Pennsylvania  |  Civil Rights Law

Legal Question

Asked on: 7/14/13, 7:43 am

If my car was in a accident and I wasnt driving, what would be my defense to the person trying to sue me?

1 Answer

Answered on: 7/15/13, 9:57 pm by Rachel Hunter

You are the owner of the car. You are responsible. Your only defense might be if an unauthorized person took your vehicle and caused the damage. If you voluntarily let this person use your car, I suggest that you read your insurance policy carefully to make sure that the driver who caused the accident was covered while driving your vehicle. Also, did the driver have his or her own coverage? If not why not?

If you are sued, then I suggest that you worry less about what speculative defense you could assert and contact your insurer if you have one. The insurer has a duty to tender a defense.

Since you are in PA, know that PA is a comparative fault jurisdiction. So PA compares the fault of the 2 drivers. If the person suing you is more than 51% at fault, they cannot recover. If they are less than 51% at fault then their damages can be reduced by whatever percentage by which they were at fault. Regarding liability, you would be responsible for any property damage and any personal injury. Property damage is fairly easy - it is what it is - but the real defense will be in the personal injury claim. The person suing will claim they had more extensive bodily injury and you will claim that they did not. This will require medical evidence to document the condition. You also can join by way of cross claims the person who was driving. However, if this person has few assets, then you are not going to succeed in recovering very much. You will still be liable.

Your insurer would have a a duty to pay up to the limits of your policy. I don't know if you even have insurance let alone what the limits of any policy would be. If this was a bad accident with death or serious bodily injury, the claims may exceed policy limits in which case you should think about getting your own lawyer. If any claims would be covered by your policy then you do not and can rely on the insurer's attorney.

PA only gives you 20 days to file an answer. I suggest that if you have been sued that you contact your insurer immediately and send them the complaint or take it to the lawyer that they provide for you.

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