What will happen if I was involved in an accident while exiting a gas station and hit an oncoming vehicle and now the other driver has hired an attorney?

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What will happen if I was involved in an accident while exiting a gas station and hit an oncoming vehicle and now the other driver has hired an attorney?

At the time of the accident no one appeared to be injured. However, 3 months later, the other party is still claiming injuries and hired an attorney to represent them. What is the typical procedure in such a case? What are the implications of such action to me legally, financially and in terms of my current and future insurance policy, etc?

Asked on December 14, 2014 under Personal Injury, Utah

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If they demand payment from you, you can elect to pay, refuse to pay, or try to settle (work out an amount that you both are comfortable with). If you can't work out a mutually agreeable settlement or refuse to pay, the other driver can file a lawsuit against you for any costs, injuries, damages, etc. he claims to have suffered. You will have to defend against the lawsuit or else lose by default (like forfeiting a ball game). To win money from you, he will have to prove in court by a preponderance of the evidence (that it is more likel than not) that you were at fault in causing the accident (only an at fault driver has to pay) and the extent of his losses. You can defend by trying to show with your own evidence or testimony that you were not at fault, or that he was at fault, or that his injuries or costs are not as severe as he claims.

If he wins--convinces the court that you were at fault--he will get a judgment against you for whatever amount he convinced the court of. If you do not pay, he can take collections efforts against you (such as garnishing your wages, levying on your bank account, executing on personal property, and/or putting a lien on real estate). Having an unpaid judgment against you will damage your credit.

If you have insurance, your insurer should defend you and pay any judgment against you, at least up to the policy limits (an insurer is only responsible up to the policy limits). You should notify your insurer of any claims as soon as they are made. Most likely, after having a claim against you, your insurance cost will go up in the future.


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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