Can the pedestrian I hit in an accident sue me if I don’t have the money?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can the pedestrian I hit in an accident sue me if I don’t have the money?

I was recently in a car accident where I hit a pedestrian. It looked as if he stumbled into my lane. I saw him and his girl standing on the side of the road prior to the accident. there was no time for me to hit the brake or to pull into the other lane. He is now trying to sue me. I am not financially stable I have a low paying job. I was told from one of the officers that he was under the influence on heroin. This may have been why he stumbled into my lane. The pedestrian walked into his house after the accident, he kept saying he had to get into his home, his girl helped himup and took him inside. I than left straight to the police station. I did call 911 at the scene as well. I don’t make a lot of money, about $550 a week. And from what I was told he was going for more than $25,000, which is what my car insurance offers.

Asked on March 18, 2016 under Personal Injury, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

1) The fact that you don't have money affects his ability to collect from you, but does not affect his legal right to sue. Anyone who believes they were injured due to another person's negligence or carelessness (e.g. careless driving) can sue.
2) To win, he will have to prove that you drove carelessly and also that he did not cause the accident or his injuries through his own carelessness. He can use witness testimony (including his own), police reports, etc., and you can offer your own contrary evidence and testimony.
3) If he does sue you and win, he can get an award for an amount of compensation related to his own medical costs, lost wages, and injuries caused by your accident. He can't get any amount he wants--he needs to be able to prove, such as through bills, invoices, medical testimony and reports, etc., the extent of his injuries and losses.
4) If he does win and gets more than your insurance pays, he can look to get the balance from you. He can potentially garnish your wages; also a judgment lasts for many years, so if you later have more money or a larger income, he can try to collect from you in the future.

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 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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