Visitor Question

Will the insurance company take care of this fender-bender or will we be sued?

Submitted By: Kara (Rock Hill, South Carolina)

My husband was driving as a Lyft driver in North Carolina on a Saturday night. He was at a yield behind another car with a passenger in the back seat. The car in front of him started to go, so he did too. Suddenly the car in front slammed on their breaks, (I’m guessing because of an oncoming car) so my husband slammed on his.

Both vehicles were traveling no faster than 2 mph. Our car touched the back of theirs, but only enough to make a small scratch. That was all the damage and the front of our car was fine. Nobody was hurt, but obviously it was my husbands fault so the other lady called the cops. They did a report when they arrived on scene.

Now we have papers in the mail from lawyers advertising themselves. They do say “advertisement for legal services” but they also say that they are sent for failure to reduce speed. We just want to know if we are looking at upcoming trouble or will the insurance take care of it all?

All the cop told my husband was that he needed to show proof of insurance in court. We didn’t physically have the insurance cards in the car yet, since they sent us everything through email most recently and we had not had access to print them out yet. The cop said everything should be fine, but my husband feels like the people he bumped into are going to try and sue him.

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 Kara,

In most cases, when a police officer issues a traffic citation for failure to carry car insurance, the production of proof of insurance at the initial court setting will result in the citation being dismissed. Be sure your husband appears in court on time and presents proof he was insured at the time of the accident.

When your husband purchased car insurance, he entered into an agreement with the insurance company. In return for your husband’s premium payments the insurance company agreed to indemnify (protect) your husband in the event of a car accident up to the limits of the policy.

In the unlikely event your husband is sued, the indemnification includes providing an attorney to represent your husband at no charge up to the limits of his policy. The insurance company will investigate the accident, and in the event they believe it would be in their best interests to settle the claim, they will do so.

The accident occurred in North Carolina. Your husband lives in South Carolina.

The minimum car insurance limits in South Carolina are:

  • $25,000 for injuries to one person in one accident
  • $50,000 dollars for injuries to two or more people in one accident
  • $25,000 for property damage

The minimum car insurance limits in North Carolina are:

  • $30,000 for injuries to one person in one accident
  • $60,000 dollars for injuries to two or more people in one accident
  • $25,000 for property damage

If your husband carried the minimum amount of car insurance in the state of South Carolina, the policy limits are well beyond any settlement amount which might be reached in such a minor “fender-bender.”

Based on the facts, your husband has nothing to be concerned with other than a possible increase in his insurance premiums.

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 22, 2017

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