T Nation

Am I Screwed?


#1

2 years ago I was involved in car addident. I collided with another car head on. The driver was drunk, 3 rd DUI, Spent almost 2 years in jail for it and has been paying me 25$ a month since than for my vehicle. I did not feel I caused the accident but while in a daze told the police officer that I was at fault.

He is now sueing me for neglance because he is too injured to work.

I had the chance to sue him when it happend but was happy with him just paying me for the cost of my car (500$)

What do you think?


#2

Get a decent lawyer, or at the least talk to your insurance company. In a case such as this it might be hard to prove negligence because he was drunk.

And you could also sue him. do you have any residual pain or stiffness associated with this collision? If so you also have a case against him.

I'm a big guy for being honest, but you might want to see the chiropractor and complain about headaches and sue him for pain and suffering due to negligence.

These nuisance suits often go away when the shoe is on the other foot.


#3

If you had liability coverage on your auto at the time of the accident immediately forward the suit to your insurance company. If the drunk is alleging your negligence (either in part or in whole) caused the accident, regardless of whether that is the truth, your insurance company owes you a duty to defend the suit against you.


#4

I am sorry you are going through this. Being sued is a very scary thing that can keep you up all night worried about it. First, breath. It could be much worse. At least you are not facing criminal charges.

A few questions. Were you insured at the time of the accident? If you were, did you contact your insurance company when the accident occurred? Or were you a nice guy who agreed to "keep the insurance companies out of it"? This could have consequences depending on the law of your state.

If you are insured, contact your insurance company immediately. Like right now: Call them or send them an e-mail. Really - Now.

Keep us updated. I cannot give legal advice, as you are in Penn, but I will try to help you with general stuff that is common sense to me but might not be to you.


#5

I would think that the fact that the accident occurred while he was drunk, and he was convicted in a court of law for a third DUI, would at least help your case immensely. I'm not a lawyer, however. You should definitely contact your insurance company and listen to CaliforniaLaw.


#6

I am with the previous reply, I don't know how he can sue you if he was drunk. I don't know much about the law, but that seems messed up to me. I really hope everything turns out okay for you. Keep us updated.


#7

Nothing surprises me about the retardation of the law at times. Drunk drivers on their third offense suing...not shocked. Criminals suing for injuries suffered whilst committing crimes...same deal. I just threw up a little in my mouth.

Good luck, and I hope you find good representation.


#8

Again, not legal advice. But I'm assuming you did consider that $500 to be a full settlement of ALL claims that EITHER party might bring, right? In other words, in exchange for that $500, you agreed not to sue him; and he in turn agreed not to sue you. I hope my assumption is right.


#9

+1 The fact that a repeat DUI offender could sue anyone over an auto accident is far beyond my realm of comprehension. Also, isn't that what liability insurance is for?


#10

In many states, you must immediately report an accident to your insurance company. (Most insurance contracts require this.) Failing to report the accident may give the company grounds to defend you in a lawsuit.

So what happens?

Drunk guy hits the OP. The OP feels bad for the guy. Says, "You have enough trouble. We don't have to report this to our insurance companies." Two years later, the OP tells his insurance company he is being sued. His insurance company says: "You didn't report the accident immediately. We are therefore denying coverage."

I can't say that is what happened or that the OP will be denied coverage. But it is something he will need to work out with his insurance company.

What will likely be the OP's saving grace is that the $500 the drunk guy sent him was a FULL settlement of all claims that either party could bring. By paying the $500 to the OP, the drunk guy settled with the OP and also gave up any right he had to sue the OP. So the OP will be able to defend himself by noting that the $500 was a full settlement of all claims.

Now the drunk guy will say that he did not release the OP from future suits and that the $500 was just to pay for the OP's car. But will they take the word of the drunk guy over the OP's?


#11

Most of the posts so far are right on. It seems almost impossible that the guy is going to be able to recover anything from you given that he a)has been convicted of driving drunk three times, including in this incident and, maybe more importantly, b)has been paying you for the damage to your car, which I'd think any sane judge would take to be an admission of responsibility on his part.

Upshot is, you may be out some money to hire a good lawyer (which you should do IMMEDIATELY, if you haven't already), but I can't imagine that the drunk is going to be able to find a lawyer willing to stick with his case for too long if only because it's obviously such a loser. Also, if you can show that the drunk and his lawyer know the case is frivolous (which might not be too hard), you may be able to recover your legal costs from him. That would, of course, be a question for your own lawyer.


#12

I notified my insurance company right away, It was a pretty bad accident. I rember the first EMT to show up come up to me and say "who ever was in the car is dead" he was talking about my car haha.

My drivers side hit is drivers side, he drove off the road and stopped. My car flipped over and landed 105 feet away on the roof and spun around a few times, I immedatly crwawled out thoughe a small opening. I was coming out of a corner slowly, he was driving fast.

My insurace co. has a lawyer for me now. I dont belive in sueing for money however I told them to counte sue him. I could have been a dick and sued him 2 years ago but let him go and now he wants to sue me.

The cheif of police who was there at the time of the accident told my mother that the other driver is pretty much a scum bag.

He also told be that by leaving the hospotial aganist the Dr's order he gave away his right to sue me.

The drunk wants a trial by jury. I hope his 2 year jail time for his third DUI is enough to pursade the jury that he is in the wrong.


#13

I don't think you have anything to worry about. If your insurance company coughs up a lawyer, you are probably pretty safe.


#14

I doubt he really wants a trial by jury. His atty. merely wants to get a settlement.


#15

not sure about PA, but in texas drunk trumps all.

if you are sober and completely broadside a drunk, the drunk is still legally at fault.

your best bet is to get a lawyer and hash it over with him though.


#16

It sounds like you're okay. Best of luck, and remember, while it's a pain in the ass, it's not nearly the end of the world. So relax.