Legal Questions... I'm getting sued?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by SamIchi, Apr 8, 2006.

  1. SamIchi macrumors 68030

    SamIchi

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    #1
    I got a summons today in tha mail for a car accident I had back in October of 2003. I didn't stop in time and hit the car in front of me, and then I was also hit from behind. Which totalled my car. The vehicle I hit was a van and had very little damage (from what I remember). My car was totalled being crushed in between.

    Anyways, I guess the lady that I hit is sueing me (and the person behind me) for $1,000,000. It says she suffered "serious injury", and has sustained a great economic loss as defined in the NYS Insurance law. These injuries are or anticipated to be permanent nature, which will hurt her daily life and such. The husband of the plaintiff, also says that he has been "denied the society, companionship, service & relationship with his wife" because of my accident. He's sueing for $200,000.

    I mean, I would really feel bad if I did cause her any serious injuries, but I remember her to be the first one gettin' out of her vehicle, and asking if I was OK. There was also a child with her, and there is no mention of him in the summons. What kind of injury could she of had had? And why am I gettin this almost a year and a half later (does it take that long to process?) The date recieved is March 27th 2006, so I think it was just filed.

    I have never been in any legal situations like this. What do you guys think, and Any information would be helpful thanks.
     
  2. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

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    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #2
    #1) Your insurance company should be informed ASAP -- presumably you were covered with a minimum of 1 million liability. You need to know what actions THEY have already taken in regards to this case.

    #2) It's a common tactic to sue the bejeesus out of a defendant hoping for a settlement of a small percentage of a very large claim

    #3) Although it is also very common to falsify or exaggerate soft-tissue injuries (non-visible, non XRay) in "whiplash" cases, I will not comment on this particular plaintiff.

    #4) You need to consult with a real lawyer, not just people who play one on MacRumors. It is going to cost you several thousands even to get a meritless lawsuit dismissed. Start saving.
     
  3. zelmo macrumors 603

    zelmo

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    #3
    :( Get a lawyer, fast. You should also contact the insurance company you were using at the time, too.

    Wish I had other advice for you. Good luck, and keep us posted.


    EDIT: Dang, that was fast and far more thorough, 'RAM!
     
  4. greatdevourer macrumors 68000

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    Aug 5, 2005
    #4
    $200000 because he was "denied the society, companionship, service & relationship with his wife"?!? Call me stupid, but what the hell does that mean? And how the hell is that related to the car accident?
     
  5. Chaszmyr macrumors 601

    Chaszmyr

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2002
    #5
    You will probably be safe, but you need to contact your insurance, and get as good of a lawyer as you can afford right away if the insurance company won't cover it.
     
  6. SamIchi thread starter macrumors 68030

    SamIchi

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    Aug 1, 2004
    #6
    Well we don't know because the injury wasn't specified. In the summons he requested the $200,000 also because of medical bills.
     
  7. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

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    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #7
    That means that the wife was too injured to ... you know ... and the husband either had to ... go without ... at great personal inconvenience, or incur extraordinary costs in ... outsourcing ... the service.*








    * Get your mind out of the gutter. I was talking about ironing his shirts... :D
     
  8. mcarnes macrumors 68000

    mcarnes

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    Mar 14, 2004
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    #8
    Most insurance policies go up to a million or more, so I wouldn't worry too much about money coming out of your pocket. Knowing that will give you confidence to fight this thing objectively (not emotionally), which is good. But check your coverage to be sure.

    With the length of treatment this lady has gotten, your insurance company (more likely her's if treatment was covered under PIP) should have gotten an IME report by now. Request a copy from the insurance adjuster and see how bad the injuries were.

    Your insurance company should handle most of this, but it would be good if you knew what was going on yourself.
     
  9. Danksi macrumors 68000

    Danksi

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    Oct 3, 2005
    Location:
    Nelson, BC. Canada
    #9
    I believe it basically means that their lifestyle/marriage was adversely effected by this accident and her injuries - that his wife was in no condition to do the things, for/with him, that she would normally do.

    EDIT: Wow, some fast typing, legal-eagles this fine Saturday morning. :)
     
  10. Josh macrumors 68000

    Josh

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    #10
    I suggest hiring an assasin. They generally charge less than lawyers.
     
  11. leftbanke7 macrumors 6502a

    leftbanke7

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    Feb 4, 2004
    Location:
    West Valley City, Utah
    #11
    I would think that the insurance company would help you with legal representation especially if they either already compensated them or offered them compensation and they declined. This may be something you want to discuss with your insurance company. That is the whole purpose of insurance. You screw up and they pay then they stick it to you later with increased premiums, right?

    Or find a real gun ho lawyer who will counter sue the lady for gender discrimination.
     
  12. SamIchi thread starter macrumors 68030

    SamIchi

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    Aug 1, 2004
    #12
    Yea I called my dad (I'm under his insurance) and he said don't worry about it, he's goin to call the insurance company, and they should be taking care of it.

    I mean a million dollars, what if someone didn't have insurance? That would tottaly ruin their life. I guess this is the "real world".
     
  13. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

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    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #13
    Thats the way the system works. The plaintiff is claiming that you ruined her life. IF that is true, she is entitled to compensation, and IF you are responsible, then you (or your insurance company) bear that burden.

    However, due to the excellent provisions of the US legal system, the plaintiff can hire a lawyer on contingency (meaning they work for free and get a large cut of the winnings -- it's kinda Lawyer Lotto, either don't get paid for 100 hours of work, or get $400,000 for 100 hours of work.

