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What if i can't pay for a civil lawsuit from a car accident? if i dont have a job and no money in the bank and no house?

Buford, GA |

i was involved in a car accident my car insurance stated that if the coverage doesn't cover the claim i should get an lawyer, i was told that they should represent me if I am being sue for additional payment for the claim. what should I do?

Attorney Answers 8


  1. If there is a judgment not covered by insurance. your future wages and assets are at risk. Additionally, they can cause your license to be suspended, even for life, until you pay. In some cases, if there is such a judgment, a bankruptcy can erase the bad effects. Before you get that far, your insurer has some responsibility to attempt to settle for the policy limits (or less).

    If you find this answer helpful, please mark it here on AVVO as helpful. In answering you, I am attempting to communicate general legal information and am not representing you (and am not your lawyer). Do feel free to call me at 404-768-3509 if you wish to discuss actual representation (the phone call also does not retain counsel; that requires an office visit and appropriate paperwork). In that a forum such as this provides me with limited details and doesn't allow me to review details and documents, it is possible that answers here, while meant to be helpful, may in some cases not be complete or accurate, and I highly recommend that you retain legal counsel rather than rely on the answers here. (You can also email my office at geaatl@msn.com . An email also does not retain my office, but can help you get an appointment set if you prefer not to call). I am happy to discuss possible representation with you. Any information in this communication is for discussion purposes only, and is not offered as legal advice. There is no right to rely on the information contained in this communication and no attorney-client relationship is formed. Nothing in my answer should be considered as tax-advice. To ensure compliance with IRS Circular 230, any U.S. federal tax advice provided in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient or any other taxpayer (i) for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed on the recipient or any other taxpayer, or (ii) in promoting, marketing or recommending to another party a partnership or other entity, investment plan, arrangement or other transaction addressed herein. I am also required to advise you, if your question concerns bankruptcy, that the U.S. Congress has designated Ashman Law Office as a debt relief agency that can help people file bankruptcy.


  2. It doesn't matter if you can't afford to pay a judgment. The Plaintiff will get the judgment against you all the same. If the insurance is maxed at 25K, for example, and the judgment is for 100K, you are on the hook for $75k. You say, well, I can't pay that. It doesn't matter, the judgment is real. Once they get the judgment, they'll record a FIFA, and everywhere you go the Plaintiff's judgment will follow you. It can prevent you from getting loans, buying a car, and a number of other things. On the other hand, if you can't afford the judgment, you don't really have a lot to worry about. Frankly, your insurance company will resolve it and you probably won't have much to worry about. Unless someone was seriously injured or killed, your insurance will probably be all that the Plaintiffs come for.


  3. The insurance company is charged with zealously defending you in this matter. If the claimant does an asset check on you and there is nothing to go after, they probably won't. If they do and you do get a judgement against you, consider consulting with a bankruptcy attorney for advice. Lets hope that it done not come to that.


  4. I would see if you could get a free consultation with an attorney in your community. As pointed out, your insurance company has an obligation to protect your interests.


  5. Even though your insurance company will provide a lawyer to defend, get a free consultation with a local car accident lawyer to review this.


  6. Your insurance company should represent you, so there is something odd about your case. I suggest you sit down with an auto accident attorney and give them all of the details. You need to be aware of whether or not you have rights you can enforce against the insurance company, as well as the consequences of the claim against you and how that can affect you going forward. As the others told you, you could end up losing your license over this, but you may also be getting ripped off by your own insurance company.

    The above information is general in nature. In order to obtain more specific and legal advice upon which to base your important decisions, please contact our office directly for a free phone or in person consultation. Robert M. Gardner, Jr. Hicks, Massey & Gardner, LLP hmgrmg@yahoo.com 53 W. Candler St. Or 718 Oak St. Winder, Ga. 30680 Gainesville, Georgia (770) 307-4899 (770) 538-0555 gadebtlaw.com hicksmasseyandgardner.com serving metro Atlanta and all of Northeast Georgia Bankruptcy, Divorce, Personal Injury, Worker’s Compensation, Medical Malpractice, Adoption, Civil and Criminal Litigation


  7. Sounds like you insurance company will pay policy limits, and you are judgment proof for damages over policy limits at this time, but when and if you become employed, have money in the bank, and have a house in the future, you can be garnished then.

    Attorney Stacy E. Pepper is licensed in all State and Federal Courts in Mississippi. He is a founding Partner in the law firm of Pepper & Odom, P.C. Nothing posted here constitutes any attorney client relationship and is meant for educational purposes only. Office hours are 8:00 a.m till 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Phone: 601-914-9219 Facsimile: 888-456-2160 www.pepperodom.com


  8. Your insurance company has a duty to defend you. If the damages being sought are in excess of your liability limits, your insurance company should agree to pay its policy limits with the condition that the injured party signs a "limited release." By agreeing to a limited release the injured party is agreeing to take the policy limits and release you, the insured, from any from any future exposure for excess damages above the policy limits. However, a limited release does allow the injured party to continue with a claim against their own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage assuming they have any. If the inured party will not agree to a limited release in exchange for your policy limits, then your insurance company should continue to provide you with a defense attorney.

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