Can the pedestrian I hit in an accident sue me if I don’t have the money?

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Can the pedestrian I hit in an accident sue me if I don’t have the money?

I was recently in a car accident where I hit a pedestrian. It looked as if he stumbled into my lane. I saw him and his girl standing on the side of the road prior to the accident. there was no time for me to hit the brake or to pull into the other lane. He is now trying to sue me. I am not financially stable I have a low paying job. I was told from one of the officers that he was under the influence on heroin. This may have been why he stumbled into my lane. The pedestrian walked into his house after the accident, he kept saying he had to get into his home, his girl helped himup and took him inside. I than left straight to the police station. I did call 911 at the scene as well. I don’t make a lot of money, about $550 a week. And from what I was told he was going for more than $25,000, which is what my car insurance offers.

Asked on March 18, 2016 under Personal Injury, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

1) The fact that you don't have money affects his ability to collect from you, but does not affect his legal right to sue. Anyone who believes they were injured due to another person's negligence or carelessness (e.g. careless driving) can sue.
2) To win, he will have to prove that you drove carelessly and also that he did not cause the accident or his injuries through his own carelessness. He can use witness testimony (including his own), police reports, etc., and you can offer your own contrary evidence and testimony.
3) If he does sue you and win, he can get an award for an amount of compensation related to his own medical costs, lost wages, and injuries caused by your accident. He can't get any amount he wants--he needs to be able to prove, such as through bills, invoices, medical testimony and reports, etc., the extent of his injuries and losses.
4) If he does win and gets more than your insurance pays, he can look to get the balance from you. He can potentially garnish your wages; also a judgment lasts for many years, so if you later have more money or a larger income, he can try to collect from you in the future.


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