Many car accident claims are settled without filing a lawsuit. Negotiations with insurance companies often lead to an offer that accident victims are satisfied with. However, this is not always the case. Even if your car insurance company covers the costs of the other person’s injuries and property damage, you may still face a civil case.

Each driver in California has a duty of care to other drivers and pedestrians on the road. Motorists must operate their vehicles responsibly and safely. This means that when an accident occurs, it is common to start pointing fingers to determine which driver failed in their duty of care.

If you are responsible for a car accident that causes injury or property damage, you could be required to cover the costs of the accident. This may be true even if you have insurance.

Can I Get Personally Sued for a Car Accident?

Yes, an accident victim can sue you for compensation if you are responsible for an accident that causes them injury or property damage. This may happen for many reasons, but the most common scenarios that lead to car accident lawsuits being filed personally against the driver include the following:

Insufficient Insurance and Policy Limits

California requires all drivers to carry car insurance, but policy caps and limits sometimes prevent the injured party from receiving the money they need to cover their damages. When this happens, you could be responsible for the remaining balance because state law allows victims to seek complete compensation for certain expenses and damages. These include medical costs, property damage, lost income, and pain and suffering.

Lack of Insurance

Despite liability insurance being required by California law, some drivers still do not have insurance. If your policy lapses or you miss a payment, any accidents you cause during this time could become your financial responsibility. When you are found at fault for an accident, and you don’t have insurance coverage, a lawsuit may be the next step for the injured party.

Insurer Delays

Even if you do everything right following an accident and cooperate fully throughout the claims process, your insurance company may still delay the process. Extended delays can be tiring and burdensome when an injured person is waiting for compensation for their medical bills and loss of income, leading them to take other measures to recover their losses and leading you to being sued.

California’s Comparative Negligence Rule

More than one person can be found at fault for an accident in California because the state uses a comparative negligence standard. This means that both you and the other driver may be found liable for the accident. The amount of compensation that an injured party is entitled to receive will be decreased by the percentage of fault they contributed to the accident. For instance, if a court awards the other driver $15,000 in damages but finds they were 30% at fault for the accident, they will end up receiving only $10,500.

What to do if You’re Sued for a Car Accident

If you have not already, consider contacting an attorney to help you through the process. Being the defendant in a lawsuit is not easy, especially if you try to handle it alone. Plus, just because the lawsuit is filed doesn’t mean you will be found at fault. You may have options, including filing a counterclaim against the other party. Stay calm and contact the Accident Network for legal representation. Schedule your free consultation by calling us today.