Are you being sued for a car accident? Your car insurance policy should cover whatever amount the other party is seeking. If they sue for more than your policy covers, they can take as much as may be necessary to cover their expenses, including your car, your house, or your income. You may even be forced into bankruptcy.
A Atlanta car accident lawyer can help you fight back against any lawsuits filed against you. If you were injured, they can even pursue a lawsuit against someone else for the compensation you need.
What You Stand to Lose in a Car Accident Lawsuit
Even if you do not have much money, this may not deter the injured party from suing you for a car accident.
Your insurance coverage should cover at least some of what they are seeking. Insurance minimums vary from state to state. For instance, per the Office of Commissioner of Insurance and Fire Safety (OCI), Georgia drivers must carry:
- $25,000 for each person’s medical bills
- $50,000 total for medical bills per accident
- $25,000 total for property damages per accident
When Car Insurance Is Not Enough to Cover Accident Damages
Suppose that the accident victim suffered catastrophic injuries that cost them $50,000 in medical bills. The state’s minimum required policy will only cover up to half of that. Now, the injured party may decide to sue you personally for the remaining $25,000. If you do not have that amount, a judge may order you to:
- Pay restitution out of your own pocket
- Sell valuable property, such as your house or your car, to cover the other party’s losses
- Devote a portion of your weekly salary to paying back the other party
A Car Accident Suit Could Bankrupt You
If you really do not have the money or the resources to cover the other party’s damages, you may have no other recourse but to declare bankruptcy. This could have a devastating and long-term impact on your family’s finances.
While being sued is certainly a frightening experience, do not panic: there are car accident attorneys in your area who can help you take action to protect your rights.
What If Someone Else Took Your Car Before the Accident?
That depends. If you allowed someone to borrow your car, your insurance will probably cover the damage up to your policy limits, and then the driver—not you—would have to cover the rest.
If someone stole the car or was otherwise driving it without permission, your insurer will likely refuse to pay damages, and the liable driver would have to pay everything themselves.
For a free legal consultation, call 404-214-2001
Why Someone Might Sue for a Car Accident
When you get in a car accident that you believe to have been caused by the other driver, you have the right to seek compensation from that driver. This is because:
- The injured party may not be able to afford to cover their losses, such as medical bills and lost wages, without help from the at-fault party’s insurer.
- The injured party may want to make sure the responsible driver is held to account for their actions and does not get away with hurting others.
- The injured party’s lawyer may have already investigated the accident and found evidence that they believe “proves” the other driver’s liability.
Will the Plaintiff Succeed in Their Car Accident Case?
For their case to succeed against you, the other party must prove the following four elements to the satisfaction of either the insurance company or the jury:
- Duty of care, meaning that all drivers are responsible for protecting others through common-sense behavior
- Breach of duty, or the fact that you allegedly failed to take reasonable action while on the road
- Causation, which requires the other party to directly link their injuries with your actions
- Damages, or the fact that the injured party has suffered serious losses and injuries due to your alleged actions
How You Can Take Action Against a Car Accident Suit
It is a good idea to hire a car accident attorney as soon as you find out about the lawsuit. You will want to give your legal representative as much time as possible to:
- Learn about the accident
- Figure out ways to defend yourself against the suit
- Devise a strategy for pursuing the damages you need
Here are a few techniques your law firm might employ to protect your rights:
Invoking the Car Accident Statute of Limitations
According to O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33, you must file your suit within two years of the accident date or else it is not legally valid.
Your attorney can check to see if the plaintiff filed their case on time. If not, they can ask that the suit be dismissed.
Finding Proof of Someone Else’s Negligence
Your car accident lawyer can conduct their own investigation into the accident and demonstrate one or more of the following:
- You did not behave negligently and are therefore not responsible for the crash.
- The injured party’s share of responsibility exceeds the percentage allowed by the state’s contributory negligence laws (e.g., in Georgia, you cannot collect damages if you are more than 49 percent responsible for the accident, per O.C.G.A. § 51-12-33(g).
- A third party contributed significantly to the crash and should therefore pay their fair share of damages to the plaintiff.
Assessing Your Own Car Accident Damages
If it turns out you are eligible to seek damages of your own after the crash, your personal injury attorney can:
- Calculate how much you deserve for losses like medical costs, pain and suffering, reduced income, and property damage
- Identify who should pay these damages
- File your case promptly and fight hard for the money you deserve
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Being Sued for a Car Accident? Let Us Protect You
Just because you are being sued for a car accident does not mean that you are liable or that you deserve to let them take what they can to pay for their losses. At Kaine Law, we want to protect your rights and make sure you are not left holding the bag because of someone else’s negligence.
We can also assist with a car accident claim or a personal injury lawsuit. Call today for a free initial consultation. Our personal injury law firm can explain your legal options.