Being in a car accident can be stressful no matter which side of the situation you are on. But after reaching safety and making sure everyone is all right, you might find that the other driver plans to sue you and claim that you are responsible for causing the collision.
This can be very distressing, but it’s important to remain calm. California car accident lawyers can assist and help you determine your next steps if you are sued after causing a collision or are being accused of accident responsibility.
Unlike “no-fault” states, such as New York, California is a tort-based insurance state. In a nutshell, this means Californians must sometimes take responsibility for any property-based or physical damages they may cause to another driver. As a result, Californians have to carry proof of liability insurance in order to receive and maintain their driver’s licenses in good standing.
If you have a legal driver’s license, you already have suitable insurance. Fortunately, this insurance should cover the majority of damages in your car accident. But if it doesn’t, there are still steps you can take.
Steps to Take After You’re Sued for Causing a Collision
If you are served a lawsuit after an auto accident, don’t panic. Stay calm and remember these key steps to fight back against a legal claim and avoid being required to pay compensation to another party:
- Contact a personal injury attorney ASAP. California car accident or personal injury attorneys can help determine whether the lawsuit you are being served has any basis in fact. Furthermore, personal injury attorneys can help you craft an effective defense case. Do not contact the other party in the car accident – they may attempt to pressure you into admitting fault.
- Contact your insurance company right away. Your insurance policy should include liability insurance coverage. This will require the insurance company to pay for damages, plus pay for defense attorney fees if you are sued after a collision.
- If you don’t have insurance, contact your attorney. Your attorney may be able to speak with the other party in the auto accident and convince them to pursue their claim through their uninsured motorist insurance policy.
Remember, being served a lawsuit is not the same thing as being forced to pay money. Legal counsel can help you fight back and prove that you were not at fault for an accident.
Will You Have to Pay?
Possibly, but it’s not guaranteed. The answer largely depends on the type of insurance you have in force at the time of the accident.
The majority of auto insurance policies include insurance to cover most vehicular damages. Even if your insurance policy doesn’t cover the full extent of damages, you may not be forced to pay if your accuser’s lawsuit is not successful.
To give yourself the best chance of avoiding heavy fines and payments, contact our California personal injury attorneys today.