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Help! I'm being sued for a car accident. What do i do?
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Help! I'm being sued for a car accident. What do i do?

I was involved in a fender bender 3 years ago. It was probably my fault, but no one was injured. My car needed a lot of work, but their SUV might have just sustained a scratch. I just got the summons that all 3 people in the other car are suing me for bodily and emotional injury 3 years later. What do I do (besides contacting my insurance company)?! This is a fraudulent claim. Can they take what little savings I've worked on over the years for a down payment for my first home? Will they win? It's 3 people's word against just mine.







traderb550
Get a high powered attorney and you will win the case!


bundysmom
You don't have a choice BUT TO contact your insurance company...that's what they are for, that's what your policy is for, that's what you pay your premium for. If it proceeds to court they will hire attorneys to defend the case, however, they may be able to stop the case from going to court altogether and just settle on the steps of the court house--happens everyday.

As for the claim being fraudulent, can YOU prove it? The burden of proof is very high.


blb
Contact your insurance company immediately and bring them a copy of the summons. My guess is the statute of limitations in your state is 3 years and that is why you are being sued now. It has nothing to do with these people "just now showing injuries", they may have been injured at the time of the accident and were waiting to see how bad their injuries were.

Turn it over to your insurance company and they will handle it for you.


Lindsay F
Rating
In a lawsuit like this they MUST sue ALL parties involved. Most likely they are just trying to get some money out of your insurance company, but they have to include YOU in the list just because you were involved. Your insurance company should definately be notified, but I would not worry about them actually trying to go after you personally. After all, this is why we have auto insurance. Good luck!


ca_surveyor
Rating
Well, you already know the first step. Contact your insurance company. Hopefully you reported the accident to them three years ago. If you didn't you may have relieved them of their obligation.

If you are covered for the accident, then they will step in and defend you. They will also provide an attorney if you need to go to court, but you need to confirm this with them up front since you have been sued and there is timeline within which you must respond or a default judgement will be entered (you will lose). If they do, you need to find out from the attorney who he represents - you or the insurance company and decide if that is acceptable.

If the insurance company is not covering you then you likely need a lawyer. The public defenders office does not handle private/civil matters so that is not an option. Legal aid may help if you have no or few assets (and that does not sound like the case), so you may be pretty well scr*wed and have to hire one.

You did not say if they are suing you in small claims court of if this is a full blown civil suit. If it is small claims you can not bring a lawyer and must defend yourself.

As far as the damage and injuries: Just because they waited years to pursue the matter does not necessarily mean the claim is invalid. Most states have legal limits for filing a lawsuit (in Ca. it is Two years) - my guess is that deadline has finally approached and they have finally elected to sue. The time line does not make it any less of a lawsuit.

You need to approach it with more of an open mind when you go in to defend yourself. If you feel it is fraud, you need to be able to provide some kind of proof to that effect. Without a doubt, if they are suing for injuries they are going to have some medical bills and a doctors statement. You need to be prepared to address those with more then your 'belief'. ESPECIALLY since you say it was likely your fault.

Again, assuming that this is a full blown suit......Meantime, do not contact the people suing you. AFTER you contact the insurance company and learn what their actions will be you can contact the other parties attorney, however that is likely to be non-productive. Let the pro's handle this.

As far as your savings goes, it may be to late - especially if the summons contained a court order which prohibitied distribution of your assets. But if not, perhaps you can shelter your money somehow. The REALLY bad news is that if they win they can obtain a judgement order and garnish between 25 and 50% of your net wages until the judgement is paid off (plus interest at about 7% last time I looked) !

Keep in mind that if you lose the court can summon you and, under penalty of purjury question you about your employment and assets and their locations, so unless you are willing to lie under oath, sheltering it must consider this fact.

.

good luck to you.... sounds like you may need it.


mom of 2
So everybody at the same time just so happened to start feeling that pain in their neck after 3 years.....Sounds a bit like delayed reaction to me. They are idiots and I hope and pray they are laughed at in court and made to pay all court costs, even your attorney fees. That is only fare. Call an attorney that will give a free consultation. They can tell you what you need to know and put your mind at ease, I hope.


hobo
I would get a lawyer - if you can't afford one talk to the court & get a public defender - I don't see how these idiots can prove this after 3 years


dodge man
Rating
you need to contact your insurance company,and have them help you with it,they are supposed to help take care of these things,i think they waited to late to sue yo over this,the judge will ask them why they waited so long to do this also,good luck,i hope this help,s.


Confused
Your insurance company might represent you in the case. They are really defending themselves but hey, your best interest is their best interest, too.

If this is a frivolous lawsuit, they might be held accountable for your legal fees.

3 v 1 doesn't matter since they were all in the same car and are all suing you. If it was your word against 3 bystanders then I would worry, but this is really you v. them.

Even if you should lose, if it was a minor accident your insurance should cover the settlement.


WhatAmI?
Rating
GET AS LAWYER! CONTACT YOUR INSURANCE PROVIDER!

Your county bar association can refer you to an attorney who specializes in such cases. Insurance fraud is rampant, and I am sure the attorney can help sort things out.

Three years later? That is a red flag. The other party is counting on fuzzy reccolections on your part.

But here is a question for YOU! Was a accident report taken by a police officer? The police report can help you.


Lace
Rating
Get a lawyer and he will try and work this out for you. Alot of people TRY to get money through insurance companies after an accident which is "fraud" but they still try. It sounds like this is what they are trying to do. And to sue you after 3 years? There is something wrong there. I think there is a certain "time frame" in which they can take action and 3 years seems a bit much. They could just be trying to put a scare in to you hoping you will give them a settlement out of court. Get a lawyer and let him take care of this. Good Luck


MamaBean
I agree, it does sound like a fraudulent claim, given the amount of time that has passed. I suggest you hire an attorney right away.


tomhale138
you have to have your insurance company deal with it. If they wont, you probably dont have much to worry about since they probably dont have much of case that much time passed. Get another copy of the accident report and see what they claimed then. counter sue them for harassment.







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