If you’re in a car accident, you may be sued, so the other party (or their insurance company) will be compensated for their out-of-pocket costs and injuries. The fact this may happen is a reason to buy auto insurance (other than it’s required by law), and you should purchase as much coverage as you can budget.
It’s the flip side of a personal injury lawsuit, though if you’re a defendant (the party being sued) because of the insurance contract, you have little control over the litigation (though you should be informed of what’s going on). When we file a car accident lawsuit representing the plaintiff (the party filing the case), we usually decide tactically and procedurally what to do. Our client decides the overall goals and what’s an acceptable settlement.
If I’m in an Accident, Should I File a Lawsuit?
If you were involved in an accident and injured, you should consider filing an insurance claim or lawsuit against the other driver. A significant problem may be that your case would be dismissed if you’re more at fault than the other driver.
If I’m Ticketed or Arrested, How Might That Impact a Civil Case?
If you’re at fault, you may have received a ticket or been arrested because of how you drove. If so, contact a criminal defense attorney and decide what to do. The fact you were ticketed or arrested will be a severe obstacle to defending your case. Depending on the evidence, you may want to defend yourself aggressively or agree to a plea bargain where you agree to pay for a minor infraction or plead guilty to a less serious charge.
Should I Report the Crash to My Insurance Company?
Whether or not the police are involved, report the accident to your insurance carrier. They’re responsible for paying damages caused by your mistakes, assuming what you did isn’t excluded from coverage (like intentionally striking the other vehicle) and up to the policy limit.
If you’re sued later, you don’t want them to claim ignorance of the problem. Keep copies of emails or correspondence (especially if they have a claim number) if this becomes an issue later on. Your insurance company should pay valid claims, but you’re responsible for the deductible.
What Will Happen When Both Insurance Companies Get Involved?
The other driver’s auto insurance company may seek compensation from your carrier for what they paid the other driver through subrogation. Usually, the insurance companies work out an agreement as to who will pay for what. You may be called to testify if they can’t resolve it and they sue each other over the costs of the accident.
What Should I Do If the Other Driver Sues Me?
If the other driver sues you directly to compensate them for their damages, make the insurance company aware of this. They should provide a defense, assign you an attorney, and pay a settlement or jury award up to the policy limit. They may pay more, but it’s not something you can count on.
Your insurance company will do its version of what the plaintiff’s doing. They’ll investigate your accident and try to recreate it to determine how each party’s at fault. You’ll need to cooperate with them, including providing information and appearing at a deposition (where parties and witnesses are questioned under oath by both sides’ attorneys).
Many cases will settle before a lawsuit’s filed and nearly all settle before a full trial with a decision by a judge or jury. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to work with your insurance company in defending your case, and you may need to testify.
If I Sue the Other Driver, Can They Sue Me?
Another way you could get sued is that you file a lawsuit as the plaintiff so you can be compensated for injuries because you claim the defendant caused the accident. At some point in the process, they may file counterclaims disputing your allegations, blame you for the crash, and claim you should pay them.
You or your attorney would need to contact your insurance company because you face potential liability if your claims fail and the defendant’s successful. If we represent you in this case, we may work for you and your insurance company, or they may provide an attorney to defend you against the counterclaims, and the two of us would work together.
Hire a Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P. Lawyer and Protect Your Legal Rights
Call Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P if you need a Houston personal injury lawyer if you’re injured in a car accident. We have helped many people like you obtain settlements and judgments for their injuries. Get in touch with our legal team today at (713) 364-0723 to schedule a free consultation. We can discuss what happened, how Texas law may apply, and how we can help.