I was traveling down the interstate early one morning going to work. I was keeping a safe distance from the car in front of me, when someone in the lane beside me changed to my lane, really close to me, and about the time I let off the gas, they stopped and I couldn't stop without hitting their bumper. They said the car in front of them stopped like he didn't like how close they came between us, but that car left the scene when we stopped. Then I find out that my insurance had lapsed and I have no coverage at the time. So the police say it's my fault I guess and I got a letter from there attorney to pay them something like $3000. I don't know what my options are but I've heard if they don't file a suit for a year they have to throw it out. Now it's been 10 months and I got another letter for $17,000. What should I do?
You should get an attorney at this point. You could be sued for any amount, but the amount actually awarded to the person that sues you will depend on proof established. One common misconception many people have is that if they have insurance, they are safe from any judgment. The truth is, insurance usually only covers so much, and anything awarded by a jury that exceeds the coverage limit may very well be the responsibility of the person found responsible. That's one reason why it is important to have enough insurance coverage.
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Unfortunately, you likely will be held personally responsible for the claimed damages. Consult local counsel for further clarity.
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The statute of limitations is to years. I would suggest you consult can attorney as soon as possible.
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The statute of limitations for negligence in Alabama is 2 years, so the person whom your rear-ended has plenty of time to file suit. Because your insurance lapsed, you must retain private counsel, which is going to be more expensive than if you had insurance defense counsel. Do not respond to letters without consulting with an attorney.
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