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I am being sued in a traffic accident that was my fault. I was driving my sons car and was covered under his policy.

Pueblo, CO |

100,000/300,000/100,000 insurance coverage. I am 67 and get ss and have an IRA. Can they take my IRA. Can they go after my son? The summons says they want a jury trial and are asking for over 100,000. I live in Colorado.

Attorney Answers 3


Legitimate concern and question. Permit me to dispel the myth and give you some piece of mind. What you are experiencing is part of the insurance company "scheme" to scare people. The real party in interest to this lawsuit is the insurance company. An insurance policy is a contract. The policyholder pays a premium. In exchange the company hires a lawyer and provides coverage. In the most rare and extreme circumstances does the policyholder or the insured have to pay anything beyond the policy limit.
It can happen, but many things must occur and be proven. An exception might be if the injured was devastating and life altering, and you had substantial assets and look to "beat the system" with a very limited policy. Every state is somewhat different, but the general points I have outlined are reality.
In New York, as a general rule and for example, personal injury awards are dischargeable in bankrupcy. In the confines of this forum, I respectfully submit you should ask the insurance lawyer if you have any legitimate concerns or hire your own attorney to review the matter. Good luck.

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I am licensed in Nevada, but this answer should apply in Colorado as well.

As far as your son is concerned, he can only be personally liable if he, himself, did something negligent. I'm assuming he gave you permission to drive his car. That being the case, if he was negligent in giving you permission to drive, he can be liable. The typical cases for this liability, known as "negligent entrustment", come up where the owner allowed another to drive knowing that the other was incapable or unsafe as a driver. For instance, if I give my keys to you after giving you 10 beers and you get in an accident, I would be at fault for allowing you to drive. This can even be the case if I were to allow you to drive knowing someone else just served you 20 beers.

Your son can also be liable if he failed to properly maintain the car in a way that contributed to the accident. For instance, if he failed to maintain the brakes and allowed you to drive the car and you were involved in an accident where it could be shown that the brakes were bad and contributed to the accident, your son could be liable.

If you got a Summons and a request for Jury Trial, you have been sued and need to turn the Complaint and other documents to your insurer immediately so they can provide counsel to defend you in the lawsuit.

Hope this helps.

/s Donald Kudler

This answer does not create an attorney client relationship and does not constitute legal advice, but is solely the opinion of a Nevada Attorney.

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Your IRA is exempt from attachment by creditors. Therefore they can not go after the IRA. Your son has no liability unless there is a claim of negligent entrustment, which means he should have known not to let you drive his car because you are a bad driver. His insurance policy will cover you up to the limits. You may be responsible if there is a verdict in excess of the policy limits. You should encourage the insurance company to settle within those limits.

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