Oh No, I'm Being Sued!!

Lounge By sweetflowers Updated 18 Mar 2010 , 1:52am by margaretb

sweetflowers Posted 24 Feb 2010 , 11:52pm
post #1 of 32

Not for cakes!!! My son hit a pedestrian a few months ago and the guy is sueing us now. I'm so scared he's going to take my house and everything I've worked so hard for!!

The car was registered to me, which is why I'm worried. Anyone know what I can do to project my home? We have ins. but I'm afraid he's going to go for more than we are covered for. Even though he was the one who broke a vehicle code, he was injured very badly and his lawyer is going to go after my son because he was 'speeding' (about 10 mph over the limit, though that isn't proven by the police report). I'm so scared!

31 replies
LaBellaFlor Posted 25 Feb 2010 , 12:56am
post #2 of 32

Talk to a lawyer now. This varies from state to state. Is you son and adult or minor? If he is a minor, does he have a bad driving record? If he is an adult, more then likely your son is the one who will bare the brunt. If he is a monir, he may still be the one to bare the brunt, but later on down the road as an adult. If he is a minor, with a bad driving record, you may be at risk. Regardless, you need to talk to a lawyer.

tiaracakes Posted 25 Feb 2010 , 1:29am
post #3 of 32

You need to talk to a lawyer asap.

sweetflowers Posted 25 Feb 2010 , 1:51am
post #4 of 32

Calling a lawyer tomorrow. Son is not a minor, has an excellent driving record. Pedestrian was drunk and jaywalking in the dark. But still suing us because of injuries and my son going too fast. Son doesn't own anything, so they will come after me (registered owner)

Don't really have money for a good lawyer, anyone know what kind of a lawyer I need? Civil, criminal, I have no idea.

wyovol Posted 25 Feb 2010 , 1:59am
post #5 of 32

You need a civil defense attorney. A lot of local bar associations will offer free/reduced fee consultations with local attorneys. Our local one will schedule a 30-45 consult for $50. Definitely enough time to get a feel for how the attorney works and they will be able to tell you what kind of case you have.

vicki3336 Posted 25 Feb 2010 , 2:08am
post #6 of 32

It is my understanding that if you have insurance, the insurance company will use their lawyers to defend you. I'd be calling my insurance agent tomorrow. I, unfortunately, was on the other side of this a few years ago when my husband was killed in a car accident (he was a passenger). The driver's insurance company's lawyers were the only ones who dealt with my attorney. The driver did not hire his own lawyer.

jonahsmom Posted 25 Feb 2010 , 2:54am
post #7 of 32

Definitely make sure your insurance company knows you're being sued. That should be the absolute first thing you do - you'll need to make sure they have a copy of the original notice, etc. They should already have a claim file open I would think. I work in a law office that does defense of insurance companies (and the insured party being sued). Usually by the time we see an actual lawsuit, the insurance company has already gone back and forth with the plaintiff's attorney. I would call your insurance immediately!

Good luck!

cakesbycathy Posted 25 Feb 2010 , 12:55pm
post #8 of 32

I was also sued. By my cousin because she tripped over her own feet in my driveway and broke her ankle.


Call your insurance company as soon as they are open!! They must be told. Like right now (trust me on this one. We didn't tell ours right away and it was a big mistake). They usually have a lawyer that will handle your case, but ask them if you need to retain your own attorney.

indydebi Posted 25 Feb 2010 , 1:19pm
post #9 of 32

My aunt sued her son for slipping on ice on his sidewalk. Her attitude was "Well,, HE'S not paying it! The insurance company is!"

I don't invite her over to my house.

wyovol Posted 25 Feb 2010 , 1:28pm
post #10 of 32

I completely forgot about contacting your insurance company. icon_rolleyes.gif And my husband used to be an attorney for insurance companies. Yes. Contact your insurance company and let them know. They may provide the lawyer (that is where my husband came in on these cases). Call them before you start contacting local attorneys.

