27 answers

Mom Seeking Advice/info on Car Accident and Being Sued

Hello,
I received a summons in the mail regarding a car accident I had back in February of this year. It turns out that the driver of the other car wants to sue me for life long injuries (medical bills), loss of bodily functions and inability to work.
She stated in the report that she was attempting to make a left hand turn when I ran into the back of her car. It was also stated that her car is valued at $500.00
I did have auto insurance at the time. I can't reach the claim person assigned to may case until tommorrow. In the meantime I'm trying to reach someone who has gone through this experience.
Can this person take everything I own? Will my insurance company pay for this? Should I get a lawyer? (I was told someone from the insurance co. will represent me)
Anyone gone through this?

Thanks

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I had auto insurance at the time of the accident and I currently have auto insurance.
any advise would be appreciated.

Featured Answers

As long as the representative has a license to practice law. I would get a lawyer and have the ins. rep on hand as extra information.

Brenda, feel free to call my dad who is an attorney. He will let you know if you need a lawyer and he will not charge you for this initial phone call. Allen Schwartz ###-###-####. He is out of Farmington Hills. Tell him his daughter J. recommended you call him. Good luck!

More Answers

Brendan- I am an attorney. Most likely your insurance company at the time you had the accident will hire an attorny to defend you. Depending on how much coverage you had they will settle the case or pay any verdict. If the verdict or settlement is over the amount of your insurance coverage you will liable for the remaining amounts.

Generally, b/c MI is no-fault, the injured parties insurance company pays for their medical and wage loss (up to three years). In addition, to be able to sue you, she must have what is commonly refered to as a threshold injury...either death (obviously she is alive) or a very very serious injury. Most of these cases are resolved b/c there is no threshold injury.

At this point, I would wait until you talk to your claims agent. Depending on how you were served- mail or in person-- you have 21-28 days to respond to the complaint.

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi Brenda. I worked for a local insurance company from 2001 to 2006. Please hang on and talk to your claim representative. The insurance company has an entire team of attorneys. Was your claim ever closed? Has the company paid out the maximum for which they are liable? Do you have an umbrella policy? You may not need to hire an attorney. I would ask the claim rep. Believe me. Your insurance company will fight. They don't want to pay out any more than they have to. He or she will tell you if you need your own attorney. I doubt you will. This is why you have insurance. The insurance company should be handling this for you. With Michigan being a no-fault state, this person cannot take everything you own. The other driver's company can sue your company. Good luck!

The other driver is making a "Bodily Injury" claim. It's unfortunate you were served but yes, your insurance company will represent you in this situation - I'm saying this believing you are a Michigan resident involved in a Michigan auto accident. Being served is very frightening and I can understand your concern. Fax or mail your summons (or both) to your claims adjuster who should get it to the correct person/department. Best of luck!

Hi Brenda,
This is why you have insurance. One reason at least. Everything should be handled by the insurance company. It really isn't YOU she is sueing...but your insurance company.

Good luck.

Hi Brenda,
I work at an insurance agency. Did this happen in Michigan? The advice that Pamela S gave you was right on. This should be covered by the bodily injury limit that you carry on your insurance policy. Did the other driver have insurance? It is sounding like she didn't because if she did her insurance company would have to cover her medical bills, it is unlimited for life in the case of an auto accident. I know this is scary but you should be fine. Talk to your insurance agent as soon as possible. They should be able to put you at ease. P.S. It may make you feel better to get an initial consultation with a lawyer... the first time is usually free.

Talk to a lawyer, quick.

Good luck.

S.

Your insurance company will hire a lawyer for you and will pay a settlement or judgement up to the limits of your insurance. In Michigan, there is a mandatory minimum of required insurance of $20,000 per person, and can go up from there.

This can be complicated, but in a nutshell: the injured person's own insurance has to pay for all of their medical bills, 85% of their wage loss for up to 3 years, and some other benefits. You are potentially liable for the pain and suffering of the other person (called "non-economic damages"), and some economic damages (such as wage loss which isn't covered by the other person's own insurance).

In order to recover for non-economic damages, the person has to have something called a "threshold injury". Not every injury qualifies. The judge is supposed to look at a variety of factors (or the jury will look at them if the judge can't decide) to determine if the person's objective injuries have affected their general ability to lead their normal life. Such things include work loss, changes in their lifestyle they have had to make because of their injuries, etc. (Serious permanent disfigurement and death also meet this "threshold injury" standard).

