Getting into a car accident is scary enough as it is. It can be an even scarier situation if you hurt another person in the wreck. If you are reading this, you may have hurt someone or are being sued for a car accident. There are probably a million questions running through your head. Ybarra Maldonado wants to help you answer those questions.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted a study of car accidents in 2018. It showed that in this year alone, there were over 6.7 million car crashes in the United States. Of these, over 1.8 million resulted in injuries only. That means 28 percent of accidents that occurred in 2018 left people injured.
If you get anything from these numbers, it should be that you are not alone. Sometimes mistakes happen. It is impossible to prevent car accidents from occurring and people from getting hurt.
If you’ve been in an accident and hurt someone else, we’ll help you figure out your next steps. Here’s 5 things you should know if you have injured someone and are being sued for a car accident:
1. What Do You Do After Hurting Someone In A Car Wreck?
If you weren’t injured, make sure you move your vehicle if needed. This is only if you are in any danger of oncoming traffic. If not, leave your vehicle as it is.
If you are able to exit your vehicle safely, do so. Then, you’ll want to check on the other vehicle and make sure they’re not in any more immediate danger. If they’re hurt, it is your responsibility to call the police. Let them know there’s been an accident and someone got injured. Give them the most accurate location that you can. Stay near the other person and let them know that help is on the way.
Do not leave the scene until police arrive. Failure to stay at the scene will result in a hit-and-run and charge.
If the other party is not too injured, you can exchange information now. This includes:
- Contact Information
- Phone numbers or addresses.
- Insurance Information
- License plate numbers
- Driver’s license numbers
The other person may be too hurt to provide any information. If this is the case, you can do this later.
While still at the scene, document as much as you can. Even if the accident was your fault, picture evidence can help you later if someone changes the story.
Following the crash, report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible.
2. Can Someone Sue Me For A Car Accident If I Have Insurance?
Even if you have insurance, you can still get sued for a car accident. If the plaintiff wants more money than what your insurance offers as a settlement, they might do this. But the other party can only file a lawsuit against you, not your insurance company.
This doesn’t mean that the money will have to come out of your pocket, though. It means that the jury will not be aware of your insurance provider in court. As far as they know, you are the one the money is coming from.
Almost all the time, your insurance should pay the judgement in full.
3. What Will My Insurance Do If I’m Being Sued For A Car Accident?
If the other individual refused the settlement or your insurance refused to pay their claim, they are likely going to sue. Your insurance company is going to provide you a lawyer. This lawyer’s number one goal is not to make you happy, though. It is to make the insurance company happy. They are going to try to save the company that hired them as much money as they can. Even if it’s at your expense.
Think about it. You are the reason your insurance company might be losing money. Even though you pay them to save you in times like these, they won’t be happy. The lawyer they appointed is going to be loyal to whoever’s giving them the big bucks. As far as your lawyer’s concerned, they’re representing them, not you.
Even if you have already admitted fault, the lawyer might bully you into changing your story. He or she will try to get you to deny fault to save their client money. They are more than willing to risk your assets to save your insurance company’s.
It is important to remember in these cases that YOU are in charge of your case. You have a right to request another defense attorney.
4. What Should I Do If I’m Being Sued For A Car Accident?
Now you know what your insurance is going to do if you’re sued. Here’s what you should do for yourself.
The first thing to do is call your insurance provider. Give them a copy of the lawsuit as soon as you can.
Next, ask your provider if they paid the damages requested by the plaintiff. They might tell you that they have not because their policy is to wait until the end to pay. This is when you tell them that following their policy is likely what brought the lawsuit to begin with.
Your insurance company will try to keep your coverage amount a secret. Don’t let them. Demand they tell you what your policy limits are. Then, remind them of their duty to pay the full amount. You’ve already paid them to do this, after all.
If you were at fault for the accident, admit it. Your insurance lawyer will try to blame the other person if you don’t. This might save them money, but it will make you look (and feel) bad. You wouldn’t want to get blamed if the accident wasn’t your fault.
Finally, we recommend seeking outside counsel. You want a lawyer to look out for you. Not one that only thinks about saving your insurance company money. You’re entitled to appoint your own lawyer. Take advantage of that.
5. What Can They Take If I’m Being Sued For a Car Accident?
Unless the damages exceed your insurance policy limits, you won’t pay for anything out of pocket. If you’re being sued for a car accident, the plaintiff is going to sue to recover damages. These damages refer to any losses that resulted from the accident. Some examples include:
- Vehicle damage
- Financial loss
- Lost wages or earning potential.
- Medical treatment bills
- Prescription medication bills
- Pain and suffering
Again, the only way you will end up paying is if the damages are higher than what your policy allows. Your insurance-provided lawyer isn’t concerned with saving your assets, though. Remember, they only care about the company paying them. This is why getting outside counsel is so important to your case.
Contact Us Today!
If you are being sued for a car accident that left someone injured, you want the best representation. Unfortunately, your insurance company won’t offer that to you. Make sure you are your attorney’s first priority. If you hurt someone in a car wreck in the Phoenix area, let Ybarra Maldonado represent you. We want to help you get the best care possible. Call 602-910-4040 or visit our website today for a free consultation.