three years ago i was working as a Van driver for a company and was involved in a car accident while driving clients, anyway as i was switching lanes, another driver sped up and i bump the side of her car. it was later determined that i was improperly switching lanes thus i was at fault. i was told to give a full record of this to the HR department and i assumed that i was covered by the company insurance, as i did not own a car back than so i had no personal insurance. now i have just received a summons indicating that i along with my former company are being sued. i have no money, and i cant afford a lawyer… what should i do?
What Is The “The Statute of Limitations” In Your State?
Here’s a link:
3 years …i guess?? not too sure
Find out who the lawyer is for the company’s insurance, then call that lawyer and ask the same question. It depends on a lot of things, but if there was a good insurance policy for the company and no one was seriously injured, you are probably OK. In general, you are only on the hook for any damages over the amount of the insurance coverage.
Your company almost certainly has a lawyer on staff or retained for legal issues if it’s a small company. Contact your HR department (owner?) and ask them to contact the company lawyer and find out what the statute of limitations is. Make sure that your company knows that you are involved in the suit; maybe they will represent you, too.
i did contact the company’s lawyer and she told me that they received a summons also and send over the paperwork to the company’s insurance agency. i asked her what am i supposed to do… and she told me to send a reply to the court… but i received the summons when i came back from a trip and i was told that to send a response to a summons you have to reply in five days and its being over 10days from the day the letter was delivered to the day i came home and open my mail box. the sub-total amount so far for the claim is $5,600. i am so scared and confused cause i feel very vulnerable… i have never being sued before… i am beginning to think that i should take the wait and see approach since i have no money for this claim or a lawyer?
Having been in the restaurant business education about lawsuits with dram laws, and over serving etc., The basic MO was to sue both the bartender and the establishments, Never dealt with one but the basic scenario was the lawsuit was against the deep pockets, the establishment, while holding the employee at fault and no suits had never tried to collect from a bartender, ie blood from a turnip? Hope the same holds for you. This is not a legal opinion, for that you must consult a lawyer. Maybe there are some free legal services you can consult.
Some Law Schools have “legal clinics” to which people can go for free legal assistance. I would suggest phoning your state university’s law school to inquire about possible help from their students.
If you meet income limits, the local Legal Aid Society may be able to provide legal advice, and in some cases, representation.
Recontact the company lawyer. If the total claim is $5600, they may want to negotiate a full settlement (at no cost to you), because cost of trial in these cases most likely exceeds $5600, regardless of the merit of the lawsuit. If you and the company were indeed considered at fault, then this decision should be a no-brainer for the insurance company.
Try the legal section on Answerbag.com You might get some usable advice there.
Who determined fault? If you were using your turn signal to switch into an apparently empty lane about to be occupied by someone going faster in the adjacent lane sounds like the other driver was not heeding your signal, making them a little more at fault than you. If you were going at the speed limit, then the other driver was speeding; making them more at fault. Even so, it is their responsibility to avoid a collision as well as yours. How could you reasonably expect to see a car that was not there?
Regarding failure to reply on time, you need to explain that you were away from your mailbox. Any reasonable person will understand but be prepared to furnish evidence to prove what you said.
I’m sure being sued is not fun, but don’t panic. If the court letter required a response then do so. They likely want to confirm you rec’d the letter and that they know where you are and can contact you in the future.
The insurance carrier for the company you drove for is the main defendant on this and if money is awarded they will have to pay up. You were the other driver and therefore your testimony is critical to the case. You’ll have to give your version of the mishap to the court either in person or via deposition. In a deposition you are sworn in, and give your story to the lawyers sitting around a table. The other side’s lawyers can ask you questions and there is a record of the entire preceding for the court to review.
Make sure the insurance company knows how to contact you. They will assign a lawyer to the case and that lawyer will want to speak to you. These things can drag on for years, so don’t worry about anything happening immediately. Just go about your business and drive carefully. Your entire driving record will be reviewed, before the accident and after. Your best action at this point is to get no tickets, no accidents, and drive carefully so no issues can strengthen the other parties case.