Can Someone Sue You for a Car Accident if You Have Insurance?

Can Someone Sue You for a Car Accident if You Have Insurance?

No matter the severity, a car crash is stressful and often frightening. A car accident’s potential damage and injuries can dramatically affect one’s life. 

After a car crash, victims can seek compensation for the damages they’ve sustained. These damages may be injuries and property damage, which cost money. Victims may demand that the driver at fault pay. 

In most cases, insurance companies come to the rescue to cover the damage cost of the driver at fault and the accident victims. However, can someone still sue you for a car accident if you have insurance?

This article explores the scenarios that may lead victims to file a lawsuit against you, mainly if they blame you for the accident. It also explains what happens after a victim files a lawsuit against you and how the case might conclude. 

Furthermore, this write-up explains concepts like the statute of limitations, no-fault and fault-based laws, and whether opting to settle is better than seeking a verdict from the court. 

If you need a personal injury lawyer to help you with your car accident case, visit You can access our vast directory of law firms, lawyers, and attorneys ready to help you with personal injury cases. 

What to Do if You Have Insurance and Are Being Sued Over a Car Accident

A car insurance policy aims to help you get compensation for a car accident. It also covers car accident cases when you’re the at-fault driver. Your insurance company will help you pay for the damages, including those sustained by the victim. 

 However, say one or more victims file a personal injury claim or lawsuit against you over a car accident. In that case, your best option is to get the services of a personal injury attorney. 

You’ll need the help of an experienced attorney to give legal advice and guide you through the events when someone sues you and brings you to court.

What Happens After You’ve Been Served a Lawsuit Following a Car Collision?

You may think that all lawsuits end up in court, where the judge hands the sentence to the guilty. However, most car accident cases conclude with out-of-court settlements between parties. 

However, what’s certain are the following events that will happen after you first get served a lawsuit. 

  1. A plaintiff starts a lawsuit by filing a complaint through their car accident lawyer. The notice is then served to you personally. 

    The complaint contains the allegations and negligence claims against you. It may also include traffic laws or regulations you violated, resulting in the car accident. 

  2. Once you’ve received the complaint, you can answer the claim and dispute it. You can talk to your personal injury lawyer to discuss your course of action to defend yourself from the lawsuit. 
  1.  After the initial exchange of responses, the discovery phase begins. This phase involves lawyers of both parties exchanging documents and information to support or counter a claim or defense. The discovery phase may continue until one has provided enough proof to determine who is at fault.
  1. After the discovery phase, testimonies are collected from victims, suspects, and witnesses. You have to answer questions under oath but through the help of your attorney. 
  1. Finally, after everything is done, the lawsuit may end in a personal injury car settlement for damages like medical bills for bodily injuries and property damages or a verdict from a judge or jury. 

What Can A Person Sue One for After a Car Accident?

After a car accident, the damages are typically covered by both drivers’ insurance coverage. 

However, if the damages go beyond one’s insurance coverage, the victim may file a personal injury lawsuit or claim against the party at fault to receive fair compensation. 

Examples of damages that may not get coverage from typical insurance policies include the following: 

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of income and ability to earn wages
  • Medical bills or cost of medical care
  • Death and burial costs

Do You Need an Attorney to Help if You’re Being Sued?

When you’re sued, you may face penalties and fines if you don’t build a good defense countering the plaintiff’s claim. However, through the help of a car accident attorney, you can ensure that the other party’s legal attacks won’t blindside you. 

Lawyers can fight for the best outcome in your personal injury case. They can do this feat through the following:

  • Investigate claims and gather evidence
  • Negotiate with your insurance provider
  • Send demand letters
  • Prepare your pleadings
  • Conduct discoveries
  • Represent you at trial 

Your First Step: Negotiating With the Insurance Company

As mentioned, a personal injury lawyer negotiates with insurance companies. 

This first step is crucial in any car accident case because if your own insurance company and the other party’s cooperate and cover the damages, the lawsuit case may end with both parties getting a fair settlement. 

