Being sued following a traffic accident can be as stressful as the incident itself. What happens if someone sues you after a car accident depends on how good is your liability auto insurance coverage. The one thing that can reduce your stress at this point is the existence of a sufficient liability coverage and insurer to lean onto. In most cases, your liability insurer will step in and work on your behalf until the claims are refuted or settled.
If you are insured, you are obliged to let your insurer know of any claims, threat of claims or lawsuits against you as soon as you are aware of them, regardless of your intentions and circumstances. You should relay or pass any communications from the claimants and let your insurer deal with them. Your insurer will give you a claim reference number and details of the adjuster appointed to your case. You can pass this information to claimants and ask them to contact your insurer directly.
The point is that even though you are the one who is blamed and targeted with a lawsuit their real intention is probably to get money from your automobile insurance. In any case, your insurer is on the hook to pay the claims on your behalf. Therefore, it is extremely important that you get your insurer involved from the first contact. Under no circumstances you should discuss fault, accept any liability or try to negotiate with the third parties. All these should be done by your car insurance company since they are the ones who are most likely to end up paying for it.
You would hope and pray that you have sufficient liability vehicle insurance coverage if you were in an unfortunate situation of being sued for a collision that was your fault. Then, your insurer has to step in to defend you against claims and in court if it goes there. Your insurance carrier is obliged to represent your best interests and help protect you from personal liability. They will appoint a loss adjuster and an attorney if necessary to deal with the case.
Standard liability car insurance insures the listed and authorized drivers of the insured automobile against claims arising from vehicle accidents caused by negligence and (in most states) collisions caused by reckless driving up to the policy limits.
The auto accident lawyer appointed by your insurance carrier represents you and therefore, you need to work with them to the best of your ability. They will provide legal representation before and during any trial, should that happen. They will also, pursue all the other avenues, including negotiating a settlement before trial. Policyholders usually have to accept and rely on insurance provided lawyer. They are not given a choice.
Sufficient coverage is the key word here. If the damages and injuries you caused are much higher than your liability limits your insurer usually doesn’t have to respond to such claims since it is over their coverage. They will inform you of the position and you will need to address the situation because you are liable for claims well over your insurance coverage personally. This goes to show the importance of buying adequate liability cover. This usually only happens when the claimant or claimant’s attorney knows that you are rich and can pay much higher settlement. Otherwise, most attorneys keep their claims within the insurance limits.
What Should You Do If You Are Sued But Not Insured?
You will have to respond to any claims against you. So, it is probably best to call claimants or their representatives and let them know that you are not insured. Then, they will probably look into your financial position and decide for themselves. If they have Uninsured Motorist Coverage they will probably pursue their claim with their own insurers utilizing this coverage. Then it is up to the insurance company to pursue you or not. In any case, you will probably have many days of anxious wait and sleepless nights. More than ever, you would wish you had insurance.