Being in a car accident in Florida is scary enough, but it gets even more worrisome when you are the driver at fault. That is because, on top of your possible injuries and the damage to your car, you also have to contend with the possibility of being sued by the driver of the car that you hit.
If you are being sued after being found to be at fault for a car accident in Florida, a Tallahassee car accident lawyer can give you the best legal guidance on how to proceed. You want someone who knows the law and can help you defend your rights.
Can the injured party sue you after an accident in Florida?
In Florida, whoever is injured in a car accident is entitled to sue the driver who is found to be at fault. And if the driver was not driving their own car, the lawsuit can extend to the vehicle owner. Additionally, even if the driver at fault carries insurance, a claim can be filed against both the driver and the vehicle’s owner. Although, in general, cases settle within the limits of the insurance policy, when they do not, a personal lawsuit can be filed.
Can I be sued even after my insurance has paid the claim?
Generally speaking, you cannot be sued once your insurance has paid. Once your insurance has settled with the injured party in the car accident, they will include a waiver of all claims by that person. This simply means that whoever was injured in the car accident cannot later file a suit against you or the owner of the vehicle if you crashed a car that was not yours.
Still, there are cases where the extent and severity of the injuries are such that a relatively low insurance limit will be insufficient. Even after a settlement, the waiver will not be included. If so, the injured party can still sue you even after receiving a payout from the insurance company.
How long after the accident can I be sued when I am at fault?
Section 95.11 of the Florida Law stipulates that whoever sustains injuries after a car accident has up to 4 years to sue the driver who was at fault. This time limit is the same as the statute of limitations marks for personal injury claims after a car accident.
What happens if I am sued and I lose the lawsuit?
In Florida, losing a car accident lawsuit makes the injured party a judgment creditor. They have at their disposal several different judgment collection tools to collect on the judgment at their disposal.
If you fail to pay because you are unable to do so, you may be scared of the possibility that the other party will sue you again to get a judgment against you for non-payment. Should this happen to you, you must understand that the law in Florida cannot impose criminal liability for a civil money judgment. In other words, they cannot have you arrested for non-payment.
The creditor may stop all efforts to collect if they discover that you simply lack the financial means to cover the payments. In other cases, they stop trying to collect because they understand that the likely outcome of their efforts will be to force you to declare bankruptcy. If you truly have no more cash or assets, the judgment creditor may stop all attempts to collect since it would only cost them more money if they persist.
How would my creditor discover what assets I have?
There are several discovery tools for your creditor to get a clear picture of your financial landscape. You can be made to produce documents, made to answer interrogatories, or required to give a deposition under oath. Once your assets have been identified and located, they can be seized and liquidated.
Is there any way for me to legally protect my assets?
You must take action to protect your assets. However, the purpose of these actions should not be about hiding them but about structuring them so that they are protected against creditors. In this sense, Florida is known for having some of the strongest asset protection tools in the country.
A tax advisor, financial planner, or estate lawyer can offer you different suggestions regarding putting in place protections for your assets, keeping them away from creditors if you are sued.