Call your insurance company and cooperate with your lawyer.

Michigan is a no-fault state, she CANNOT come after you personally, her insurance company can sue yours, but she shouldn't be able to come after you, but just in case I would get a lawyer.

Absolutely get a lawyer. If you want to wait until the insurance company can advise, call your local Legal Aid Society. They can at least give you initial counsel. Although expensive, an attorney is worth the cost if you're being threatened with a lawsuit like the one you've described. It's also so reassuring to know someone can fight for you. I once was threatened by a former business partner and my lawyer was able to find loopholes I could never have done myself. I loved my lawyer for what he was able to do! Ask people you know for referrals. Word of mouth is the best advertising. Let me know if you'd like me to refer my attorney.

Good luck!

Sorry to hear about your issue. If you had full coverage (most newer cars require it) then you will be fine. That is why you have insurance. Your insurance company WILL provide you with an attorney (one that represents them) as they want a good lawyer to work for them as they want to pay the LEAST amount possible. Your insurance rates may go up but you will not pay the settlement out of pocket. Remember, the judge may not give the other driver any money-it is hard to say.

Best of luck

11 years ago I was in an auto accident pulling out of where I lived. I was making a left hand turn and it was getting dark out (the street lights were already on). I was hit by a car I did not see due to the fact they did not have their head lights on. My daughter and I were taken to the hospital as was 3 of the occupants of the other car (2 of which rode in the same ambulance as my daughter and I). In my 7 hour wait at the ER my father and I overheard one of the people telling someone on the phone that they had just left the bar. Neither of us recieved a ticket. The driver of the other car (not the owner of the car) was just under the legal limit. The owner of the car tried to sue me. My insurance handled the entire thing. I did have to go in for a deposition and that was it. They did not win because neither of us recieved a ticket so they were 50% liable as well so his friend who was driving (or his insurance co, whichever) would have had to put in 50%. I guess they dropped the suit and my ins never went up and I never heard anything else about it. I hope this helps. Good luck.

As long as the representative has a license to practice law. I would get a lawyer and have the ins. rep on hand as extra information.

Hi B., I know it's scary, hopefully this person is ok. This happened to me, I felt it was an insurance scam, and promptly told my ins. comp. that. I was rear ended, and hit the car in frount of me, more of a bump, no damage to eather car, we exchanged infomation and went about our day. Several mo. later she was filing suit against me. Altho I still felt 1st there was no woman in the car, who claimed injury, second no damage to eather car. The Plaintiff won their case and settled out of court for $5,000.00 the insurance comp. handled everything, I did not even have to go to court, but did do a depisisition, with other party, whom I had never met, because she was not in the car, she also suied the driver of the car she said she was in. It will be a stress for you, but I feel your ins. comp. will handle everything in the end. Hard to believe they deal with people like this everyday. Best of luck to you, and not to worry.

Brenda; I am a 50 yr. old SSAHM. My first job fresh out of high school was filing claims in an insurance office. I have an idea how this works in the state of Michigan. You said that you had insurance at the time. You will need to check your policy to find out what your liability limits are. For instance Bodily Injury and Property damage. Bodily injury is the part that pays if someone is hurt in the accident. The lowest amount in Michigan is 20,000/40,000. What that means is that the insurance company will pay up to 20,000.00 for one person hurt in an accident or 40,000.00 for the whole accident. Property damage covers damage to someone elses property (i.e. mailbox, a utility pole or so on.) That is why I always recommemd higher liability limits to people. We live in a law suit happy world. I never heard of the insurance company providing a lawyer. It's usually a claims adjuster who handles it. My suggestion would be for you to definitely talk to a lawyer. I hope this helped and didn't scare you to death! Pam

When I was in an accident about 3 or 4 yrs ago... it was technically my fault... but I overheard the driver tell the passenger some things that could be misconstrued as "making sure she was in front of me" ... I was warned by my agent that this person was a habitual suer for soft joint damage for the bodily injury 100,000.00. She never did sue me... I kind of did damage control figuring that she was going to. My agent told me that the insurance company will investigate it, they would represent me in court as the suer is actually suing the insurance company for that money...

Certainly talk to your agent when you can get a hold of him. Hopefully it can be handled by them.

