What could happen if I had a car accident a 2 years ago and am now being sued?

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What could happen if I had a car accident a 2 years ago and am now being sued?

Basically, I hit someone’s rear bumper. My car was insured but I was not under the insurance policy it’s under my father’s name, and it didn’t cover me so after a year the other person’s insurance company sued me for almost $15,000. However, I am a college student and there is no way I can pay for all that money since I only work one day out of the week.

Asked on September 22, 2015 under Accident Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If you hit them from behind, you were almost certainly at fault--the law presumes the rear driver is at fault, since he/she should have maintained a safe following distance and been able to stop in time. However, even if they can prove your fault and therefore liability obligation to pay, which is likely, they have to prove the damages, or cost of property damage and injuries, and can only recover the actual damages or cost so unless they can prove $15,000 of damages or personal injury e.g. whiplash, they can't get that much from you--they can only get what they can prove.
If don't pay voluntarily e.g. settle, they'll presumably go forward to trial, and you'll likely lose. They will probably get a judgment for whatever amount of money they can prove you cost the other driver in property damage, medical bills, etc., plus, if the other driver was severely hurt, some amount for "pain and suffering"--up to the $15,000 for which they are suing you.
At that point, you may need to consider filing for bankrupty bankruptcy works on judgment debts amounts a court ordered you to pay for accidents like this, as long as you were not DUI at the time and if you have little income or assets, you have little at stake in the bankruptcy. It will hurt your credit for years, but so will having an unpaid judgment against you bankruptcy is something you should consider, since it may be a good option if you can't work out a manageable settlement or payment plan.


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