What to do if being sued after a car accident with no damage?

My uncle was in a minor at-fault car accident. Now he is being sued for general and special damages of 1 million the insurance deductible, plus bank rates and taxes etc. It is from the plaintiff’s personal lawyer. To explain, my uncle was stopped and waiting at a red light in the left hand turn lane and when the cars to his right going straight started moving the light turned green, he did too, bumping the car in front of him. There was no visible damage on either car. The driver, the husband, called 911 for his wife who was sitting in the passenger side. The police, ambulance and fire truck arrived. The police came over, noticed that there was no damage and said to exchange information before leaving. The fire truck also left. The ambulance would have left too, but the couple insisted to the paramedics to take the wife to the hospital, so they did. My uncle has a good memory. He said the wife walked on her own. Information was exchanged. Everyone had insurance. There is no police report on the accident maybe because it was so minor, nothing happened?. The lawsuit is

100% injuries and pain and suffering, because neither vehicle was damaged at all. All the claims are about negligence, most of which aren’t true for example, phone use – my uncle barely knows how to use the phone, therefore he’d never be on it in the car. It also claims that they were

Asked on December 16, 2018 under Personal Injury, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

Your uncle should report this to his insurance and let them investigate--they will likely resolve this for him. Some general principles:
1) If you uncle hit a car from behind, he was negligent and is at fault--it was his obligation to not drive into the car in front.
2) No matter what the other side wants to sue for, in a lawsuit, they can only get an amount related to the medical costs, lost earning ability, and/or "pain and suffering" for severe long-term life impairment which they can PROVE using medical evidence was caused by the accident. It is almost impossible to believe based on what you write, that they can prove anything like $1mm in damages or injuries or costs, which is why it is likely your insurer will able to settle or resolve this within your uncle's policy limits--the plaintiff (person suing) is aiming high so as to be able to get something. They almost certainly do not believe they will get $1mm.
3) If this does not settle and they sue, again, they can only get an amount they can prove. If, against all expections, they can prove significant injuries, costs, etc. in excess of your uncle's liability insurance policy limit, your uncle may well be able to file bankrupty to reduce substantially what he owes. Obviously, bankruptcy is a drastic resort, not done lightly, but it is an option and does work against claims like this.


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