Driver still getting sued, even though he wasn't at-fault?

by A

My nephew was stopped at a red-light one evening and was rear-ended by a car, pushing him into the car in front of him and that car into the next car in front. The driver who rear-ended my nephew claimed my nephew cut him off and he tried to swerve to avoid hitting him. That driver's insurance company totaled my nephew's car out, and my nephew was not assigned fault.

My nephew's insurance company received claims for the damage to the vehicle he was pushed into and they are denying it, because fault was not assigned to my nephew, even though he had liability insurance. My nephew was informed he will likely be sued for the damages since his insurance company is refusing it.

Because he was carrying liability insurance and was not deemed at fault, why would he be responsible? How could he be sued? Wouldn't the insurance company for the at-fault driver bear the cost of repairs?

We aren't sure how to proceed at this point. Any information and explanation you can give would be appreciated. Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Driver still getting sued, even though he wasn't at-fault?":

A. (California):

In almost all cases, a driver who strikes another vehicle from the rear will be held responsible for damages and personal injuries sustained by the car and people in the car in front.

While your nephew's negligence appears to be non-existent, you can be sure the driver in front (and his or her insurance company) will assert that if your nephew hadn't been so close, he wouldn't have struck their car.

It may sound a bit ludicrous, especially if the cars were all stopped at a traffic light or other signal, or in heavy bumper-to-bumper traffic, but nonetheless, it's not unusual for this to happen.

At this point, your nephew will have to rely on his insurance company to investigate the claim and determine he was not negligent, and therefore deny the other driver’s claim. As long as the insurance company is convinced that your nephew was not at fault, it is very likely he, and/or the owner of the car (if different), will not be liable or have their insurance premiums raised.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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