If sued by a claimant, can they take my mother-in-law’s home?

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If sued by a claimant, can they take my mother-in-law’s home?

My mother-in-law has auto insurance coverage of $5,000 for a medical claim and $15,000 per person for bodily injury claim. She hit a pedestrian with her car. The pedestrian walked away and refused medical attention. If the pedestrian decides to sue, can my mother-in law loose her home?

Asked on June 23, 2009 under Accident Law, California

Answers:

M.S., Member, Connecticut Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Although I do not practice in the State of California, the general rule is that an individual's personal assets may be subject to a civil lawsuit if the person's insurance policy does not cover an award of damages.  What this means, in a practical sense, is that if the plaintiff were to recover in excess of $15,000.00, he/she could probably attach your mother's home in an attempt to recover the sum awarded in excess of the $15,000.00.  Although I think this may be unlikely, based upon the facts that you provided, given the fact that the potential plaintiff walked away and refused medical attention, I still think that your mother should consult with and/or retain a civil attorney in the interest of protecting her rights and assets.


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