Visitor Question

Not even in the accident, how can passengers in other car sue me?

Submitted By: Anonymous (Baltimore, Maryland)

My adult child was traveling straight, and someone else made a left turn in front of them. The other driver has no insurance. At first he claimed it was his fault, now he is blaming my adult child. Two of his passengers are suing ME!

Child’s name and Dad’s name is on the title. Child is on our insurance because husband was a cosigner. The car was recently paid off but we didn’t have husband’s name taken off title yet.

Why are they suing me? Because my name is listed first on our car insurance? I don’t understand how anyone can sue anybody like this. I also thought that having car insurance protected people from this. What can I expect? I’m terrified. Thank you so much.

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,

The first issue is of nomenclature. Often non-lawyers believe they are being “sued” when they actually are not. Receiving a letter from an insurance company, or even from an attorney asking you to pay for property damage, or for injuries sustained in an accident is not the same as being sued.

To be sued means you have actually been served with a lawsuit (petition) by a process server, sheriff, constable, or other person designated by the court to serve you with a lawsuit, or that you have learned a lawsuit has actually been filed with the county clerk.

In your son’s case, the only persons who are candidates to be sued are your son, presuming he was 18 years old or older at the time of the collision, and your husband. These are the listed owners of the car. In a car accident, the persons who can be sued are the owner and driver of the car. Just because your name is on the insurance policy doesn’t qualify you as a candidate to be sued.

You pay your insurance premiums for just such an event. If you haven’t done so already, simply turn the matter over to your insurance company. Let them deal with it. That’s what they do.

Just because the other driver is accusing your son of causing the accident does not necessarily mean your son was at-fault. Your insurance company will investigate the matter. If they believe your son was at fault, they will pay the driver’s claim. If not, they will deny the claim.

Finally, in the event your insurance company decides your son was at fault, as long as you have sufficient coverage to pay for the damage to the driver’s car, and for injuries, presuming the driver or his passengers were injured, you have nothing to worry about.

In the State of Maryland, the minimum car insurance requirements are:

  • $30,000 for injuries to one person in one collision
  • $60,000 for injuries to two or more persons in one collision
  • $15,000 for property damage

To read more about Maryland’s car insurance requirements go to Maryland Department of Transportation website.

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: October 19, 2017

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