What can be sued for and when regarding an auto accident?

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What can be sued for and when regarding an auto accident?

My father was involved in an auto accident involving a pedestrian. He was driving the vehicle and was at fault. Accordingly, he and was ticketed. The pedestrian was a boy who was not injured as he was barely hit. Although injuries were later claimed. My father’s insurance company investigated and the claims were not paid due to the fact they could not prove the injuries. However, now they are suing my father for emotional stress on behalf of the mom and the boy; this happened 2 1/2 years ago. Are they able to do this?

Asked on February 22, 2011 under Accident Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First, if you father had insurance, the insurance company should pay for his legal defense when sued for the accident. So his insurer should defend and, if necessary, pay on your father's  behalf. If you haven't already, contact the insurer immediately.

Second, while people *can* sue for infliction of emotion distress, this generally requires one of the following:

For negligent (e.g. careless or accidental) emotional distress, there must be some accompanying phsyical injury as well.

To sue for emotional distress when there is no physical injury, the conduct causing the distress must have been outrageous and must also have been "more" than merely negligent or careless--it must have been reckless (extremely negligent) or intentional (or deliberate).


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