If you have already been served, definitely contact someone -- a lawyer or your insurance agency -- soon. You will only have a limited time to file an answer. You usually only have 30 or 45 days to file your response with the court.

Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

My aunt sued her son for slipping on ice on his sidewalk. Her attitude was "Well,, HE'S not paying it! The insurance company is!"

I don't invite her over to my house.




icon_eek.gif Wow. Just wow. icon_eek.gif

sweetflowers Posted 25 Feb 2010 , 4:03pm
post #11 of 32

I'm so sorry to hear about your husband. We did call our ins. co. right after the accident. They are the ones who called us to say we are being sued! They said they were going to fight it all the way. But told my husband to get all of my assets out of my name, we'll be served soon.
I don't know about the insurance co having lawyer for us.

We have the police report. Police say pedestrian was in violation of some vechile code and had blood alcohol of .17%, no citation for my son.

I don't understand our laws, how can a drunk jaywalker step in front of a car and still hold the driver responsible? No one could have stopped in time, even going 10 miles an hour he still would have been hit. I'm so scared, I'll have to look in the book for Civil defense if our ins says they don't supply on for us. I'm so scared....

TexasSugar Posted 25 Feb 2010 , 5:13pm
post #12 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetflowers

I don't understand our laws, how can a drunk jaywalker step in front of a car and still hold the driver responsible? No one could have stopped in time, even going 10 miles an hour he still would have been hit. I'm so scared, I'll have to look in the book for Civil defense if our ins says they don't supply on for us. I'm so scared....




Anyone can sue anyone for anything. It doesn't mean that they will win or that they are even in the right. It is up to the court to decide if they suit has merrit and then there has to be proof of wrong doing. Just because he is the one bringing up the suit it means that they court will automaticly place him in the right and your son in the wrong.

mkolmar Posted 25 Feb 2010 , 5:48pm
post #13 of 32

Some people look at this as a perfect situation to make money. They don't have morals. This is why real issues are sometimes over looked because of all the stupid ones taking up the courts time. We are a sue happy nation, disgusting isn't it.
My brother let someone barrow his truck trailor for a semi. Something broke on it a few months later and the guy sued my brother over it even though he wasn't paying to use it in the first place. My brother then found out he was just one of 3 lawsuits this guy had going at the same time. His sister and mother each were suing people at the same time also. Between the 3 of these dirt bags looking to make a buck 5 people where getting sued all for different things. They looked at it as a way to make an income. Sickening.

sweetflowers Posted 25 Feb 2010 , 6:49pm
post #14 of 32

My friends have said the same thing, that just because he sues, doesn't mean he will win. But you just never know what kind of a light they will paint on the accident and my son, and how they will sway a jury or court, being right or wrong has nothing to do with if you will win your case or not. That's what has me worried, any jury could decide anything depending on how good this guys lawyer is or how bad ours might be. I guess I'm a little cynical in that way.

I just want to protect my house, it's the only asset I have (other than a 12 year old car). I work 5 jobs to pay my mortgage so I won't have to move, and now it's all at risk. I will literally lose everything.

I have a call into a lawyer now, I hope he can help without taking my house for his fees!

KHalstead Posted 25 Feb 2010 , 6:55pm
post #15 of 32

I just wanted to add how terrible I feel for you going through all this stress, I can't imagine how AWEFUL your son must feel, especially knowing all that you're doing to keep your home and then to have this added to that stress!!


Don't get me wrong, I feel bad for the guy injured in the accident too...but I guess I don't have as much sympathy for someone that would sue someone over something that was THEIR own fault!

butternut Posted 25 Feb 2010 , 7:51pm
post #16 of 32

If you don't mind my asking, what state do you live in and what insurance company do you have?

sweetflowers Posted 25 Feb 2010 , 8:20pm
post #17 of 32

California and Mercury Ins. I hope they have good attorneys! I was told I will have to give disclosure of my assets when I get served, not sure how long that will take. But it worries me, just like everything else.

