How can I tell if someone has already made an insurance claim and is suing me for the same amount?

My boyfriend has wages were just garnished for a car he wrecked in 2004. I believe the girl had already been payed for the car from the insurance company. How can I find out if she was already paid? How can she sue him for something she has already been paid for?

Asked on July 20, 2010 under Insurance Law, Missouri

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

As a general rule, receiving payment from an insurance company does not preclude filing a lawsuit.

In the situation you described, since you said the car was "wrecked", if the car is a total loss, the insurance company may have paid only a small amount.  This small amount would not be adequate to purchase a replacement vehicle.  If the owner of the vehicle still owes a lender on the car loan, the lender would still require payment even though the car was wrecked.  The lender would sue the vehicle's owner if the loan is not re-paid.  To recover the financial loss incurred, the vehicle's owner sues the person who wrecked the car.

As for finding out whether or not there was an insurance payment, in the course of litigation, you could inquire whether or not there was an insurance payment during Discovery.  Methods of discovery during litigation include interrogatories (written questions to be answered under oath), request for production of documents, deposition, etc.  Depositions are expensive.  Try interrogatories and request for production of documents to obtain preliminary information prior to proceeding with a deposition.

If your boyfriend is eligible to file bankruptcy, that would stop the wage garnishment.

 


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