Can I be suedby someone claiming severe bodily injuries and disability from a 5 mph accident?

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Can I be suedby someone claiming severe bodily injuries and disability from a 5 mph accident?

Approximately 2 years ago I was stuck in stop and go traffic. I thought that the driver in front of me was moving up because he let up on his break. So I was driving stick shift and let go of the clutch and pressed the gas and it kinda jumped ahead. I hit him. But I couldn’t have been going more than 5 mph; he was maybe 3-4 ft in front me. He got out of the car with no injury or pain. I apologized and he said it was no problem and we exchanged information. Now he’s suing for $100,000 to cover his pain, lacerations, and disability that was caused from me bumping him. Can he actually get away with this? What should I do?

Asked on October 29, 2010 under Accident Law, Illinois

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

This is America.  They can sue.  If they win, well, that is a very different question.  I am assuming that no police report was made.  Did you report the accident to your insurance company at the time of the "loss"?  If not, then you need to do so as quickly as possible.  Send them a copy of the paperwork that you have been served with by certified mail.  Under your insurance policy (which is a contract) you have a right to be defended and indemnified for the accident.  Now, here is where things might get tricky.  Your insurance company might try and say that you did not notify them in a timely fashion under your policy. If they try to hassle you and claim that they are going to disclaim coverage seek legal help asap.  Tell them that you will be bringing a declaratory judgement action against them and seeking legal fees.  Good luck.  


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