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

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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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


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

Answered 6 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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