My wife is being sued by auto insurance company with regards to an accident her son had back in 2008. At the time of accident my wife only has PIP & they were alledged injurys to the passengers in the other car. My wife wife was notified by State of Florida they she had not meet her financial responsibility. She was required to purchase a SR22 for both herself & her son. She also has to put up a security deposit with the state of florida. It was a minor accident but the other party scammed the insurance company and the insurance company claim they paid out close to $20,000. Does she have any kind of defense and we could use some legal advise. There are no assets & my wife has no income.
It sounds like the injured parties made a claim under the other driver's UIM coverage and that insurer is now pursuing your wife for reimbursement (often entitled subrogation). I am not licensed in Florida, but if you have received a Summons then review it carefully, as it should advise you on how long you have to respond to it. If you do nothing, the Plaintiff can get an Order of Default and Default Judgment against your wife and you as well, if you were named in the lawsuit. I urge you to contact local counsel right away. Do not delay!
Arthur D. Leritz
Legal Disclaimer: Mr. Leritz is licensed to practice law in the State of Washington. The response herein does not constitute legal advice nor does it seek to establish an attorney/client relationship, but rather offers educational insight only. Please feel free to visit Mr. Leritz's website for additional information: www.adlergiersch.com
The other driver's insurance company steps into the other driver's shoes and now sues. This is called "subrogation". It is a proper course of action.
One item that comes to mind is the amount of time since the accident. The insurance company steps into the other driver's shoes, so the same statute of limitations that would apply to the other driver now applies to the insurance company. The general statute of limitations in Florida for negligent matters is 4 years, so that comes to mind.
Defenses? Florida is a "comparative negligence" state, which means that the "blame" is apportioned between the drivers. So, if your wife rear-ended a vehicle, that sounds pretty cut and dried, right? Not so fast, not if the driver in front was negligently driving themselves, did not see something in front of them, and slammed on their brakes.
So, part of the claim for damages might be diminished if the other driver was speeding, following another vehicle too closely, etc..
Another part of the defense to the claim is the reasonable amount of money to repair the vehicle. You say there was a scam involved, so that might become an issue to contest.
I understand--your wife did not have liability insurance and so any legal defense would have to be paid by her/you out-of-pocket. Or, she would have to defend by herself and that is very very difficult.
A bankruptcy is not the answer to every debt problem, but you should know that unless it was an alcohol related motor vehicle accident that the claim can be discharged in a bankruptcy.
You really need to sit down with an attorney to go over the details of the accident and the scam you referenced so that a viable opinion may be given.
I hope you found this response to be of assistance. This response shall not be considered the rendering of legal advise but instead a general response to a general question. While Avvo is a wonderful resource, nothing can be a substitute for an in-depth consultation with an attorney in the jurisdiction in which the law is to be applied. This response shall not be deemed to create an attorney-client relationship, nor shall it create an obligation on the part of the attorney to respond to further inquiry from the questioner.
You are going to have to hire an attorney to handle this for you or you can try and work the matter out with the judgment holder. Maybe they will accept some sort of monthly payment. If your wife does not have any assets, they are going to have serious issues with collecting from her. I encourage you to contact an attorney in your area immediately to go over your options.
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