How can I avoid being sued personally for an accident?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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How can I avoid being sued personally for an accident?

The police report states that I did not yield at a stop sign, so I was at fault for T-boning another driver. This is not true and the officer that showed up to the scene merely decided it was true with little or no investigation. Now, weeks later, I find out that I am being personally sued for medical bills and auto damage. I never received anything in the mail, I had to find this information myself. What can I do to fight this accusation and not be in debt the rest of my life?

Asked on July 26, 2017 under Accident Law, Colorado


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

There is no way to "avoid" being sued in that if someone believes you were at fault in causing an accident, they have the right to file a lawsuit against you. Of course, to actually win money from you, they would need to prove in court by a "preponderance of the evidence" (more likely than not) that you were in fact at fault. You can fight the accusation, if sued, by attacking their evidence and/or presenting your own evidence (witness testimony, including you own; police reports or testimony; etc.) showing that you were not at fault and/or that the other driver was. However, if the police have concluded that you were at fault, while that is not a binding legal determination, it is strong evidence against you: the police are seen as neutral (no personal stake in the outcome), trained, and professional, and the courts typical give their opinions on fault a great deal of weight. Between that and the fact that car that T-boned another is generally considered to have been at fault (because you hit the other car), it would likely be very difficult to convince a court that you were not at fault.

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 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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