Just like a contract for cakes (which I never sell) you should have a HUGE insurance umbrella policy for this kind of stuff. Assuming I have anything left after this I will.

ziggytarheel Posted 25 Feb 2010 , 9:51pm
post #18 of 32

Please contact your insurance agent before you spend a dime. Get all the facts about what you are entitled to as far as a defense goes. If you have good insurance and a good agent, you'll be in excellent shape. I know California is not the greatest venue for this, but please do not assume you are going to lose everything. There are many reasons to believe that will not be true.

misserica Posted 1 Mar 2010 , 10:35pm
post #19 of 32

SweetFlowers, as everyone said contact your insurance company. I live in NJ but I also have Mercury. Dec of 2008 I was in a bad accident that was my fault but I did not get any tickets or anything. One of the vehicles involved is suing me, as per a rep at Mercury. They told me this in Oct 2009. I wont go into details or anything but I have not heard a word about it, keep paying my insurance and hope that the statute of limitations comes quickly (its 2 years from incident in NJ).

Mercury is a good carrier, I used to write policies for them when I worked for an agent. Their rates are on the high side here in NJ but they cover your behind. They represent you if need be.

Torts Posted 4 Mar 2010 , 1:46am
post #20 of 32

I'm only a law student so the following can only be taken with a grain of salt- it is by no means meant to be legal counsel, only things to think about... so there's my disclaimer icon_wink.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetflowers

But told my husband to get all of my assets out of my name, we'll be served soon.




Wow really!? Just last week in property law we had a case similar to this in which what you said above would constitute conveyance fraud (trying to convey all of your assets to someone else to avoid losing them in a lawsuit). Of course there's all sorts of rules and exceptions and it varies by jurisdiction, but I'd be weary just the same and check with your lawyer to be sure before you do anything.

You said you're from CA? Do you know if that a contributory negligence jurisdiction (as in 'yes your son was negligent in driving over the speed limit but the pedestrian was also negligent in that he was publicly intoxicated and jaywalking at night?') Honestly, I think any reasonable judge would rule in your favor, but your attorney will know the specifics in your jurisdiction. The plaintiff (pedestrian) will have to establish duty (i.e. your son had a duty to abide by the speed limit and this duty was intended to protect the sorts of victims as in this case [pedestrians/other drivers]), breach (he breached this duty by driving ten miles over), causation (was your son's breach the cause of the plaintiff's injuries? Likely so, but then you get into proximate cause/ but for cause, and it'd be hard to say what your jurisdiction would conclude). I'd stress that but for the plaintiff's [pedestrian's] actions, the injury would not have occurred. The plaintiff would have been injured regardless of the speed if the difference was only 10 mph, so the plaintiff can't really say "but for the defendant's speeding the injuries would not have occurred"...

If it's not in the police report, I would not admit that your son was driving 10 miles over (do you know for sure that he was or did the plaintiff assert this to your insurance company); if you don't know then you cannot admit it, [basically you'd say "upon proof, admit" but without the police report, there's not really any proof].

I think a decent lawyer can get you off.

noahsmummy Posted 6 Mar 2010 , 1:13pm
post #21 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Torts

I'm only a law student so the following can only be taken with a grain of salt- it is by no means meant to be legal counsel, only things to think about... so there's my disclaimer icon_wink.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetflowers

But told my husband to get all of my assets out of my name, we'll be served soon.



Wow really!? Just last week in property law we had a case similar to this in which what you said above would constitute conveyance fraud (trying to convey all of your assets to someone else to avoid losing them in a lawsuit). Of course there's all sorts of rules and exceptions and it varies by jurisdiction, but I'd be weary just the same and check with your lawyer to be sure before you do anything.

