Skip to main content

My friend was at fault in rear-end accident. Needs legal help/advice, ASAP!

North Hollywood, CA |

My dear friend was in Monrovia last week and rear-ended an older lady at abt 10mph on city street. (There were plenty of witnesses). Something went awry and her car sped up, winding up zooming-wrapped around a pole, flipped over and the paramedics had to get her out of the window of her 10 yr old car.
She had to be hospitalized and he has not been able to get any information on her/her condition. His insurance co. says they will pay because he was 100% at fault.
Can she sue my friend even after accepting settlement from insurance company?
Help, please ASAP,
Thank you...

Attorney Answers 7

  1. Best answer

    If the insurance company settles her case in full and gets a release from her which is full and final the case is over. I am not sure what you are referring to when you say "accept settlement". Your friend should talk to his insurance company. It sounds like he may have caused a severe injury. If that is the case you can expect litigation. The insurance company will defend the case and get your friend an attorney if suit is filed.

    You should consult an attorney in your State at once. Visit our webpage and tell us what you think.

  2. Most likely the older lady was paid for damages to her car. If she suffered personal injuries, she will sue your friend. It appears that your friend has already notified his insurance company to defend him, so just tell him to hold on tight while the plaintiff's attorney negotiates with his insurance company.. He will get sued only of his insurance company does not agree to pay the amount demanded or tender the full amount of his policy. If he gets sued, have him send the complaint to his insurance company. Best of luck.

    This answer is provided by Manuel A. Juarez, Esq., 'El Abogado Hispano de California, and it is of a general context and is not intended to form an attorney client relationship. I am licensed only in California. This information is good only in California and it is not to be taken as legal advice on divorce, family matters, bankruptcy or in any other type of situation. Esta respuesta es del Abogado Hispano Manuel A. Juárez, 510-206-4492. Abogado Hispano de Divorcios, Accidentes, y Bancarrotas de Oakland, Hayward, San Francisco, y California. Estas respuesta son solo para información general y no consisten en consejo legal sobre divorcios, mantención de esposas, mantención de hijos o bancarrotas. Las respuestas son comentarios legales que no forman una relación de abogado y cliente. Soy licenciado solo en el Estado de California.

  3. What your friend has to do is notify her insurance company ASAP. In cases like these property damage and injury claims are handled separately. The property damage is resolved first, with no bearing on any potential injury claim. If the person was injured and sues your friend, she has to turn it over to their insurance company.

    Good luck,

    DISCLAIMER: David J. McCormick is licensed to practice law in the State of Wisconsin and this answer is being provided for informational purposes only because the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship.

  4. Legal

    When a company insures an individual entity, there are basic legal requirements. Several commonly cited legal principles of insurance include:[3]
    1.Indemnity – the insurance company indemnifies, or compensates, the insured in the case of certain losses only up to the insured's interest.
    2.Insurable interest – the insured typically must directly suffer from the loss. Insurable interest must exist whether property insurance or insurance on a person is involved. The concept requires that the insured have a "stake" in the loss or damage to the life or property insured. What that "stake" is will be determined by the kind of insurance involved and the nature of the property ownership or relationship between the persons. The requirement of an insurable interest is what distinguishes insurance from gambling.
    3.Utmost good faith – the insured and the insurer are bound by a good faith bond of honesty and fairness. Material facts must be disclosed.
    4.Contribution – insurers which have similar obligations to the insured contribute in the indemnification, according to some method.
    5.Subrogation – the insurance company acquires legal rights to pursue recoveries on behalf of the insured; for example, the insurer may sue those liable for insured's loss.
    6.Causa proxima, or proximate cause – the cause of loss (the peril) must be covered under the insuring agreement of the policy, and the dominant cause must not be excluded
    7.Mitigation - In case of any loss or casualty, the asset owner must attempt to keep loss to a minimum, as if the asset was not insured.



    To "indemnify" means to make whole again, or to be reinstated to the position that one was in, to the extent possible, prior to the happening of a specified event or peril. Accordingly, life insurance is generally not considered to be indemnity insurance, but rather "contingent" insurance (i.e., a claim arises on the occurrence of a specified event). There are generally two types of insurance contracts that seek to indemnify an insured: "indemnity" policy, and
    2.a "pay on behalf" or "on behalf of"[4] policy.

    The difference is significant on paper, but rarely material in practice.

    An "indemnity" policy will never pay claims until the insured has paid out of pocket to some third party; for example, a visitor to your home slips on a floor that you left wet and sues you for $10,000 and wins. Under an "indemnity" policy the homeowner would have to come up with the $10,000 to pay for the visitor's fall and then would be "indemnified" by the insurance carrier for the out of pocket costs (the $10,000).[4][5]

    Under the same situation, a "pay on behalf" policy, the insurance carrier would pay the claim and the insured (the homeowner in the above example) would not be out of pocket for anything. Most modern liability insurance is written on the basis of "pay on behalf" language.[4]

    An entity seeking to transfer risk (an individual, corporation, or association of any type, etc.) becomes the 'insured' party once risk is assumed by an 'insurer', the insuring party, by means of a contract, called an insurance policy. Generally, an insurance contract includes, at a minimum, the following elements: identification of participating parties (the insurer, the insured, the beneficiaries), the premium, the period of coverage, the particular loss event covered, the amount of coverage (i.e., the amount to be paid to the insured or beneficiary in the event of a loss), and exclusions (events not covered). An insured is thus said to be "indemnified" against the loss covered in the policy.

    When insured parties experience a loss for a specified peril, the coverage entitles the policyholder to make a claim against the insurer for the covered amount of loss as specified by the policy. The fee paid by the insured to the insurer for assuming the risk is called the premium. Insurance premiums from many insureds are used to fund accounts rese

    The materials available at this web site are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of and access to this Web site or any of the e-mail links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between Howard Roitman, Esq. and the user or browser. The opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney.

  5. Your friends auto insurance should cover the legal issues, and damages up to limits. If your friend does not have auto insurance, she can be held liable for the damages to the other driver. If your friend has no resources, bankruptcy may be appropriate.

  6. I agree with my fellow attorneys. I sincerely wish you the best of luck.


  7. The short answer is yes, but the reality is that normally your friend's insurance will be accepted if the friend has very little in personal assets. Additionally, if the other driver has underinsured motorist coverage, then that will be secured as well. The insurance company will defend your friend through trial if necessary and it is very expensive to bring a case if the end result is that there is no money to collect later. You cannot squeeze blood from a turnip is very practical in today's personal injury field. If your friend has assets, know that the elderly person is probably covered by medicare and therefore the bills will be substantially reduced from normal costs. Current law provides that only the amount paid need be paid by your friend, and pain and suffering. It is too early to be concerned about getting sued. Calm your friend by telling him or her to let the insurance company worry about it for now. Later, when it becomes clear, there may be more to be concerned about.

Real estate topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics