Should I file bankruptcy as soon as I receive notice that I'm being sued in a personal injury claim resulting from an accident?

My 17 year old son was involved in an accident with a motorcyclist . He was driving his truck that is registered in my name . It has been determined by my insurance company that my son is 100 percent at fault . He wasn't drinking or driving reckless . My bodily injury limits are 50 , 000 and my insurance company is willing to pay out the policy limits . We don't have much in assets besides our retirement savings plans and make a decent living . Our house is 100 , 000 upside down and so are all of cars . My same sex spouse is the insurance policy holder , but not the registered owner of the truck , or my sons legal parent . Can he be sued as well ? If sued , should I immediately file for bankruptcy or wait until there is a judgement ?

Stockton, CA -

Attorney Answers (8)

Manuel Alzamora Juarez

Manuel Alzamora Juarez

Car / Auto Accident Lawyer - Berkeley, CA
Answered

LET YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY HANDLE THE CLAIM. NORMALLY, IF THE PLAINTIFF SETTLES FOR THE POLICY LIMITS, YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY WOULD SECURE A RELEASE FOR YOU. IN THE EVENT THAT THE SETTLEMENT NEGOTIATIONS FAIL AND THE PLAINTIFF DECIDES TO TRY THIS CASE, YOUR INSURANCE WILL DEFEND YOU AND IT WILL INTERPLEAD THE POLICY VALUE WITH THE COURT. HOWEVER, IF AT TRIAL , THE JUDGMENT GOES BEYOND YOUR POLICY LIMITS, ONLY THEN YOU SHOULD SEEK THE ADVICE OF A WITH A BK ATTORNEY. YOUR BK ATTORNEY WILL ADVISE YOU AS TO WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO. BEST OF LUCK.

This answer is provided by California Accident Attorney Manuel A. Juarez, Esq., 510-206-4492. Abogado de... more
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David Lee Fiol

David Lee Fiol

Personal Injury Lawyer - San Francisco, CA
Answered

I think it would be premature for you to file for bankruptcy, not only for the reasons previously mentioned, but also because you seem to be assuming that you and/or your partner will be held liable for all of your son's negligence. That is not necessarily the case in California - your liability is limited to statutory liability held by the owner of a vehicle (up to $15,000, which should be covered by your insurance), and special liability for your own negligence, if any, in allowing your son to use the truck. You are not liable simply because your son was negligent. You should ask some hard questions when speaking with your insurance company about your own exposure to liability, as opposed to the liability of your son, and perhaps speak to an attorney in your area on these same issues.

David Thomas Dorer

David Thomas Dorer

Personal Injury Lawyer - Macon, GA
Answered

You have a right to demand that your insurance company tender the policy limits in exchange for a limited release of liability for you. What that means is you can tell your insurance company to pay what the injured person wants and then the only reason they would sue you would be to get an excess judgment (a judgment from a jury more than your bodily injury coverage) so that the injured person can collect from his or her own uninsured motorist coverage.

Do not file for bankruptcy over this. If you're insurance company doesn't settle, you can personally sue them for bad faith insurance representation. Consult a trial attorney who does insurance/personal injury law. I am available all day.

Also note as an aside: unlike crimes, debts are not something you can go to jail for. Just because you owe money doesn't mean they can take your stuff or your house. Garnishment and lien attachment are pretty technical areas of law and a defendant like yourself can likely combat this even down to that level while you wait for your insurance company to do the right thing (if necessary).

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David B Pittman

David B Pittman

Car / Auto Accident Lawyer - Fort Myers, FL
Answered

I would consult a bankruptcy and see what the options are. Make sure that your insurance company gets a full release signed by the person who got hit.

Christian K. Lassen II

Christian K. Lassen II

Car / Auto Accident Lawyer - Philadelphia, PA
Answered

You should sit down with a local bankruptcy attorney.

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Joseph Gerard Dell

Joseph Gerard Dell

Personal Injury Lawyer - Garden City, NY
Answered

There is no need to file for bankruptcy. Let your carrier handle the case. In almost every case the plaintiff will agree to settle for your policy limits. Call your carrier and their counsel and go sit with them and let them give you some guidance and if they won't reach out to a local plaintiffs firm and go consult them for guidance.

Liwu Hong

Liwu Hong

Car / Auto Accident Lawyer - Edison, NJ
Answered

You really do not need to file for bankruptcy now. Your insurance shall defend you if they cannot settle the claim within your policy limit. I guess you do not have any UIM/UM coverage. If you have, those coverage will chip in some money. Work with your insurance company first and see what will happen.

Kevin Coluccio

Kevin Coluccio

Car / Auto Accident Lawyer - Seattle, WA
Answered

I would start by contacting and consulting with an attorney who can review the actions of the insurance carrier and your potential personal liability. Go to the "find a lawyer" tab and look for a insurance defense attorney in your community.

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