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MVA 14 mths ago.Each of us ticketed.Both tkts dismissed in court.Now she's suing for pers injury- what now? Am I liable?

Sherburne, NY |

My car was totalled-not sure about hers. Damage to my car was the whole drivers side. Damage to her car was the front end. My ticket was for no left turn signal (wrong!), hers was unsafe passing (correct!). Judge dismissed both in court.My insurance covered my car in full, my premiums didn't increase, so I assumed it was over and we each were at 50% fault. BUT today I rec'd a letter that she is suing for pers injury! I was the one taken to hosp in an ambulance but had no signifcant injuries. She did not need an ambulance and was physically fine at the scene AND in court wks later. How can she sue me now? And for what? Am I liable? What do I do? Will my insurance co drop me now?

Attorney Answers 7

  1. Contact your insurance company immediately to let them know of the suit. You will be assigned an insurance defense attorney to protect your interests. No onc can tell you what will happen in court -- but we can tell you you're better off with an attorney than without one.

    Best of luck.

    In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship. You are not to rely upon my note above in any way, but insted need to sit down with counsel and share all relevant facts before receiving fully-informed legal advice. If you want to be completely sure of your rights, you must sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney to be fully aware of your rights.

  2. First and foremost, you should turn the letter over to your insurance company or broker immediately. You are entitled to a defense vis -a-vis the assignment of an attorney to represent and defend you at no expense to you. Even if you are ultimately found to be some way liable in whole or part for the accident, the insurer would pay the claim up to the amount of your policy limits. Having said that, you don't provide enough information to permit a reasonable analysis of the liability exposure you may have. the fact that the tickets were dismissed does not prevent a civil action being brought against you. Whether your carrier will drop you is more a consideration of your accident history. The cleaner the record, the more likely you won't be dropped, although you may be facing a premium increase if you are ultimately determined to be more than 50-60 per cent at fault for the cause of the accident. For discussion purposes, be aware that even if you were held to be at fault for causing the accident, in whole or part, the other driver's case still can be dismissed if she can not prove that she was "seriously injured" as that phrase is defined by the No-Fault Laws of NY. So, let your insurance company take care of it, and thereby take the worry off your shoulders.

  3. Turn the matter over to your insurance carrier - it will defend and indemnify you.

    I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle criminal defense and personal injury/civil rights cases. Feel free to check out my web site and contact me at (212) 385-8015 or via email at The above answer is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.

  4. Anyone can sue . The question is twofold. One, whther the person bring suit can prove any degree of negligence. In New York one can be 50% or any degree at fault less then 100% and succeed in proving SOME fault. Two, the person suing has to demonstrate by medical proof that there exists what is called a "serious injury" as defined by law. So the issue is can she prove any degree of fault and a serious or qualifying injury. If she can prove a qualifing injury her recovery is diminished to the extent that she is at fault. Turn over any lawsuit papers to your insurance carrier. Depending on the outcome of the case your carrier will make an underwriting decision as to keep premium the same, increase preium or decline further coverage.

  5. The liability portion of the case will have to proven with admissable evidence, not heresay. I will assume that the police officer did not witness the accident. She can sue you but that does not mean she will automatically win. She will have to prove liability and serious injury which could be difficult based on your statements. In any event, your insurance company will have attorneys defend you in the lawsuit and you should submit all correspondence to them and discuss the details as well. Unless she was severly injured, your policy limits should be enough to cover any potential damages. Meaning you will not be personally liable.

  6. Florida is a comparative negligence state which means each side is accessed a percent of fault. A ticket could get dismissed for many reasons in the legal system. Also the standard of proof in criminal court is beyond a reasonable doubt vs. civil court which is greater weight of the evidence, preponderance of the evidence.

    Please note that any commentary offered is based on the limited set of facts and background data and please do not consider this legal advice unless we speak to one another about your legal issues, for I am not sure of your exact circumstances and wouldn't want to advise you incorrectly.

  7. Fault or liability is a complicated question. If you are being sued, make sure to get that info to your insurance company immediately. The reality is anyone can sue anyone for almost anything. You could sue her if you want. The question is who is going to win. Depending on which state you are in, different principles of comparative fault apply (comparing which party was more at fault than the other). In most states, you cannot sue unless you were LESS THAN 50% liable/at fault. For example, if you were both 50% at fault, neither can sue. Some states allow you sue to regardless.

    Police reports can be a good source to do an initial evaluation of who might win and lose. However, in this situation, it sounds like a toss up and sounds like she doesn't have a very good case. I would definitely contact your insurance company and then you may want to consult an attorney in your area to understand whether you have a right to sue or seek any damages yourself. Best of luck.

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