What happens if you are ar fault for an accident and don’t have enough coverage?

UPDATED: Apr 7, 2013

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What happens if you are ar fault for an accident and don’t have enough coverage?

When driving home in the right line couldn’t stop when a car crossed all tree lines to get into a parking lot. I hit the car in front of me, then he hit the car in front, and again to another car. So far 4 cars have been involved, with no visual damage, but the driver in the first one was taken to ER because of neck pain. Nobody saw the tag of the crossing car. I have only PIP insurance and already received a letter of information that my PIP does not cover the damage I caused. I am 56, renting a room, don’t have savings and my salary is $12 per hour. What is my perspective? What is most likely to happened in court and how I have to deal with it?

Asked on April 7, 2013 under Accident Law, Florida


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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

There may be other personal injury claims from the other drivers in addition to the one taken to the emergency room because sometimes the injury does not manifest itself immediately after the accident.

Without adequate coverage, you could be sued for negligence for having caused the accident.  The lawsuit won't be filed for quite sometime (several months or possibly more than a year) until medical treatment is completed and the total medical bills are known.  You would be liable for the medical bills, pain and suffering, which is an amount in addition to the medical bills based on the nature and extent of the injury as documented in the medical reports, and also wage loss.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.  The amount of compensation for pain and suffering depends on the extent of the injury and whether there are residual problems after completing medical treatment.

Until you are served with the summons and complaint (the complaint is the lawsuit), you don't need to do anything.  At that time, you will need to file an answer to the complaint.  The litigation may last several months or longer before there is a judgment against you.  When there is a judgment against you, it would be advisable to file bankruptcy.  You may be eligible to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy which is straight liquidation and will eliminate the debt.  Until there is a judgment against you, it would be premature to file bankruptcy because you would not know the amount of the judgment.

Don't worry about it because it may be a year before you are served with a lawsuit and it may take another year beyond that to litigate the case before there is a final judgment against you.  When there is a final judgment, file bankruptcy.


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.

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