Visitor Question

Getting sued for a million dollars after a minor car accident?

Submitted By: Grace (Fords, NJ)

In 2014 my daughter was 18 years old and she was in an auto accident. She hit another car’s left side bumper (driver’s side). It was a minor accident. There was a police report which stated there was no injury. Our insurance settled everything and the car got fixed.

Now, in 2016, one month before the claim reaches its 2 year statute of limitations, we received a copy of the plaintiff’s complaint to the city court against my daughter. The driver/plaintiff is asking One Million Dollars for injury and damages!

How can this be? Can we, as parents, be held liable for this? Can we get sued for a million dollars? What can we do to defend against this? Thank you.

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 Grace,

Municipal (city) Courts in New Jersey are courts of limited jurisdiction, having responsibility for the following types of cases:

– Motor vehicle and parking tickets

– Minor criminal-type offenses (for example, simple assault and bad checks)

– Municipal ordinance offenses (such as dog barking or building code violations)

– Fish and game violations

In addition, the City of Fords’ Court has jurisdiction (permission) to hear cases involving matters which occurred ONLY within Fords City, and nowhere else.

From the facts you present it would be impossible for the plaintiff to file a lawsuit against your daughter for one million dollars in City Court, whether Fords City, or any other City Court within the state of New Jersey.

For more information about municipal courts in the State of New Jersey go to:

Municipal Courts of New Jersey

In the event your daughter is actually served with a lawsuit for any amount in a higher court, seek the advice and counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney. Failing to do so could expose your daughter to liability for an amount determined by the court.

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: June 15, 2017

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