What to do if a family member of mine hit a pedestrian a couple of weeks ago?

UPDATED: Mar 13, 2013

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What to do if a family member of mine hit a pedestrian a couple of weeks ago?

She was turning left and it was dark. The pedestrian was wearing all black and she didnt see him until the impact. She was going less than 5 mph and was able to swerve and hit the brakes, but he was still hit by the bumper. The paramedics said he was okay and had no broken bones but he went to the hospital to be checked out anyway. She was just advised that he has obtained an attorney. She had a $15,000 policy limit and is newly retired and has no assets and barely makes it by on her retirement money each month. Can you please advise us what he will be able to go after her for and what she has to worry about?

Asked on March 13, 2013 under Personal Injury, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

There is no way to tell what the pedestrian will sue her for--it depends on the extent of his injuries. He can potentially recover any/all of the following: 1) out of pocket (not paid by insurance) medical costs; 2) pain and suffering, if there were any long lasting disability or loss of life function or enjoyment; 3) lost wages or diminution of earning potential, if any. These amounts can vary widely, from a few thousand to several tens of thousands--even well over $100k--depending on the severity of injury.

If she has no assets and only pension or other retirement funds (e.g. social security), she may be effectively judgment proof, however--that is, even if she is sued and loses, most retirement funds cannot be garnished or otherwise touched, so they may not be able to get anything from her.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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