Was in a car wreck in feb with another car I had no insurance . Police report did not state who was at fault just said both party’s collied at a 90 degree angle unable to determine fault . but the police report did show the other party going 50mph in a 35 and I was driving 30 in a 25 . Can she sue me in small claims court
You may have a protection from liability under Alabama "guest statute." Nevertheless, you may still have to defend a lawsuit. You will likely, however, lose your license and driving privileges if you cannot post a bond for any liability. This is required based on your irresponsibility to the insurance laws and liability as a driver in the state. I recommend you immediately at least seek the minimum insurance requirements to cover you if you ever drive again. This is a minimum that you owe to the other drivers on the road, and is required by state law.
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Can you be sued? In general, you can "sue" anyone and everyone you want in this country so long as you can afford the requisite filing fee.
More information is needed here as to liability, but you have to understand that whatever is written on the police report is only the police officer's opinion as to liability, speed, etc., and is generally not admissible in court as it is considered hearsay.
Since you may have some fault here and chose to drive without insurance in violation of state law, you are now going to be responsible either to negotiate with the other person and/or his or her insurance carrier or possibly defend yourself in court if either party files a lawsuit. If you are going to negotiate with the other party’s insurance carrier, you can try to ask for a reduced amount and/or set up a payment plan.
If you have no attachable assets and a judgment is rendered against you in court, there may be no way for the prevailing party to enforce the judgment, but it is possible you will lose your driver’s license until the judgment is paid. It is also possible that your state may suspend your driver’s license, anyway, as in some states a judgment is not needed to do so.
You may need to consult with an attorney who specializes in bankruptcy/debt-debtor law. You can use the “Find a Lawyer” link at the top of the screen for the names of some attorneys near you.
Please do not message me for further advice. If you are in need of an attorney to assist you, please search for another attorney in the jurisdiction involved in your case, as I am now retired, and my former law firm is no longer handling these types of cases. I am active on AVVO and answer questions only as a public service at this point.
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Alabama law requires a person in your situation to pay for any liability you may have in a case like this. Because Alabama also requires you to have insurance, you are likely to be sued and might be held responsible unless the Guest Passenger law gives you protection. You will need to see an attorney at your earliest opportunity. If she sues you in Small Claims Court, you will only have 14 days to respond. If you fail to do so, a judgement can be entered against you.
The bottom line is: get advice from an attorney asap!
All the best,
DISCLAIMER: The following language is required pursuant to Rule 7.2, Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct: No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of the legal services performed by other lawyers. Any information contained herein is intended for general informational purposes only. The information should not be construed as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Any response given does not result in any further obligation to provide an additional response. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.
I concur with the responses above. Although the Guest Statute often serves as a defense, if the driver is found liable for “wantonness” - such as drinking and driving or other malfeasance sufficiently more serious than ordinary negligence, then the passenger suing you may be able to overcome this defense. Also, if there was a sufficient benefit conferred upon the driver such as receiving payment or other value for the ride or passenger contribution of gas money, then the guest statute defense may not be successful. Each case must be evaluated based upon the specific facts and circumstances. As a practical matter, your passenger may prefer to sue the other driver instead of suing you, insofar as your passenger will not likely have to face the other driver’s defense of “contributory negligence” that might otherwise be asserted, for example, if you were to sue the other driver, and the other driver would not be able to assert the Guest Statute as a defense.
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