Getting into a car accident can lead to an entire ordeal of issues, some more serious than others.
Not only can you get severely injured and hurt, but your car can also get wrecked, which then gets your car insurance involved, and there’s the whole figuring out who’s at fault, plus all the stress it causes… And even after all that, as a cherry on top, you could get sued!
No matter how careful of a driver you are, there is always a risk of getting involved in a car accident. This is why it’s so important to be informed about the steps you should take, and the possible outcomes of the event.
Like for example, what happens if someone sues you after the accident? What should you do? Can that always happen? Let’s answer all these questions and more!
Can someone sue you after a car accident?
First of all, let’s clarify the basics. Can someone even sue you after a car accident?
Unfortunately, yes. You can absolutely get sued for a car accident. Of course, whether or not the lawsuit goes through, is another matter entirely, and them suing you doesn’t mean they’ll be in the right and succeed.
Usually, it’s quite rare for someone to sue you for a car accident. If any damage is done to the vehicles, regardless of who is at fault, the matters are handled by the insurance companies and their policies.
If you’re the driver at fault, and you’ve caused damage to someone else, they will be provided with compensation through your insurance company (which will then not be very happy with you, but that is what you pay them for!)
However, if that person wants more compensation, and considers that they have sufficient grounds to sue you, they can go ahead and do as such.
Especially because in most states, people aren’t actually allowed to sue the insurance companies themselves for insufficient compensation, so the only route they can take is suing you as an individual and as the cause for their accident.
How long after a car accident can someone sue you?
Okay, so after you’re involved in a car accident, you’re at risk of the other person deciding to sue you. Does this mean you have to live in fear of this happening at any moment? No. Luckily, there is a time limit for when someone can sue you for a car accident. So after this time frame is done, you can rest easy, as you’re completely safe from it ever happening!
This time frame allows for someone to sue you within the first two years after the car accident. This is because the time limit on a lawsuit for personal injury is 2 years exactly from the date the car accident took place.
However, the later on in time they decide to sue you, the less likely they are to be successful, although there are always exceptions to the average. This is because the insurance companies will have already dealt with the matter, and it will officially be seen as settled.
What happens when someone sues you after a car accident:
Getting sued for a car accident is extremely unlikely, as everyone is legally required to have an insurance company, and therefore insurance companies will technically always be involved with settling the matter after a car accident. Nevertheless, if you’re unlucky enough to get sued after a car accident, then you’ll be facing a personal lawsuit.
This doesn’t automatically mean that you’ll have to pay up and face legal action. The lawsuit has to be taken to court, and must then be deemed successful before you face any consequences. So, first things first, get some legal advice or get yourself a lawyer, and prepare your defense against the lawsuit so that it results in being nothing.
To prepare for the lawsuit, there are a few questions you can ask yourself, that will paint the picture as to what the court will see, and what they will possibly decide:
- Do you have suitable car insurance?
Drivers are required to have suitable car insurance so that they’re protected in the case that they are involved in a car accident. If you don’t have car insurance, then you’re in big trouble. It means that you don’t have insurance to settle the compensation for you, so it all falls back to you. If this is the case, you will likely have to provide compensation for the other driver yourself, and there’s little you can do to fend off the lawsuit.
- How much does your car insurance cover when a car accident takes place?
Different car insurances have different policies, as well as different plans with different types of coverages. Cheaper insurances, for example, will usually provide less coverage in the case of a car accident. If this is the case, then it could be that your insurance alone isn’t enough to compensate the other driver, which is why they will have decided to sue you.
- Were you the driver at fault?
In order for someone's lawsuit against you to be successful after a car accident, they have to prove that you were the person at fault and that you caused the accident, and therefore the damage. If you weren’t the driver at fault, then you have nothing to worry about. However, you should have an official police report to back up the events of the accident, with as much evidence as possible to back up your case and your defense.
After you’re involved in a car accident, despite the car insurance taking care of most of the matters, and typically settling the compensation, you could potentially be at risk of getting sued. If this happens, then you’ll be facing a lawsuit for personal injury, which might, or might not, be successful.
If you weren’t the driver at fault, then you have nothing to worry about. But if you were, then you’ll have to ask yourself about how much coverage your car insurance offered, and whether it was enough. Otherwise, you might have to compensate the other party from your own pocket.