You said you're from CA? Do you know if that a contributory negligence jurisdiction (as in 'yes your son was negligent in driving over the speed limit but the pedestrian was also negligent in that he was publicly intoxicated and jaywalking at night?') Honestly, I think any reasonable judge would rule in your favor, but your attorney will know the specifics in your jurisdiction. The plaintiff (pedestrian) will have to establish duty (i.e. your son had a duty to abide by the speed limit and this duty was intended to protect the sorts of victims as in this case [pedestrians/other drivers]), breach (he breached this duty by driving ten miles over), causation (was your son's breach the cause of the plaintiff's injuries? Likely so, but then you get into proximate cause/ but for cause, and it'd be hard to say what your jurisdiction would conclude). I'd stress that but for the plaintiff's [pedestrian's] actions, the injury would not have occurred. The plaintiff would have been injured regardless of the speed if the difference was only 10 mph, so the plaintiff can't really say "but for the defendant's speeding the injuries would not have occurred"...

If it's not in the police report, I would not admit that your son was driving 10 miles over (do you know for sure that he was or did the plaintiff assert this to your insurance company); if you don't know then you cannot admit it, [basically you'd say "upon proof, admit" but without the police report, there's not really any proof].

I think a decent lawyer can get you off.




whats torts is sayign makes perfect sense. i dont think you have too much to worry about. gosh makes me wanna be a lawyer if only i had the brain.... icon_rolleyes.gif

shelbur10 Posted 6 Mar 2010 , 2:16pm
post #22 of 32

Several years ago, my husband was in a car accident (driving) and his passenger was killed...the family sued us. At the time my husband was badly injured and we were devastated to have lost a dear friend, so we pretty much ignored the lawsuit to deal with other issues, and our insurance company took care of everything for us (they ended up settling out of court, our ins. paid.) Best of luck to you!

DragonFly2333 Posted 14 Mar 2010 , 6:10pm
post #23 of 32

I was the victim of a 4 car pile up, first one to be hit. Over $10,000 in damages.

The lady who caused the accident admitted fault and was charged with tailgating. Turns out she only had the state min of $5,000 (liability). I was one of three people and clearly that was not going to cover the damages she had caused. My insurance company State Farm went after her company. I was told that if I won, her company would pay their $5,000 and then she would have to pay the rest.

I won the case, she didn't even show up for the trial (yes, it went to trail). If she didn't establish a payment plan within 60 days she would loose her license. Guess what I got 64 days after I won my case? Yep, a big check.

O and for reasons I still do not understand, the police report with her being charged with tailgating AND the recorded State Farm call where she, I and an agent were on three-way, where she admitted fault and willingly handed over all her info (it was a weekend and her company was completely closed) were NOT allowed to be presented in the trail.

Point of post, check into what he is suing you for verses what your policy allows for. I'm assuming he's suing you for more than what your policy is set up for if your insurance company is telling you to unload all your assets.

And one final note, at the time of the accident I had half tort, verses full tort. So obviously I could not sue for grievance and to be totally honest it *NEVER* crossed my mind to sue her for more than the damages. (Sh!t happens, life goes on, right?) BUT after everything I went thru I now have full tort. I missed days of work, paid ridiculous parking fees and alot of my TIME traveling to lawyer meetings, court dates and on the phone trying to stay in the loop and keeping my ducks in the row when this chick never even made a court appearance!! I spoke with her right after the accident and she clearly knew how to 'work the system.'

Had it been my fault...my policy would have covered everyone's damages.

dalis4joe Posted 14 Mar 2010 , 8:35pm
post #24 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by vicki3336

It is my understanding that if you have insurance, the insurance company will use their lawyers to defend you. I'd be calling my insurance agent tomorrow. I, unfortunately, was on the other side of this a few years ago when my husband was killed in a car accident (he was a passenger). The driver's insurance company's lawyers were the only ones who dealt with my attorney. The driver did not hire his own lawyer.




I'm so so soryy to hear about your husband.... May God continue to comfort you....

cheatize Posted 14 Mar 2010 , 9:25pm
post #25 of 32

I'm surprised no one has mentioned this: your insurance company lawyer will work in the best interests of the insurance company- not your best interest. Get you own lawyer ASAP.
I second the asset and fraud issue. It's too late to get the house out of your name.

