Accidents?
The main difference between a judgment and settlement is that one happens in the court, and the other takes place outside the court. Usually, settlements are preferred in most car accident cases. To understand why this happens, you need to understand that the decision-making process depends on the case.
If you have been sued in a car accident, you become the defendant in the lawsuit. In this case, the plaintiff’s attorneys will file a claim and will provide your insurer all the available information, including the police records, eyewitness testimony and medical records. The information will serve as evidence that their client suffered an injury and your recklessness and negligence was the cause.
After tabling the evidence, the plaintiff’s attorney and insurance company will begin negotiations to settle the issue. If the insurance company finds the evidence compelling, they will most likely try to settle the case early before it proceeds to trial. Usually, the jury will most probably award a huge verdict to the injured person if your case proceeds to trial.
Remember, in trial the jury decides the amount to be paid and who receives the amount so the case can get sticky for any party. The plaintiff’s attorneys and your insurance company will table their evidence and when the jury decides the case you can’t negotiate it.
According to statistics, about 95% of the car accident lawsuits end up in settlement before they reach the trial. Therefore, if you get sued in a car accident, it is usually better to settle the case outside the court.
Conclusion: Do I Hire a Lawyer When A Car Accident Lawsuit Is Filed Against Me?
When you get sued for a car accident, it is helpful to hire the services of a reliable and experienced personal injury attorney. Remember, each insurance policy is unique, the laws in each state differ and all accidents are different. If you’ve been involved in an accident recently, you may experience some difficulties in trying to seek compensation with your insurer.
But this is normal since the insurance companies do not like to pay settlements for accidents. Therefore, hiring a non-insurance lawyer will help you put pressure on the company and ensure you get the compensation that you deserve.