What will happen to my auto insurance rates if I'm sued?

by Rosan

My friend used my vehicle and was the victim of a hit and run. He was rear-ended by a driver with no insurance, who took off after the accident. My insurance covered the cost of repairs to the vehicle and my friend's medical expenses.

Now I have reason to believe my friend is possibly looking into suing my insurance company. He has asked for a copy of my insurance declaration pages and hired a lawyer. What will happen to my rates and my insurance if he does this? Should I be alarmed? Is there anything I can do to stop this? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "What will happen to my auto insurance rates if I'm sued?":

Rosan (Pennsylvania):

You do not have to be concerned about your friend suing you or your insurance company. Pennsylvania is a "no fault" insurance state. As such, negligence in car accidents is normally irrelevant. While your friend can certainly file an injury claim against your insurance company, he can not file a lawsuit against them unless his injuries are very serious.

At most, your friend may be entitled to have his medical and/or chiropractic bills paid, his out-of-pocket expenses reimbursed, and receive compensation for his lost wages. In no fault states, there is no compensation for pain and suffering, also referred to as emotional distress or mental anguish.

Whether your rates will go up is hard to determine. If you, or others who have been injured in previous car accidents have filed claims against your no fault insurance then it is likely your rates may rise.

At this point you can try to dissuade your friend from filing a claim. You are not under any legal obligation to give your friend a copy of your insurance policy, or a copy of the declaration page. That information is private and unless you choose to cooperate, your friend will have to find that information out for himself.

If your friend hires a lawyer and files a lawsuit. Your insurance company will defend the case up to the limits of your insurance policy. If he is in fact seriously injured and sues you for an amount greater than your policy limits, you may need to retain an attorney to defend your personal assets.

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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