What should I do if I am being sued for a car accident? 50 Answers as of June 11, 2013

I was in a car accident, it was my fault since I lost control of my car. Now the lady whose car I hit wants money can she win? I don't own anything I don't have any savings. I have 4 kids and my wife was let go from her job so right now my family and I live from only my pay check to pay check.

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The Murphy Law Firm
The Murphy Law Firm | Candace M Murphy
If you are being sued for a car accident, the first thing you should do is to report the accident to your insurance company. In reporting the accident, you should also give your insurance company as much information as you can about the lady referenced in your question so that they may possibly conduct their own investigation into the accident. Also, they will give the accident a claim number. When this lady contacts you about anything dealing with this accident, you should give her the phone number and claim number of your insurance company and ask her to contact them directly.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 8/3/2011
The Law Office of Josh Lamborn, P.C.
The Law Office of Josh Lamborn, P.C. | Josh Lamborn
Your insurance is contractually responsible for representing you on this claim and for indemnifying you up to your policy limit should you be found responsible. You should contact the adjuster from your company and find out what they are doing to represent you. If you do not have insurance then the person who was injured would have to sue you to get a judgment against you and they attempt to execute the judgment by garnishing your wages or tax returns. It is unlikely they would do so, but possible. More realistically, the injured party probably has insurance and would pursue an uninsured motorist claim against their own company.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 8/2/2011
The Lucky Law Firm, PLC
The Lucky Law Firm, PLC | Robert Morrison Lucky
First thing you should do is contact your automobile liability insurance carrier and discuss the case with them. They will provide an attorney to defend you in any legal action. It is their obligation to represent your best interests and to help protect you from any personal liability. Of course, this answer presumes that you maintained the mandatory liability limits. If you did not, then she can definitely bring suit against you to hold you liable for her damages. If you are unable to pay, then there are several options that she has to attempt to get the money that she was awarded.
Answer Applies to: Louisiana
Replied: 8/2/2011
Law Offices of Earl K. Straight
Law Offices of Earl K. Straight | Earl K. Straight
If you had auto insurance at the time, you need to let them handle it for you. Otherwise, you can either defend yourself or hire an attorney. Either way, you can choose to settle with her or not. If not, the worst thing that happens is she files a lawsuit. If she does, and yes she can win since the accident was your fault, you need to show up in court and make her prove her damages. The worst thing you can do is ignore her suit, thus allowing her to take a default judgment against you for basically any amount she wants, since you did not contest any of her claims. Your ability or lack of ability to pay a judgment will not be a factor in her suit, but it will come into play if and when she attempts to collect money from you after she obtains a judgment.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 8/1/2011
Law Offices of Tom Patton
Law Offices of Tom Patton | Thomas C. Patton
If you have insurance, just call them and let them know you have been sued. If you don't have insurance, just call the attorney who represents the plaintiff, and let them know that you were uninsured. The attorney will probably then look to his or her client's uninsured motorist coverage, and probably leave you alone.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 8/1/2011
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm | Thomas Bulman
    That is what car insurance is for. If you were driving without insurance, shame on you. Now you have to defend yourself in court. Eventually, you can file bankruptcy to escape payment of the judgment for damages.
    Answer Applies to: Montana
    Replied: 8/1/2011
    Law Offices of Steven R. Kuhn & Associates
    Law Offices of Steven R. Kuhn & Associates | Steven R. Kuhn
    Your financial condition has no effect on fault for the accident. If you had car insurance at the time of the accident, turn this over to them. If not, since you have no assets, you may want to talk with a bankruptcy attorney. You may also want to talk with an experienced personal injury attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/1/2011
    Coulter's Law
    Coulter's Law | Coulter K. Richardson
    Call your insurance company. Legal representation is part of your car insurance
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/1/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    You should give a copy of the papers that were served on you to your broker or insurance company right away. Your insurer will provide you with a defense.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/1/2011
    Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A.
    Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A. | Christopher J. Roberts
    Sorry to hear about your situation. If you have insurance, you should contact your insurance company immediately and make sure they are aware of the claim. They should hire you a lawyer to defend you, and pay any judgment up to the amount of your insurance limits. If you don't have insurance and you get sued, you want to make sure you answer the Complaint within the time given so you are not defaulted. Hire a lawyer if at all possible to help make sure you can at least keep the amount she can recover to a minimum. In a worst case scenario, you could file bankruptcy if she recovers a judgment against you and you have no way to pay it. A bankruptcy lawyer may be willing to help you. Most offer a free consultation, and they could give you specific advice about the financial implications of an adverse judgment.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 2/20/2012
    Potter Law Offices
    Potter Law Offices | Cal J. Potter, III, Esq.
    If you have insurance turn the claim over to your insurance company.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 7/31/2011
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator | Bernard Huff
    Contact and Consult with a defendant's personal injury attorney from your local bar association.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 7/31/2011
    A. Daniel Woska & Associates, P.C.
    A. Daniel Woska & Associates, P.C. | Dan Woska
    Under the laws of the State of Oklahoma you must carry automobile insurance in order to get or keep a driver's license to drive a car. The insurance is required at least in part, to insure that financially strapped people provide some coverage for others in the event of a car wreck. If you were driving a car which has been in a wreck where someone was hurt, you have admitted the accident was your fault and your question is can the other driver sue you, the answer is yes. If you have no insurance and no assets the attorney for the other driver will press recovery as far as possible including garnishing your wages. "Direct threats require decisive action."
