How can I avoid being sued personally for an accident?

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How can I avoid being sued personally for an accident?

The police report states that I did not yield at a stop sign, so I was at fault for T-boning another driver. This is not true and the officer that showed up to the scene merely decided it was true with little or no investigation. Now, weeks later, I find out that I am being personally sued for medical bills and auto damage. I never received anything in the mail, I had to find this information myself. What can I do to fight this accusation and not be in debt the rest of my life?

Asked on July 26, 2017 under Accident Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

There is no way to "avoid" being sued in that if someone believes you were at fault in causing an accident, they have the right to file a lawsuit against you. Of course, to actually win money from you, they would need to prove in court by a "preponderance of the evidence" (more likely than not) that you were in fact at fault. You can fight the accusation, if sued, by attacking their evidence and/or presenting your own evidence (witness testimony, including you own; police reports or testimony; etc.) showing that you were not at fault and/or that the other driver was. However, if the police have concluded that you were at fault, while that is not a binding legal determination, it is strong evidence against you: the police are seen as neutral (no personal stake in the outcome), trained, and professional, and the courts typical give their opinions on fault a great deal of weight. Between that and the fact that car that T-boned another is generally considered to have been at fault (because you hit the other car), it would likely be very difficult to convince a court that you were not at fault.


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