Legal Question in Personal Injury in Colorado

Personal Liability above insurance state minimum

My husband was invloved in an auto accident in Feb. where he was at fault for misjudging a left turn on a green light. Both vehicles were totalled. Injured party was brought to the hopital after suffering a 2 to 3 inch head laceration across her hairline. No other injuries are known at this time. She was released in a couple of hours. She was not wearing a seatbelt and she immediately hired Frank Azar, Esq. We have state minimum of $25,000 on our USAA policy. We are a double income family with a modest home, two modest cars and modest savings for our family of four. If she decides to sue us personally

what assets could she attach herself to? Will her not wearing a seatbelt help our defense alot in CO? In such situtaions, what are likely outcomes?

Asked on 3/29/02, 2:31 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Peter W. Thomas, Esq. PETER WILLIAM THOMAS, PLLC
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Re: Personal Liability above insurance state minimum

The injured driver's medical bills are, as I'm sure you are aware, covered by her carrier's PIP coverage. A small cut to the head of the nature you describe isn't worth over $25,000. In the event her injury is more severe, however, or she has other claims and damages, you would be facing a policy limits claim and need to retain your own attorney to represent and defend you on any excess. If she was awarded a sum in excess of $25,000, and you were unable or otherwise unwilling to satisfy the judgment, then she could garnish your wages and/or seek a writ of attachment against any real or tangible property (subject to certain exclusions) that you own. The seatbelt issue is an affirmative defense that you can assert, as drivers are by statute required to wear a restraining device. That does not bar her claim, but rather is an issue considered by the jury in establishing her comparative negligence/fault and reducing her award proportionately. I would be happy to speak with you in more detail if you would like. Very truly yours, Peter

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3/29/02, 3:47 pm

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