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Can i be personally sued after a car accident even if insurance has taken care of it?

Upland, CA |

While i was in Iraq last year, April/May time frame, my wife was in a car accident. We live in Las Vegas and the accident happend in California. She was at a 4 way stop, the woman to my wife's left and my wife went at the same time. Although the other woman hit my wife's front left fender, my wife was found at fault. I payed my deductable to my insuance and i thought that was the end of it. Recently my wife go a summons to go to court because the woman is sueing her for some, in my oppinion, B.S. stuff like anxiety, car damage, loss of work..etc., for over $18000. Is my insuance going to take care of this? I have full coverage with USAA.

Attorney Answers 4

  1. First, thank you for your service. Second, there is no such thing as "full coverage". Normally when clients tell me they have "full coverage" what that translates to is that they have the MINIMUM required by the state where they live. Usually though, USAA policies tend to be more than minimum coverage (you can always buy more). Next, yes, USAA will take care of this. They will provide your wife with defense counsel. They will defend the case. And they will indemnify your wife, meaning they will pay for any voluntary settlement, and they will cover any adverse verdict up to the amount of your liability limits. Finally, your wife is being personally sued; apparently you are not. The suit papers would have you listed as a defendant if that were the case. Whether you can be sued, is dependent upon the kind of issues the plaintiff chooses to raise, and whether state law permits an owner to be sued (California law in your case). If you were going to be sued it probably would have happened by now. Good luck to you and your wife.

    The author of this post is licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. This post is intended as general information only, and is not provided as legal advice in connection with any specific case, and does not create an attorney-client relationship.

  2. Your insurer is obligated to provide you with a defense and, most likely, to pay for any settlement. Contact USAA right away and send them a copy of the complaint.

  3. Make sure that you send the summons and complaint to USAA as soon as possible. USAA will then hire an attorney to defend your wife and USAA will then either settle the case or defend your wife through trial. Most likely what happened is that the plaintiff's attorney tried to negotiate a settlement with USAA, but no agreement was reached. Negotiations can resume during litigation. The important thing to remember is that your wife has to inform USAA of the lawsuit.

    Thanks for your service.

  4. Like the other lawyers have said the USAA will cover your defense. The reason your wife was served with the summons & complaint is that she is the party involved, your insurance company is not the party. They are however required to provide you with a defense.

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