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 7/31/2011
    Law Office of Ronald Arthur Lowry
    Law Office of Ronald Arthur Lowry | Ronald Arthur Lowry
    Turn the matter over to your automobile liability insurance carrier and let the people who do that sort of thing professionally handle it for you at no charge to you. That is why you paid the insurance premiums.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/31/2011
    Holzer Edwards
    Holzer Edwards | Kurt Holzer
    If you had insurance call your insurance company. If you did not have insurance, then you need to hire an attorney to deal with the case. If you cannot afford an attorney then you might well lose the case and have a judgment entered against you. You will need to consider whether filing for bankruptcy is an option for you
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 7/30/2011
    Allen Murphy Law
    Allen Murphy Law | W. Riley Allen
    Do you have liability insurance? Yes, she could win. Whether she could collect is another issue entirely. Her lawyer should do an assets check to determine you don't have assets to collect. Riley
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/30/2011
    Cary J. Wintroub & Associates
    Cary J. Wintroub & Associates | Sheldon J. Aberman
    If you are being sued for a car accident, you should provide the lawsuit to your auto insurance carrier who will appoint attorneys to appear in the case on your behalf, defend you and indemnify you to up to the limits of your auto insurance policy. The woman who is suing you can win if she proves that you were negligent, that she sustained damages and that those damages were proximately caused by your negligence. In the event that you have enough coverage to cover her proven damages, you should have nothing to worry about.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    E. Ray Critchett, LLC
    E. Ray Critchett, LLC | Ray Critchett
    Generally, if a person is at-fault for a collision and had insurance at the time of the collision, the person can submit the claim to their insurance carrier to defend them. This will help avoid a judgment against you, avoid attorney fees and possibly avoid judgment against you. If you did not have insurance, you may need to hire your own attorney to avoid a default judgment. You may contact our office to schedule an appointment if you have further questions or if you need assistance with this issue.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 11/6/2012
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
    You may be able to cooperate with the victim. If they have uninsured coverage, they can still recover from their own policy, and you may be able to help. Otherwise work something else out with them to help them as much as you can. Stay well.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 4/26/2011
    William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law
    William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law | William C. Gosnell
    File bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: Tennessee
    Replied: 6/11/2013
    Law Office of Curry & Westgate
    Law Office of Curry & Westgate | Patrick Curry
    If you have auto insurance, turn the claim in to the insurance company, if not file bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/26/2011
    Patrick M Lamar Attorney
    Patrick M Lamar Attorney | Patrick M Lamar
    This should be turned over to your automobile insurance company. They will provide you a lawyer at no charge.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 4/26/2011
    Wilson & Hajek, LLC
    Wilson & Hajek, LLC | Eddie W. Wilson
    If you have car insurance the company will furnish you a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 4/26/2011
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    I assume you have insurance. This is a matter the insurance co will deal with. Report any claims to them and don't worry about it. that is what you have insurance for.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 4/26/2011
    The Law Offices of Benjamin C. Tiller, Esq.
    The Law Offices of Benjamin C. Tiller, Esq. | Benjamin Tiller
    The big question is "do you have insurance?" If you do, then you need to make a claim, because this is exactly why you have it! If you don't, whether someone will sue you usually depends on whether they will be able to recover money from you. It sounds to me that you don't have much by way of assets. However, if you own your home, you need to make sure you have done everything necessary in your state to protect your homestead. In Montana, that means filing a homestead exemption with the county clerk and recorder.
    Answer Applies to: Montana
    Replied: 4/26/2011
    David F. Stoddard
    David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
    You will be liable for any damages that were caused in the accident if it was your fault. However, she will have to prove her damages. She can't recover money unless there was property damage, or she was hurt.

    If you have auto insurance, it will hire an attorney to defend the case, and pay the damages up to the policy limits. If you don't , she might get a judgment against you, but if you own nothing, there is no way for her to collect.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 4/24/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    your insurance company will handle the claim for you and if there is none or not enough insurance coverage she should have a claim against the uninsured/underinsured motorist provisions of her own insurance.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 4/24/2011
    The Law Office of Eric R. Chandler, P.C., L.L.O.