First, write down EVERYTHING you remember from the accident. How was she acting right after the accident? Have you had any contact with her since the accident? Was there anyone with you in your car? If so, get statements from them right away. Have them go with you to court if possible. What was the weather like? Did you get a police report? Were there witnesses?

Your insurance company should be able to help. These is why we have insurance.
Good luck!!!

Well in reading it, it almost sounded like my mothers accident last Feb. Someone slid through a stop sign and she t-boned them. The guys in the car that caused the accident were uninjured but my mother had numerous fractured bones. She is also suing them. Her life will never be the same. She is not trying to make big bucks, but will never be able to work again and needs the money to get by. What happens is that she sues the other guys insurance company not the guy himself.

Summons means you are being called to court - likely to speak about what happened in the accident. Doesn't sounds like you were served papers regarding being sued?!?

Brenda, feel free to call my dad who is an attorney. He will let you know if you need a lawyer and he will not charge you for this initial phone call. Allen Schwartz ###-###-####. He is out of Farmington Hills. Tell him his daughter J. recommended you call him. Good luck!

HI Brenda,

I am so sorry about my first response... I was positive you said you didn't have car insurance at the time... My mistake. In MI it's no fault insurance. No they can not take you for everything you have, but I believe they can sue you for bodily injury and loss of work if you where at fault in the accident. But by now I'm sure you've contacted your representative from the insurance company and they are guiding you on what to do next and what they'll be doing for you.

Sorry your having to go through this and sorry about my first response, I totally mis-read.

Good Luck!
J. in Macomb

If you live in MI, your insurance company should handle this. It's not easy, but remember that worrying about it won't make it better, and will often make you feel worse. We usually expect the worst and the worst rarely happens. Relax, there is nothing you can do until you hear from your ins. rep. and remember what you still have....the love of your family!

~L.

Your insurance company can handle most of what is being claimed, but if you can't get ahold of your insurance agent, I would call a lawyer in the area just to get some advice ... it seems like if the accident happened in Feburary and they're just now suing that they may not have been as hurt as they claim they are. I would definetly get ahold of the insurance agent. Good luck.

First off, you HAD insurance. Did you have full coverage? If so, you should be just fine. Your insurance company will handle everything for you. If you only had PLPD, you will need a lawyer. I'm guessing, AND THIS IS ONLY A GUESS, she states that her vehicle is only worth $500? NO ONE has full coverage on a vehicle that is only worth $500, and she probably didn't have health insurance to cover her medical bills either, which is why she is seeking to sue you, or else she is one of those people who will do anything to get money so she can sit at home on her behind and do nothing all day...and YES, there are people out there like that...NOT say that she is, just that this is a GUESS, because I do NOT know what the full situation is without ALL the information. Either way, you HAD insurance at the time of the accident and obviously there was a report taken by a police officer at the time of the accident if you have a claim person with your insurance company, so you should be just fine. Let us know how it goes though. Good luck to you!

Brenda,

I have not been through this but do know that if any of your property, house, bank accounts, etc. are in the name of two people (you and spouse) it cannot be taken by the person suing unless both your names were listed on the registration of the vehicle you were driving. They cannot claim the assets of another person not involved in the accident or not having any ownership of that vehicle. For this very reason my husband and I always list just one name on the registration of our cars and both names on our bank accounts and home. Not sure what your situation is but be in touch with your insurance company AND a lawyer just to cover yourself both ways. Good luck to you.

S.

Just because Michigan is a no-fault state does not mean you cannot be sued. It is meant to REDUCE not eliminate lawsuits. It depends how much coverage you had at the time of the accident. If you only held the state minimums of $20,000 per person-$40,000 per accident (bodily injury)-$10,000 (property damage), you could be in more trouble than if you had, say, 100-300-50. If your insurance doesn't cover the full claim amount, then you could/would be held liable for the remaining amount. When you talk with your insurance company, they should be able to walk you through it and help out. Good luck.

I don't know how she can sue you. Just wait till you can talk to your car insurance. We live in Michigan it is a no fault insurance state. The insurance co. should take care of this.

I don't know the legal details like some of these ladies, but I do know my hubby had a similar issue a few years ago. We received the letter in the mail just like you. I freaked out briefly, but our insurance company took care of everything--the case was settled and we never had to do anything--apparently that's why we pay so much for auto insurance---so, I'm hoping this will all be well for you, too. Hang in there!

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.