What happens ifIwas in an accident and the injured party took a settlement from my insurance company but now a year later andI am being sued?

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What happens ifIwas in an accident and the injured party took a settlement from my insurance company but now a year later andI am being sued?

I was involved in an accident and the other person had a minor injury. They received a settlement from my insurer but I am now being sued for 1M in damages. I am currently a college student with absolutely no assets and no income. Would I be required to pay this back for the rest of my life?

Asked on January 24, 2012 under Accident Law, Virginia

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In order to receive the settlement, the injured party had to sign a release.  By signing the release, the injured party gave up his/her claim against you.  That party cannot subsequently file a lawsuit against you.  If the settlement was just property damage to the vehicle, the injured party could still file a lawsuit against you for the injuries which would include the medical bills, pain and suffering and documentation of wage loss. 

It would be advisable to contact the auto insurance company you had at the time of the accident.  That auto insurance company will provide you with an attorney at no cost to you.  The attorney will respond to the complaint (lawsuit attached to the summons with which you were served) and the answer to the complaint will state that the lawsuit is barred because the opposing party signed a release and received a settlement.  You won't be paying that amount that is claimed in the lawsuit because the lawsuit is barred and the party cannot sue again on the same claim.


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