However, such may not be the case, and the insurance company may refuse to pay for damages they deem not covered by their policies. Lawyers can be vital during these instances and do the following to help you:

  • Demand a written explanation from the insurance company of why they decided not to cover your car accident damages
  • Reexamine your insurance policy and check your coverage for issues, the limitations penned in your policy, and whether there are provisions you can use to convince the insurance company to cover damages
  • Assert your right to receive fair compensation from a car insurance company 

Aside from negotiating with your insurance company, your lawyer will also talk to the other party’s insurance company. This negotiation phase is crucial when the other party has filed a lawsuit against you. 

Car Insurance Policies and “Duty to Defend”

In car insurance language, the term “duty to defend” is one that you need to understand fully. This policy gives your insurance company the right and power to defend your business against lawsuits covered by your commercial general liability policy. 

Getting this policy puts the duty to hire and pay for your defense counsel on the shoulders of your insurance company. The policy also allows your insurance provider to decide whether to opt for a settlement or pursue the case in court. 

However, it’s best to remember that even though you’ve purchased the duty to defend policy, there are still exceptions. For instance, the insurance company may void its obligation to defend you.

Talk to your insurance agent to learn more about these limitations. 

What Happens if Someone Sues You for More Than What Your Insurance Covers?

One main purpose of car accident lawsuits is for the defendant (the driver at fault) to pay the victim fair compensation. This payout aims to cover the damages that resulted from the accident for which you’re responsible. 

Your insurance company covers most of the payout. However, sometimes, the damages exceed the coverage provided by the insurance company. If this is the case, any excess damages must be shouldered by the defendant, typically out of pocket or from one’s bank account. 

Say the at-fault driver has no money to pay for the excess damage. In that case, the court can put a lien on the defendant’s property, which gives the plaintiff an ownership claim to the driver at fault’s property. 

When Can You Be Sued?

Your insurance company typically covers the damages resulting from the car accident. However, there are instances where you might face a lawsuit, including the following:

Failing to Report an Accident

You may face a lawsuit if you don’t report the accident immediately. In some states, reporting a car accident is mandatory. However, even in states that don’t have such laws, you can still be in trouble if you don’t report the accident either to the police or to your insurance company. 

Insurance companies may help during a car accident. Just make sure they’re informed.

If your insurance company doesn’t cover your damages, including those of the accident victims, these victims can sue you for compensation. 

Insufficient Coverage and Serious Injuries

The victims and those who believe that you’re responsible for the accident may sue you when their insurance coverage isn’t enough to cover the damages resulting from the car accident. They may file a car accident claim against you for compensation.

Liability Disputes

You can find yourself in a legal battle in court when the other party contests your claims and pins the blame on you. Situations involving liability disputes may end before a judge. However, many lawsuits result in an amicable car accident settlement out of court. 

Situations in Which Your Insurance Company May Not Provide a Lawyer

Your insurance company should help you get a lawyer to represent you in a legal case. However, there are cases where your insurance provider may be unable to provide legal assistance. The following are some of these reasons:

No Notice or Claim of Accident

As mentioned, your insurance company has a “duty to defend.” However, your insurance provider can revoke this duty if you don’t report or notify the insurance company of any accident you’ve been involved in. 

These insurance providers know the potential physical, financial, and emotional injuries one can sustain in a motor vehicle accident. Some companies allow the injured party to recuperate before filing a report. 

Intentional Act Causing a Car Accident

Another reason an insurance company might not be compelled to find you a lawyer is if you intentionally caused the car accident. An auto insurance policy typically covers accidents due to negligence, not intentional acts.

Exceptions to the Rule: Getting Sued After Accepting Settlement

Generally speaking, you can’t file a lawsuit against an at-fault party in a car accident if a settlement has been agreed upon. However, there are instances where one can still face a lawsuit despite the other party accepting a settlement. The following sections discuss these exceptions: 

You Are Faced With an Additional At-Fault Party

Let’s say you, the at-fault driver, came to a settlement with the victim. However, a few weeks later, you discovered that another at-fault party was involved in the car crash that resulted in damages. 

You can sue the additional at-fault party for the accident, even if you’ve already settled an agreement with the victim.

Your Coverage Lapsed

You can get sued when your insurance coverage has lapsed because of failing to pay the premium on time. For instance, you agreed to a settlement, and your insurance company handled the negotiations. 

Your insurance company then discovers you have not paid your premium for a while. Because your coverage is lost, they won’t make the payout. The victims, waiting to be compensated, may resort to legal action if they don’t meet their compensation demands. 

