Can I be sued if there is no concrete evidence?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can I be sued if there is no concrete evidence?

A few months ago I backed into a motorcycle. The motorcycle was illegally parked in the road, but because my vehicle was in motion, I am at fault. The motorcycle fell over but the owner of the motorcycle picked up the bike without taking pictures before the cops arrived. I had no insurance at the time. The police report states that there was no damage done to either vehicle. I gave a report but the motorcycle owner did not at least it’s not in the report. I received a call three months later from his insurance company wanting 1345 for damages. But there is no proof that the damage done to his motorcycle was from me knocking it down. It could have happened before the accident or after he picked it up while I was phoning the police. I have no receipts either from him fixing the motorcycle so I don’t even know if the damages cost that much. Do I need to pay that amount when there is no evidence?

Asked on February 8, 2017 under Accident Law, Mississippi

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

There is a significant difference between being able to file a lawsuit (to sue someone, that is) and being able to win the case and get a judgment in your favor. The courts do not "prescreen" lawsuits to see if they have evidence to support them. So the insurer could certainly file a lawsuit and force you to respond.
Could they win? It depends on whether they have credible witnesses (e.g. the motorcycle owner; an adjustor; a mechanic) who will believable testify that the damage came from the accident. You, of course, will be able to testify that you did not cause damage, and you could subpoena the officer who took the report to testify, too. So it's not guaranteed they'd win if they sue, but also don't assume that they automatically could not: many cases come down to nothing more than the credibility of the witnesses.
Should you pay? Ask for the invoices and review them--see if the type of damage seems to you like it could have come from your accident. If so, and the cost is at all reasonable, then you should probably pay, or at least make a good faith effort to negotiate some amount you are willing to pay (e.g. $900?) to settle the case. Your fault or liability is a given, since you hit a stationary vehicle: even if it was where it should not have been, it is negligent, or unreasonably careless, to hit a stationary object. So the only issue will be proving the damages. Since it is logical that some damage would be sustained, if they do have any decent witnesses, it's reasonable that they could win if they did sue. That being the case, if it looks like the damage is plausible, better to pay voluntarily then wait until you are sued, have to go to court, then have to pay anyway.


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 AttorneyPages.com 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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption