Terrible tragedy all around. Report the incident to her and or your insurance carrier, speak with a local and qualified personal injury attorney, and likewise bankruptcy attorney.
Personal injury cases only; I'm good at it; you be the Judge! All information provided is for informational and educational purposes only. No attorney client relationship has been formed or should be inferred. Please speak with a local and qualified attorney. I truly wish you and those close to you all the best. Jeff www.nyelderinjurylaw.com
Your daughter is essentially judgment proof. If there was insurance that covered the vehicle, then the insurance will defend the case and settle as it sees appropriate. The family may, understandably, be running on emotion. Sooner or later they will likely realize that your daughter has nothing to pay a judgment and will settle for the policy limit or otherwise resolve the case. If you don't have insurance you might want to talk to a lawyer about how to resolve the case.
I want to start by extending my sincerest apology. Make sure your insurance company is aware of all pertinent information. The insurance company will utilize their attorneys to counter the lawsuit.
I presume your daughter served time on house arrest and did community service in lieu of some sort of possible jail sentence. So, it sounds like she was in violation of a criminal statute when the collision occurred.
If she was convicted of a crime or pled to a lesser crime related to the accident, the fault may be hers despite errors contained in the traffic collision report.
If there was a criminal aspect to her operation of the vehicle, a punitive damage award may or may not be dischargeable in bankruptcy. Your daughter needs to ask that of a bankruptcy attorney.
As to the remaining claims, your daughter needs to consult with her attorney assigned to her by her insurance company and she has to listen to what he/she has to say. If she did not have insurance, then contact an attorney to discuss further.
The term judgment proof is most commonly used in tort law contexts to refer to defendants or potential defendants who are financially insolvent. Even if a plaintiff were to secure a legal judgment against an insolvent defendant, the defendant's lack of funds would make the satisfaction of that judgment difficult, if not impossible, to secure. In such cases plaintiffs might move for wage garnishment based on the judgment. However, if the debtor is retired or collecting social security or other social welfare this is not possible.
Judgment proof is not a defense. If sued, the defendant cannot claim "judgment proof" as one would other affirmative defenses. Judgment proof instead refers to the inability of the judicial lien holder to obtain satisfaction of their judgment.
An individual who is unidentifiable or has left the jurisdiction is often considered to be judgment proof
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You left out one or two MAJOR details--is your daughter a minor? Does she live with you? Is she on your vehicle insurance?
Whoever took this case either think there is insurance or --given your address-- money and other assets available to pay a judgment. Attorneys do not take worthless cases on contingency.
The DMV "declared non-negligent" designation has no bearing on legal liability.
Assuming you have insurance, tender the claim to them ASAP.
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