Agreeing to a Settlement via Fraud or Coercion

The other party might file a lawsuit after a settlement if they claim they agreed because of coercion. Some people may threaten the other party to accept a low offer, which is considered coercion.

Another reason is fraud, which happens when you promise to pay the settlement but go back on your deal. 

Is It Worth It to Sue the Driver at Fault After a Car Accident?

It can be worth it to sue an at-fault driver if the damages exceed the insurance policy limits. 

Say you’re on the receiving end of a lawsuit. In that case, it may be because the other party deemed the insurance compensation doesn’t cover all damages. You should consult your personal injury lawyer if confronted with a lawsuit. 

Suing When Insurance Is Not Enough

Liability coverage can only cover situations included in your policy. However, there are instances in which the damages are so extensive that your insurance can’t cover them. In this case, the other party can exercise their legal right to receive compensation by suing you. 

However, one caveat is that the other party has the burden of proof that the damages, like injuries, are extensive. The victims may need significant evidence, such as medical bills and medication purchases, to prove this claim. 

The case will likely get dropped once the judge sees inconclusive evidence.                                        

Situations Wherein You Can Personally Sue Someone for a Motor Vehicle Accident

A no-fault state is one that adopted the no-fault law, which says that parties involved in an accident should seek payout for damages with their own insurance companies, regardless of who’s at fault. 

Suppose the insurance can’t cover the entire cost of the damage from a motor vehicle accident you’re at fault for. In that case, the aggrieved party can file a lawsuit against you and demand compensation directly. 

Do Fault Laws Play a Role?

There are two types of car accident laws in the United States: no-fault and fault-based. These laws focus on how people involved in the accident get compensation for the resulting damages. 

No-fault states mean that, in their jurisdiction, people involved in a car accident must seek fair compensation from their own insurance company regardless of who’s responsible for the accident. 

In a no-fault state, you don’t need to know who is at fault before you get compensated for damages. Your insurance and the other driver’s insurance company pay for the damages. 

Suppose the damage is extensive and exceeds the coverage of an insurance policy. In that case, the victim may file a lawsuit to demand that the at-fault driver pay the damages not covered by the insurance company. 

In fault-based states, the person liable to pay damages is the one who caused the auto accident. The determination uses negligence as the basis to pinpoint who caused the crash. 

In a fault-based state, filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver is a certain option to demand compensation for damages. The outcome of these lawsuits typically ends in an out-of-court settlement between the parties involved. 

The Statute of Limitations on Car Accident Lawsuits

The statute of limitation is a time limit to file a car accident lawsuit. This time limit varies from state to state, but it’s typically between two to six years after the car accident.  

If the victim doesn’t meet this filing deadline, the courts may not accept the lawsuit anymore. So, if you’re involved in a car accident, it’s best that you get the assistance of a personal injury lawyer to help you file a case or claim. 

Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations

Like many statutes in the United States, there’s always an exception. In the case of statute of limitations, most states grant exceptions but only for special circumstances like the following:

  • You left the state for any length of time after the car accident occurred.
  • You were a minor at the time of the car crash.
  • The other party involved in a car crash was mentally incapacitated at the time of the accident. 

What if You Were Also Injured in the Car Accident?

If you’re also injured in a car accident, your insurance company must cover it if your insurance policy allows. However, if you need to file a claim or lawsuit, you’ll need the help of a personal injury lawyer. 

A personal injury lawyer can help build your case by collecting medical expenses, getting a copy of a police report, and helping you file your insurance claim. 

Filing an Uninsured Motorist Claim

Sometimes, one may get involved in an accident where the at-fault party is uninsured. In this case, insurance companies provide uninsured motorist insurance coverage to handle this situation. 

You may need to talk to your insurance provider about uninsured motorist coverage and its policy limits. However, in most cases, the following can be covered by this kind of insurance coverage:

  • If the driver at fault doesn’t have any liability insurance
  • If the at-fault driver commits a hit-and-run offense
  • If the at-fault driver’s insurance company denies coverage or goes bankrupt

However, this coverage may not include all of your expenses. One may file a lawsuit against the driver at fault to get compensation. 

