What to do if a family member of mine hit a pedestrian a couple of weeks ago?

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What to do if a family member of mine hit a pedestrian a couple of weeks ago?

She was turning left and it was dark. The pedestrian was wearing all black and she didnt see him until the impact. She was going less than 5 mph and was able to swerve and hit the brakes, but he was still hit by the bumper. The paramedics said he was okay and had no broken bones but he went to the hospital to be checked out anyway. She was just advised that he has obtained an attorney. She had a $15,000 policy limit and is newly retired and has no assets and barely makes it by on her retirement money each month. Can you please advise us what he will be able to go after her for and what she has to worry about?

Asked on March 13, 2013 under Personal Injury, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

There is no way to tell what the pedestrian will sue her for--it depends on the extent of his injuries. He can potentially recover any/all of the following: 1) out of pocket (not paid by insurance) medical costs; 2) pain and suffering, if there were any long lasting disability or loss of life function or enjoyment; 3) lost wages or diminution of earning potential, if any. These amounts can vary widely, from a few thousand to several tens of thousands--even well over $100k--depending on the severity of injury.

If she has no assets and only pension or other retirement funds (e.g. social security), she may be effectively judgment proof, however--that is, even if she is sued and loses, most retirement funds cannot be garnished or otherwise touched, so they may not be able to get anything from her.


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