I am not a lawyer and have no backgroun in the field, so take my advice for what it's worth. At least look into it.

erinalicia Posted 14 Mar 2010 , 11:50pm
post #26 of 32

My husband and I have debated for the last 2 years whether or not to make a claim against my step-father's insurance for my son's near-drowning accident.
The accident happened on his property, in his pond. While no one was determined to be "at fault" for the accident, we were told we could still make a claim, which is exactly the same thing as suing him.

I got a good idea of how a lawyer would handle it when we were contacted by one. First, the lawyer wanted to go after my step-father, for everything, and that is not what we would have wanted.

If my son had been in a vehicle with my step-father, his insurance would have paid for his medical bills, that was all we were wanting help with in this case, but I think we've decided it would cause too much of a rift in my family. Not sure if it's worth that or not and I don't care for anyone to think that I'm greedy.

Texas_Rose Posted 15 Mar 2010 , 1:13am
post #27 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by erinalicia

My husband and I have debated for the last 2 years whether or not to make a claim against my step-father's insurance for my son's near-drowning accident.
The accident happened on his property, in his pond. While no one was determined to be "at fault" for the accident, we were told we could still make a claim, which is exactly the same thing as suing him.

I got a good idea of how a lawyer would handle it when we were contacted by one. First, the lawyer wanted to go after my step-father, for everything, and that is not what we would have wanted.

If my son had been in a vehicle with my step-father, his insurance would have paid for his medical bills, that was all we were wanting help with in this case, but I think we've decided it would cause too much of a rift in my family. Not sure if it's worth that or not and I don't care for anyone to think that I'm greedy.




Your stepfather's property insurance should have covered at least some of the medical bills. Making a claim on the insurance is not the same as suing him. My sister was bitten by a babysitter's dog and the sitter's homeowner's insurance covered the medical bills and a settlement (not a big enough one IMO, not for facial injuries like she had). My parents could have sued but they thought that was a tacky thing to do.

erinalicia Posted 15 Mar 2010 , 2:38pm
post #28 of 32

Texas_Rose- My stepfather would view it as us suing him regardless of the fact that we would not be going after any of his personal assets. I'm pretty sure, from talking with other families in our situation, that it would cause his insurance premiums to go up or his insurance company to drop him completely to make a claim this large.

Luckily, my son was covered by Medicaid, so that is why we never pursued it. If we were to make a claim now, the majority of the settlement would go to the state to "pay back" Medicaid.

I think because it is family I look at it differently, and the fact that we all (family that was present) feel guilty and responsible for something that was a terrible accident.

ziggytarheel Posted 15 Mar 2010 , 3:55pm
post #29 of 32

If you are being sued and you have insurance, it is in the best interest of the insurance company for you to not lose any money, or as little as possible, because they pay first. They very much want to save you money because it saves them money in this situation. Very different type of scenario than when you want to file a claim against an insurance company.

And, liability with homeowner's insurance is a little bit complicated and varies according to state and by what is specifically excluded from your policy. Just from what I've absorbed working in that environment for a number of years (I am not a licensed agent), insurance companies sometimes pay a claim when they have no legal obligation to (no real negligence on the part of the policy holder) because it is cheaper for them to hand out some cash than it is to defend their client in court, even if they feel certain they would win).

Dog bites are a particularly important issue to know the facts about. Different companies have different lists of dogs that are EXCLUDED from coverage due to the frequency of claims. If you have a dog that is one of the excluded breeds, then your insurance company is not liable, but of course, you are.

Texas_Rose Posted 15 Mar 2010 , 4:49pm
post #30 of 32

erinalicia, I'm glad to hear that your son's medical expenses were covered.


ziggytarheel, the dog that nearly took my sister's face off was a golden retriever, so no one expected it to do something like that.

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