How to Prove Fault and Liability After a Car Accident

Negligence is the primary way to determine who is at fault or liable in a car accident. Negligence is being careless, injuring others, or destroying or damaging their property. In most cases, the police or an insurance adjuster can help determine who is at fault and direct the claims and lawsuits. 

Can You File for Damages Even if You Were Partially at Fault for the Accident?

You can file for damages even if you were partly responsible for the car accident under states with comparative negligence laws. 

This law states that people found responsible for the car crash are liable for how much of their own negligence contributed to the accident.

If you were found to be more responsible for the accident, you may receive a smaller compensation. 

Common Reasons for Car Accident Lawsuits

The following are typical reasons people file lawsuits against someone who caused a car accident: 

  • The party at fault doesn’t have any insurance. As mentioned, a faster recourse to get compensation for damages is to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver to demand fair compensation. Such is especially true if the victim’s insurance policy doesn’t cover the damages.
  • The party at fault’s insurance coverage isn’t enough to cover the cost of damage. A lawsuit can force the at-fault driver to pay the remainder of the damages not covered by insurance out of their pocket.
  • If the insurance claims take too long and the deadline to file a lawsuit is nearing. The victim may decide to sue you rather than risk not doing so, especially if the expiration of the statute of limitation approaches. 

What This Means for You: Tort Coverage and Lawsuits

Tort insurance coverage is a system where the at-fault driver is held responsible for paying any damages for the accident they’ve caused and puts them in a position where they can be sued in court accordingly. 

However, there are two types of tort coverage. The victim’s ability to file a lawsuit against an at-fault driver depends on their insurance coverage. 

Filing a lawsuit against an at-fault driver may be difficult without limited tort coverage. 

However, if they have full tort coverage, they can sue and demand fair compensation for physical and economic damage, including damages caused by pain and suffering. 

What Happens if You Lose a Motor Vehicle Accident Lawsuit?

When you get charged with a car accident lawsuit, you can elevate your case to the courts if you don’t opt for an out-of-court settlement. 

However, you risk losing when a judge or jury tries your case. You lose a car accident lawsuit if the following happens:

  • You failed to convince the jury that you were not liable for the accident and couldn’t prove that the other party involved was the person at fault. 
  • You failed to convince the judge or jury that your injuries are due to the car accident and, thus, the responsibility of the other driver. 
  • You can’t counter or refute the counterarguments of the other party about your responsibility for causing the accident.
  • You didn’t file a car accident lawsuit on time because the statute of limitations in your state has already expired.

When you lose a car accident lawsuit, you may face paying the entire damages sustained by the victim of the car accident that you’ve caused. Say your liability insurance coverage can’t pay all the damage costs. In that case, the court may seize your assets to pay the victim. 

Losing a case is a real possibility where lawsuits are concerned. Aside from teaming up with competent lawyers, you must find capable nurses or doctors to help in these situations. 

Being Sued in a Car Accident: What’s the Difference Between a Settlement and a Judgment?

A settlement is a voluntary yet binding agreement between two or more parties involved in a car accident. 

The agreement may include payments and other compensations that the victims demanded and negotiated with you. Settlements typically happen out of court and without judicial intervention

A judgment or verdict is a decision handed down by a judge or jury in court or a hearing. A verdict happens after all evidence is submitted and reviewed by the judge. 

Is It Better to Settle?

Suppose you’re the at-fault driver, and the evidence is overwhelmingly against you. In that case, a settlement may be the best action. 

However, legal action may be the best option if you’re the victim and the at-fault driver proves uncooperative and, in some cases, bent on disputing your claims.

How Long Does It Take to Reach a Settlement?

A settlement is a back-and-forth communication between parties involved in a car accident. The time to settle depends entirely on when all parties agree on something. 

There are instances where parties reach an impasse, where negotiations bog down. If this is the case, a settlement discussion takes longer than usual. 

A settlement discussion is a delicate situation where you should tread carefully for the best outcome. If you find it difficult to handle these negotiations, hire a personal injury lawyer to represent you during these meetings. 

You can visit and find law firms and lawyers focused on personal injury cases. Some firms may provide free case evaluations and even a free consultation, which you can check out using our massive directory of legal professionals in the United States. 


  1. No fault
  2. No-Fault Car Insurance & Legal Compensation
  3. What Is Negligence?
  4. How Does Tort Insurance Work? Full vs. Limited

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