Yes, you can get sued for a fender bender. The other party is entitled to sue in order to recover the full cost of the damage suffered if your liability insurance limits are not enough to cover the extent of the damage and injuries. For example, if you get into an accident with someone and they rack up a total of $30,000 in medical expenses as a result, but your liability insurance only covers up to $25,000 for bodily injury, then they can sue to recover the remaining $5,000 needed to cover the cost of the medical bills.
It's always a good idea to have higher limits than required by state law on your liability insurance, in case you're found to be responsible in an accident. You can talk to your insurance agent about your options, to ensure you have a safety net and are protected in case of accident.
Yes, you should call your insurance company after a minor accident. You should contact your insurer anytime you’re in an accident involving another driver, but it’s even more important to call promptly if the accident resulted in property damage or injuries. The only time it might be worth skipping a call to your car insurance company is if you damaged only your own car, there are no injuries, and property damage is minimal.… read full answer
There are two big reasons you should always call your car insurance company if you get into an accident involving another driver, even a minor accident:
1. You might want to file a claim
Even if the accident seems minor at the scene, you might decide later that you want or need to file a claim. Accident-related injuries like whiplash can have delayed symptoms that don’t show up right away, for example. Or, maybe a dent or scratch doesn’t bother you at first, but when you find out the impact on resale value, you change your mind.
2. The other driver might file a claim
A handshake agreement at the scene doesn’t prevent the other driver from filing a claim against your policy. Your insurance company is there to help defend you, either with the other driver’s insurer or in court.
If you don’t report an accident right away, your insurance company may be able to deny any claims you file and won’t represent you in a claim or lawsuit, leaving you to pay out of pocket. Your insurance company can say your delay in reporting resulted in them being unable to properly investigate your claim, so they are no longer obligated to cover you.
Yes, someone can sue you for a car accident even if you have insurance. Unless you live in a no-fault state, you can easily be sued for financial and personal damages in car accidents that you cause. If you have a liability insurance policy (which is required in most states), your insurance company will likely pay for an attorney to defend you in court. However, there are certain situations where they aren’t obligated to do so.… read full answer
When Insurance Doesn’t Have to Pay for a Lawyer
You did not notify the insurance company within a certain timeframe, which can be anywhere from 5-30 days, depending on the specifics of the policy.
The cost of the other driver’s damages exceeds the limits of your policy.
You intentionally caused the accident.
If you have car insurance and you’re sued after a car accident that you caused, it’s likely for one of two reasons: either you don’t have enough insurance to cover all of the other driver’s expenses or the insurance claim process is taking a long time. If the first applies to you, your insurance company is under no obligation to help you once they’ve paid up to the limits of your policy.
However, the rules for filing a lawsuit after a car accident are different in no-fault states. No-fault states require drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, which provides coverage for minor injuries sustained in an accident. This eliminates the need for small personal injury cases to go to court, as every driver is protected by their own insurance policy. In these 12 states, you can only file a lawsuit against the other driver if your injuries are severe or your economic damages have exceeded a certain amount. The specific thresholds for each scenario vary depending on the state.
While you can’t control whether or not the other driver will sue you after an accident that you caused, there are steps that you can take to put yourself in the best position possible. The most important things are to notify your insurance company of the accident as soon as possible and to understand the limits of your policy. If you do end up being sued, take the time to understand what exactly you’re being sued for and what steps your insurer is taking to help you.
Insurance may go up by a small amount after a fender bender, depending on the state, the extent of the damage, and who was at fault. Since fender benders are usually minor accidents, your car insurance premium likely won’t go up as much as it would after a more serious wreck. One at-fault accident raises insurance rates by an average of … read full answer48%, but that includes everything from small fender benders to severe crashes.
If you’re at fault for a fender bender, you might also lose any safe-driver or good-driver discounts that you previously qualified for. Most insurers require drivers to go at least three years without causing an accident to be eligible.
In most cases, a fender bender will only affect your insurance rate for 3-5 years. In the meantime, there are things that you can do to keep your premium affordable. For example, you can see what other discounts you can qualify for, like discounts for taking a defensive driving course or signing up for paperless billing. You can also consider switching insurers to get a more affordable rate.
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