What happens if you are ar fault for an accident and don’t have enough coverage?

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What happens if you are ar fault for an accident and don’t have enough coverage?

When driving home in the right line couldn’t stop when a car crossed all tree lines to get into a parking lot. I hit the car in front of me, then he hit the car in front, and again to another car. So far 4 cars have been involved, with no visual damage, but the driver in the first one was taken to ER because of neck pain. Nobody saw the tag of the crossing car. I have only PIP insurance and already received a letter of information that my PIP does not cover the damage I caused. I am 56, renting a room, don’t have savings and my salary is $12 per hour. What is my perspective? What is most likely to happened in court and how I have to deal with it?

Asked on April 7, 2013 under Accident Law, Florida

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

There may be other personal injury claims from the other drivers in addition to the one taken to the emergency room because sometimes the injury does not manifest itself immediately after the accident.

Without adequate coverage, you could be sued for negligence for having caused the accident.  The lawsuit won't be filed for quite sometime (several months or possibly more than a year) until medical treatment is completed and the total medical bills are known.  You would be liable for the medical bills, pain and suffering, which is an amount in addition to the medical bills based on the nature and extent of the injury as documented in the medical reports, and also wage loss.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.  The amount of compensation for pain and suffering depends on the extent of the injury and whether there are residual problems after completing medical treatment.

Until you are served with the summons and complaint (the complaint is the lawsuit), you don't need to do anything.  At that time, you will need to file an answer to the complaint.  The litigation may last several months or longer before there is a judgment against you.  When there is a judgment against you, it would be advisable to file bankruptcy.  You may be eligible to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy which is straight liquidation and will eliminate the debt.  Until there is a judgment against you, it would be premature to file bankruptcy because you would not know the amount of the judgment.

Don't worry about it because it may be a year before you are served with a lawsuit and it may take another year beyond that to litigate the case before there is a final judgment against you.  When there is a final judgment, file bankruptcy.

 


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