    And, there is almost no disincentive for them to file a lawsuit, even if it is frivolous and has only a 10% chance of winning -- they may luck out and win, or the insurance company may calculate that it will cost $100,000 to defend, so they'll cut their losses and settle for $50,000 -- which is a fast $20,000 payday for the lawyer.

    Now in Canada, the court has the ability to assess costs -- that is, if Bill the Bilker sues me for unjustifiable reasons, the judge can throw out the case AND order Bill to pay for my lawyer and all my costs. All of a sudden, it is much riskier for Bill to roll the dice and try for a big payoff, because if he loses, he gets hit for a judgement of $thousands in costs.
     
  14. superbovine macrumors 68030

    superbovine

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    Nov 7, 2003
    #14
    after you hear back from the insurance company find out what they said, and then consult an attorney. insurance company lawyers clients are the insurance companies, not you. most attorneys will give FREE consultations, so just open the yellow pages and find a lawyer, make sure it isn't the one suing you. all you will loose a bit of time, and find out if your rights are being protected.
     
  15. SamIchi thread starter macrumors 68030

    SamIchi

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    Aug 1, 2004
    #15
    Canada is sounding sweeter with their insurance, and what you just mentioned.
     
  16. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    St. Louis, MO
    #16
    The same thing is happening with me. The insurance company hired me a lawyer. I haven't had to pay a dime out of pocket for it. Make sure you contact your insurance company before hiring a lawyer. Good luck. The old hag who is suing me is only claiming 100 grand, and I don't think she's entitled to a dime of it.
     
  17. Mac_Freak macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    #17
    How could you be at any fault if she has hit from behind. It is her fault that she didn't keep the proper distance with the car in front of her.

    Where is reasoning, if I hit you and injure myself, then how is that your fault?
     
  18. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

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    #18
    Reread the original post. The plaintiff stopped and Sam rear-ended her. Sam was subsequently rear-ended by the car following him. I assume that there is no debate about responsibility for the accident, that will be covered in the police report.

    Rear-end accidents are probably the most sue-able because there is no way the lead car is at fault (unless their brake lights weren't functioning) and it is the classic 'whiplash' or neck-spine injury scenario -- and those types of injuries rely on patient testimony because there are no external signs. Consequently, even the slightest reported neck pain or stiffness becomes a debilitating, permanent and life-altering injury in the language of the lawyers.


    Unfortunately, claims for neck and back injury are so numerous, that all are assumed to be fraudulent now. My wife was rear ended at a stoplight, and it messed up her shoulder and arm, she lost 3 days work, and had to go to physiotherapy. The insurance company denied everything, saying that the accident was at too low a speed and "couldn't have" caused the injury, that it must have spontaneously and coincidentally appeared for some other reason that was not their responsibility. AssHats™.
     
  19. WildCowboy Administrator/Editor

    WildCowboy

    Staff Member

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    Jan 20, 2005
    #19
    But there is also the fact Sam was also rear-ended by someone else following too closely. Can it be adequately determined whether her injuries were from Sam hitting her car or from the third car? If Sam's car was totaled and squashed, it almost sounds like the second hit was the harder one.
     
  20. 2nyRiggz macrumors 603

    2nyRiggz

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    Thank you Jah...I'm so Blessed
    #20
    Your insurrance company suppose to be contacted and it should be handled by them. Dont sleep on this man.


    Bless
     
  21. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

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    Oct 11, 2004
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    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #21
    The plaintiff is suing both of them, any settlement would be proportional and the judge would assign % to each.
    The 3rd car's insurance company's lawyer however is going to argue it would never have happened without Sam's negligence, and they'll try to push it all on Sam.
     
  22. greatdevourer macrumors 68000

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    #22
    However, would it be possible to claim that it was the guy behind's fault for pushing Sam into the car infront in the first place?
     
  23. WildCowboy Administrator/Editor

    WildCowboy

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    #23
    I once hit a guy when I was following too closely. He was driving a big Suburban while I was in my parents' minivan. The guy slammed on his brakes in the middle of the road because he thought a stop sign applied to him when it did not. (Never mind that he was already well past the sign when he decided to stop.) It was a simple case...despite his idiotic move, I was completely at fault. No arguments there. He had mostly just a few scratches, as his giant chrome bumper took the brunt of it. Unfortunately for me, it was my headlight that his bumper, which resulted in my fender also getting crunched. $1500 damage to my car...$250 deductible. That was eight years ago, and my parents just got rid of that minivan two weeks ago...great repair job. (They never saw the damage as I was away for the summer at the time and I got it fixed there.)

    But I stayed in close contact with my insurance company, and when the driver and his wife started changing their story and making stuff up, they were quickly shot down.

    Your insurance company knows how to handle this...rely on them.
     
  24. WildCowboy Administrator/Editor

    WildCowboy

    Staff Member

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    #24
    But from Sam's description, the first thing to happen was him hitting the woman in front of him. There's no debating that he's the one to blame for that. There seems to have been a second impact when the next guy in line hit Sam. As CanadaRAM points out, that guy's lawyers will try to pawn all of the blame off on Sam, but the third guy should still have some responsibility, as the second impact would not have occurred had he not been following too closely. We don't know how the insurance companies initially assigned the proportions, and the courts will also do this separately.
     
  25. SamIchi thread starter macrumors 68030

    SamIchi

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    #25
    Well the police reports have been filed, and the insurance companies have dealt with the claims and such. We are both liable, but I did make the first accident. I had whiplash but it went away after a few days.
     

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