Can I be sued after a car accident? In the state of Louisiana, the short answer is: probably.
However, it’s more complicated than that. Anyone can sue anyone for anything, but the question is whether or not another driver can sue you successfully after a car accident.
Generally, any time after you are involved in a car accident litigation may result. Being sued for a car accident is never fun, so it’s important for you to be informed, and to hire experienced personal injury attorneys in case of a lawsuit.
Here is a look at the circumstances surrounding personal injury lawsuits after a car accident from personal injury attorneys Gordon & Gordon.
When Can I Be Sued For A Car Accident?
If you are driving a car and cause an accident, you could potentially be sued by the other driver or their passengers.
Louisiana is what is known as a tort state, meaning the insurance of the at-fault driver is responsible for paying the fees and expenses of the other driver. In the case of a personal injury lawsuit, this could mean the at-fault driver’s insurance could be responsible for:
- Medical bills
- Auto damage
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
Fault is determined in any number of ways: the police have methods of determining fault at the scene, such as tire marks, witness statements, or the location and positioning of the accident. When you are being sued for a car accident, it will be the responsibility of the plaintiff and their legal team to prove you were at fault for the accident.
Louisiana requires that all drivers have auto liability insurance. However, if for any reason you don’t have liability insurance, or if you are driving a car with insurance that you are not named on, you may be personally responsible for paying the fees and expenses of the other driver if they file a personal injury or property damage lawsuit against you.
If you find yourself in this situation and you do not have the financial means to pay out of pocket, the injured party has multiple ways to collect the money. For example, they could garnish your wages.
Gordon & Gordon understand that the time immediately following a car accident is incredibly stressful, especially if you are being sued for a car accident. Having handled many personal injury lawsuits, Gordon & Gordon are dedicated to helping the people of Shreveport-Bossier defend themselves.
Being Sued For A Car Accident: Can I Lose My Home?
A personal injury or property damage lawsuit following a car accident is just like any other lawsuit. You may be found liable for damages to the other party, some of which your insurance may pay.
However, insurance policies have limits: for instance, let’s say your car insurance has a $50,000 bodily injury limit and a $10,000 property damage limit, and while texting and driving you crash into a motorcyclist. The motorcyclist’s medical bills total $60,000, and his $13,000 motorcycle is completely totaled.
That’s $73,000 in damages at the least, and your insurance will only pay $60,000 of it at the most. You will likely be responsible for the other $13,000. Again, if you do not have the financial means to pay this out of pocket, your assets could potentially be in danger, including your home.
Being Sued For A Car Accident: No Play, No Pay
There is another set of circumstances that influences lawsuits following a car accident. Louisiana is somewhat unique in this respect; only 9 other states have this policy. It is referred to as no play, no pay.
In these states, if you do not have insurance and are injured in an accident, you may have limited ability to obtain compensation from the at-fault driver. The point of view in Louisiana and other states that have this law is that if the person in question could not come up with the compensation if they had been at fault, they have no right to claim benefits when the situation is reversed.
Therefore if you are in Louisiana and are being sued for a car accident by someone who does not have any injuries, you probably don’t have much to worry about. However, it is always advisable to ask the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney when you are being sued for a car accident.
Being Sued For A Car Accident: The Importance of Insurance
Though insurance companies are often vilified, they play a large part in personal injury or property damage lawsuits following car accidents.
In Louisiana, it is absolutely essential that you have auto liability insurance, or that you are named on the auto liability insurance for the car that you drive most often. Having auto liability insurance is not just important for when you are at fault for an accident, but due to the No Play, No Pay law in Louisiana, not having insurance can affect you even if you were not at fault for the accident.
This is not to mention all the potential fines the state could levy against you for driving without insurance. They could also potentially suspend your license if you are a repeat offender, or take away your license altogether.
Do I Need A Lawyer If I’m Being Sued For A Car Accident?
If your personal injury lawsuit goes to trial, it is crucial for you to have a thorough and experienced personal injury attorney, because proving fault, or the lack thereof, during a lawsuit following a car accident is a notoriously tricky business.
Any car accident is an extremely fact-centric case. A good personal injury attorney will conduct their own investigation into who is at fault in your car accident and potentially help to negotiate an amount for damages that is reasonable both for you and for the other party.
Call Gordon & Gordon!
Gordon & Gordon have been dedicated to helping the people of North Louisiana for a combined 30 years. If you are being sued for a car accident, call Gordon & Gordon at 318-716-HELP or send us an email here.