Can I be sued for an accident that happened 2 years ago and one that caused no damage?

I was involved in a rear-end car accident 2 years ago. I was driving my grandmother’s car and I later found out that her insurance was not active. Now, literally a week before the 2 year mark, we are being sued in civil court. At around the time of the accident, my grandmother had recently been diagnosed with cancer and was going through chemo, so she missed paying the insurance. Now, 2 years later she is on her death bed and I don’t know what to do. Can they sue? There was absolutely no damage to the other vehicle; I have pictures. Can I get a lawyer?

Asked on March 12, 2016 under Accident Law, Arizona

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Sorry to hear about your grandmother.
The auto accident lawsuit is being filed now because the case hasn't settled and the statute of limitations is approaching.  Failure to file the lawsuit prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations would bar the claim.  Your grandmother is liable for the accident because she is the registered owner of the vehicle.  You will also be named as a defendant in the lawsuit since you were the driver.
Although there wasn't any damage to the other vehicle, the occupants are probably claiming personal injury.  If that is the case, liability would include compensation for the medical bills, compensation for pain and suffering (an amount in addition to the medical bills based on the medical report) and compensation for wage loss.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.
If the case results in a judgment against you and your grandmother, filing bankruptcy would be your best option.  Chapter 7 bankruptcy is straight liquidation which will eliminate the debt.
You may have difficulty finding an attorney to defend you in the auto accident case and may want to contact Legal Aid.  
If it becomes necessary to file bankruptcy, you can contact a bankruptcy attorney.


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