Visitor Question

Demanding payment for “bodily injuries” that aren’t real?

Submitted By: Hannah (Los Angeles, California)

My boyfriend is a very broke student who has really bad insurance. He was driving through a green light and was hit from the side by another car. There were no witnesses for him or the person who hit him. They destroyed his car and they were not injured.

They didn’t speak English and refused to even engage with him after the crash. They just walked away and waited for their car to be towed. His insurance company was unable to determine fault and since he only has liability insurance they were unable to fix his car.

The driver of the other car left the scene and now two months later my boyfriend has been informed that they are suing him for $17,000 for undisclosed “bodily injuries.” They have a lawyer and since my boyfriend is a broke student with no family support he can not afford to hire a lawyer (or to have better insurance).

When there is no evidence or witnesses, is whoever wins this case solely based on who has better insurance/can afford to hire a lawyer? It doesn’t seem right that these people can destroy someone’s car and then demand they pay  money for injuries that do seem not real. How can he deal with this situation?

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 Hannah,

By failing to exchange information with your boyfriend, the driver of the other car appears to have violated the California Vehicle Code Section 16025, which reads in part:

(a) Every driver involved (in a car) accident must, unless rendered incapable, exchange with any other driver or property owner involved in the accident and present at the scene, all of the following information:

(1) Driver’s name and current residence address, driver’s license number, vehicle identification number, and current residence address of registered owner.

(2) Evidence of financial responsibility (car insurance), as specified in Section 16020. If the financial responsibility of a person is a form of insurance, then that person shall supply the name and address of the insurance company and the number of the insurance policy.

 

Your boyfriend appears to have attempted to comply with Section 16025. As a result, it is arguable he did not violate Section 16025.

Additionally, the other driver appears to have violated Section 21800 of the Vehicle Code. This is based on your boyfriend having entered the intersection while the light was green in his favor. At that time the other driver failed to yield the right of way.

Section 21800 reads in part:

(a) The driver of a vehicle approaching an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle which has entered the intersection from a different highway.

In most cases, attorneys do not accept cases unless there is available insurance, or available assets which can be used to pay compensation to their clients. In this case, it appears your boyfriend has neither insurance nor available assets to seize.

If the attorney for the driver continues to pursue your boyfriend, and your boyfriend does not have legal representation it is likely the attorney will take a judgment against your boyfriend. This is disturbing, as the judgment will hang over his head until paid off, and the amount of the judgment will increase as interest continues to be added.

Learn more here: Preventing Fake Injury Claims

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 with your claim,

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