Visitor Question

Frivolous Car Accident Lawsuit…

Submitted By: Anonymous (USA)

My Wife was at a gas station on a corner. The light on the corner was red with a couple of cars stopped at the light. She pulled out at about 3-5 mph. In an attempt to pull into the left hand turn lane, she continued out and was struck by a full size van in the left front of her car.

It was what I term a “fender bender” with little damage to her car and little damage to the van. A police report was filed and the other driver was informed that although he struck my Wife, it was technically her fault.

At the time, the other driver stated that he was fine. He later went to the emergency room complaining of pain. He was X-rayed and they were negative.

We have now been sued and the suit claims extreme injury and future pain and suffering. His Wife has also filed suit claiming loss of consortium and affection. They were extremely uncooperative with our Insurance company.

I am afraid the suit will far exceed our coverage of $50,000 and I am furious that a fender bender where my Wife was going less than 5 mph could lead to this.

Our insurance company has appointed a lawyer. Any suggestions about how we can protect ourselves from this ridiculous lawsuit?

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Anonymous,

These types of accidents happen all the time. A mild fender-bender that appears to offer little property damage or personal injury snow-balls into a lawsuit.

Here is what is happening on the insurance end:

Your insurance has appointed an adjuster to handle the claim.

The adjuster has a pre-set amount for which they can settle the claim and if the demand exceeds this amount, it moves on to either another adjuster or defense counsel.

What is nice about insurance policies is that they typically hire very aggressive attorneys who are there to save money for the insurance company. In so doing, they also protect your interests. It is unlikely that a case will settle for more than your policy limits. In fact, if the demand exceeds your limits, it will go to trial.

Most people cannot go to trial without hiring an attorney themselves and most cases (a very high percentage) settle before trial. The adjuster and/or insurance counsel should notify you of key events in the case such as excessive demands, denied claims, etc.

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

Best of luck,

Published: November 4, 2010

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2 thoughts on “Frivolous Car Accident Lawsuit…

  1. My husband was involved in a collision too which didn’t seem to be his fault. The police who also took the report added an untrue notation that he was on the phone and he wasn’t.

    He was charged with being at fault. My husband and another driver had a pleasant exchange, a 65-year-old woman, and refused to be taken to the ER, she said she was perfectly fine.

    2 weeks before the 2-year anniversary of the accident, we received a notice from our insurance that a claim was filed.

    It now turned into a lawsuit with extreme demands including loss of consortium, wages, pain and suffering etc. She claimed $300,000 for medical bills (and she has a pre-existing back injury), but insists the bills are all from the injury caused by the accident.

    Our insurance is also representing us for this case but we’re afraid that they won’t settle within our policy limits.

    File a Homestead Declaration for your home to protect some of your equity if anything worse happens. I hope this helps.

  2. Husband was in stop & go traffic. Low impact put a dimple in her bumper. She hired a lawyer and now…over 2 years later, we’re still waiting for this to be settled. We recently got a letter from our insurance co. stating that her injuries may exceed our policy (also $50,000) and that we should contact our lawyer–this confused my husband, because she appeared totally fine and it was a very pleasant exchange.

    The adjuster said she’s going to send a letter–including the policy limit and a request for all records involved. Still…sick to my stomach, can’t sleep, thinking that we could lose everything. Now, I’m a nurse, and I don’t discount her pain/suffering one bit…but $50,000 worth?

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