    The Law Office of Eric R. Chandler, P.C., L.L.O. | Eric R. Chandler
    Contact your insurance company ASAP.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 4/24/2011
    Kirshner & Groff
    Kirshner & Groff | Richard M. Kirshner
    If you had car insurance at the time of the accident contact your insurance company. If not she can get a judgement against you but if you have nothing there is nothing for her to collect. She may be able to get your license suspended if she gets a judgement.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 4/24/2011
    Garruto & Calabria, LLC
    Garruto & Calabria, LLC | Andrew F. Garruto
    I am licensed only in New Jersey, and am unfamiliar with the laws of all other jurisdictions. Assuming that the accident occurred in New Jersey, you simply contact the car insurance company that insured you at the time of the accident, and let them know that you have been sued. (Your insurance contract most likely obligated you to contact them once the incident occurred). They will ask you to forward the documents to them, so that they can create a file, hire an attorney to defend you, and file an Answer to the Complaint that was filed against you.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 4/24/2011
    Allegretti & Associates
    Allegretti & Associates | James L. Allegretti
    If you had insurance at the time of the accident give the complaint to them. Be sure that you notify them of any communication you receive from the other party. If you had no insurance, she will probably be able to get a judgment against you. That till cause your license to be suspended until you clear the judgment. You may have to talk to an experienced bankruptcy attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 4/24/2011
    Fox Law Firm LLC
    Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
    Contact your insurance agent. If you were at fault and you had insurance they will go after your insurance first not you personally.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 4/25/2011
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
    You should immediately report the matter to your insurance company and let them take care of the claim against you. That's why the state requires you to have insurance coverage of at least $25,000. I trust you have such insurance. If not, then speak to an attorney right away to see what can be done for you. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 4/25/2011
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson | Michael E. Hendrickson
    Yes, this lady could win her case and obtain a judgment against you for her damages from the accident which could be enforced through the garnishment of your wages and/or seizure of your bank account(s).
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 4/24/2011
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo | Mark Leonardo
    I can only presume by your question that you do not have auto insurance. If you did, they would take care of everything. If not, the other driver can use their uninsured motorist coverage to pay for their car damage and injuries. But in that event, her insurance company will usually engage in subrogation, which is when they come after you for what ever monies they expend to resolve the claim for their insured. The lawyers that handle subrogation claims will usually negotiate with you. You can try to explain your circumstances and they may or may not be understanding. Sometimes they will let you make a payment plan for whatever amount you agree to settle upon. If the amount was large, you could file bankruptcy to discharge the debt and your other debts as well. But you would need to speak with a bankruptcy attorney to fully understand all of your options. Keep in mind that the lawyers that handle subrogation claims know they cannot get blood out of a stone. I have helped several clients in your position negotiate a reasonable settlement that the client was able to live with. The other problem you may have is the state may suspend your license for having an accident while not carrying insurance.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/25/2011
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
    Just turn it over to your car insurance company and then don't worry about it.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 4/24/2011
    Law Offices of Timothy G. Kearney, LLC
    Law Offices of Timothy G. Kearney, LLC | Timothy G. Kearney
    This is a difficult question to answer without additional facts, the most important of which is - Do you have insurance in place? If you do you should report the claim to your carrier immediately. If you do not I would recommend you consult with an attorney who can sort through the facts and provide you with some possible options/outcomes. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 4/24/2011
    Ron Graham Attorney at Law
    Ron Graham Attorney at Law | Ron Graham
    Contact your insurance carrier.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 4/24/2011
    Lyle B. Masnikoff and Associates
    Lyle B. Masnikoff and Associates | Lyle B. Masnikoff
    Contact your insurance agent and the insurance company will defend the case for you.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 4/24/2011
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    Contact your insurance company as they will defend you.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 4/24/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    You will turn it over to your insurance company who will defend you and cover your losses up to the policy limits. If you have no insurance, you will need a private attorney to defend you. Tim Klisz
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/24/2011
    Law Office of Russell D. Gray, PC
    Law Office of Russell D. Gray, PC | Russell D. Gray
    You should refer this case to your insurance company as soon as possible. If you've been served, you have 20 days to respond. Give the summons and complaint to your insurance company and (if you have insurance) that should take care of it.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 4/24/2011
    Law Office of William R. Falcone, Esq.
    Law Office of William R. Falcone, Esq. | William R. Falcone
    Submit the claim to your insurance company. They will defend and pay the claim up to the amount if your policy's liability limits.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 4/24/2011
    Ferguson & Ferguson
    Ferguson & Ferguson | Randy W. Ferguson
    Of course she can win. The real issue is if it is going to make any difference if she wins. You can't get money you don't have. If she wins, you can bankrupt it if necessary. If a small amount, you might be able to make small payments. The last option should be bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 4/24/2011
    Rothstein Law PLLC
    Rothstein Law PLLC | Eric Rothstein
    Give the papers to your insurance company asap.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 4/24/2011
    LT Pepper Law
    LT Pepper Law | Luke T. Pepper
    If you have insurance, your insurance company will most likely cover any damages. It will depend on the extent your coverage and the extent of injured person's condition.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 4/24/2011
    Magnuson Lowell P.S.
    Magnuson Lowell P.S. | Richard S. Lowell
    If you have auto insurance, you should immediately call your insurance company and report the accident to them. They will take care of everything.

    If you don't have auto insurance, she can certainly sue you for money; but more likely, she'll go after her own insurance company (under her Uninsured Motorist coverage). That doesn't necessarily get you off the hook, though; because her insurance company can then seek money from you. If you can establish that you are judgment proof, they might leave you alone.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 4/24/2011
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