Can Someone Sue You For A Car Accident If You Have Insurance?

March 22 2024 | Car Accident Lawyer Blog
  • Can someone sue you for a car accident if you have-insurance?

    While car insurance offers protection after a car accident, it doesn’t completely shield you from lawsuits. You could still be sued if the damages surpass your coverage limits, if the injuries are severe, or if the accident was your fault due to reckless or negligent behavior.

    If someone sues you for a car accident, the first thing to do is to remain calm. Just because you are being sued does not necessarily mean that you’ll need to pay, however, a car accident lawsuit should be taken seriously and should never be ignored.

    Understanding what car accident lawsuits are (and what they aren’t)

    The first thing to understand about car accident lawsuits is that they are not as common as many may think. The vast majority of car accident cases settle before they ever reach the stage of an actual lawsuit. This difference is key because it provides clarity about where an individual may be in the process when facing potential liability disputes, and also highlights the importance of insurance coverage, policy limits, and the proper steps to take when faced with the possibility of a liability claim or lawsuit.

    After a car accident, a legal claim will begin the process. Claims can come from one or both parties involved, and can vary based on the circumstances of the crash. Some claims may only consist of property damage, while others may include property damage and personal injuries.

    Claims are different from lawsuits because claims typically refer to the initial process of seeking compensation from an insurance company for damages resulting from a car accident, while lawsuits involve legal action taken against another party, often when insurance coverage is insufficient, or when liability is disputed.

    In other words, just because someone made a claim against you, this doesn’t mean that you will be personally sued. This is where the settlement process begins in the steps of a personal injury lawsuit, and where your car insurance will become an area of focus.

    How insurance protects you from being sued for a car accident

    Though the requirements are slightly different, most states require drivers to carry car insurance. For example, Kentucky and Tennessee mandate that all drivers hold minimums on their insurance policy to cover property damage and personal injuries that may result from a crash. Liability coverage is meant to protect the policy holder from being sued for a car accident and to compensate the injured party or the party that suffered losses.

    Kentucky insurance policy requirements

    • Bodily Injury Liability Insurance – $25,000, per person
    • Total Bodily Injury Liability Insurance – $50,000, per accident for all injuries
    • Property Damage Liability – $10,000, per accident

    Tennessee insurance requirements

    • Bodily Injury Liability Insurance – $25,000, per person or death per accident
    • Total Bodily Injury Liability Insurance – $50,000, per accident for all injuries or deaths
    • Property Damage Liability Insurance – $15,000, per accident


    This may seem like a lot of coverage, but when serious injuries are involved, medical bills and other accident expenses can add up very quickly. For example, the average cost of a 3-day hospital stay can average around $30,000, leaving limited funds available for other liability expenses.

    Depending on the circumstances, policy limits may be exceeded. If this is the case, additional actions may be necessary for the other driver to recover the money they believe they’re entitled to, which typically comes in the form of a personal injury lawsuit.

    Common reasons for car accident lawsuits and how to avoid them

    There are many reasons car accident cases are filed and it’s important to understand each so that you can take necessary steps to protect yourself.

    When policy limits are exceeded

    Policy limits can quickly exceed the damages associated in a car crash. If the damages outweigh the coverage, victims may need additional compensation and could opt to sue the at fault party. Additional insurance may be obtained, including Uninsured or Underinsured coverage, which can increase the amount of coverage drivers have. Having this additional coverage can help avoid a lawsuit.

    When serious injuries are involved

    When serious injuries arise from a car accident, individuals may pursue legal action against the responsible party for various reasons. This can include seeking compensation beyond insurance coverage limits for medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering. In cases of permanent disability or impairment, ongoing medical care and rehabilitation costs may also be sought. Additionally, punitive damages might be pursued in instances of particularly reckless behavior.

    If you don’t have insurance

    If you don’t have insurance at the time of the crash, and the victim has no other way to be compensated, you may be faced with a lawsuit. It’s important to ensure that you follow the state laws and have at least the minimum requirements. This will help safeguard you personally.

    If you failed to report the accident to your insurance company

    Most policies require that you report a car accident to your insurance company as quickly as possible following the crash. If you do not report the accident, your insurance company may deny your coverage leading someone to sue you directly, and you may be faced with other legal consequences, including fines or even jail in certain circumstances. Always report a crash to your insurance company and file a police report as soon as possible.

    If there is a liability dispute or question of fault

    Many car accident cases can bring questions regarding who is liable or at fault. This is common and a very important factor that may lead to a lawsuit. When there is a question of liability, either party may enlist a personal injury attorney that knows how to prove who was at fault by gathering evidence and other details related to the crash.

    When there is a liability dispute after an auto accident, it is in the best interest of parties involved to hire an experienced attorney. An attorney can not only help determine fault but also work towards minimizing the percentage of fault attributed to a driver following an accident. This reduction in fault percentage can significantly decrease the financial responsibility of a driver.

    For example, Tennessee modified comparative negligence laws can limit the amount of compensation that a party involved can seek in a car accident lawsuit. This means that, in Tennessee, if the person who brings the claim (the plaintiff) is found to be 50% or more at fault, they will not be able to pursue compensation. A Tennessee personal injury lawyer can help reduce the amount of compensation you are responsible for, or potentially eliminate your responsibility altogether if they are able to prove that the person bringing the claim is 50% or more at fault.

    In states like Kentucky, which operate under pure comparative fault rules, drivers are also assigned a percentage of fault for accidents. However, unlike other states, in Kentucky, individuals can potentially be deemed up to 99% at fault and still pursue a personal injury claim. A Kentucky personal injury lawyer can help reduce the amount of fault you are responsible for, and as a result, potentially help you avoid being sued personally by bringing your share of liability within the limits of what can be covered by the insurance company.

    If the other party and your insurance company disagree about the value of the claim

    Even if liability is clear, there may be disagreement about the extent of the damages suffered and what the settlement offer should be. The other party might sue you to seek additional compensation beyond what your insurance company is willing to offer. If you are being sued for a car wreck and the value is disputed, it’s important to hire an experienced attorney that can fight on your behalf to determine a fair value for what is being sought.

    If the claims process takes too long

    If there are delays in the claims process the other driver may begin to wonder, “why is my car accident settlement taking so long?“, and decide to expedite the process by filing a lawsuit. Many victims are aware that a personal injury attorney can, in many cases, help them recover more money than what the insurance company may offer. If victims are seeking a higher settlement amount or become frustrated with the claims process, they may enlist a car accident lawyer to assist them through the claims process and negotiations, which could lead someone to sue if necessary.

    When insurance claims are denied

    There are times after a car accident when an insurance company may act in bad faith by denying to pay valid claims. When an insurance company denies a claim, the other party may pursue a lawsuit to recover the compensation they feel they deserve.

    Circumstances where you may be immune from a lawsuit

    While there are numerous circumstances that may prompt someone to file a lawsuit after a car accident, there are also situations where pursuing legal action is not possible. Legal constraints, such as statutes of limitations or threshold requirements, can pose significant barriers to seeking compensation, even in cases where the other driver believes they have a valid claim.

    Statute of limitations

    In Kentucky and Tennessee, the statute of limitations, or the legal deadline for filing a personal injury claim, is one year from the date the accident occurred. After one year, the injured party or other driver may lose their ability to sue you or pursue compensation for damages related to the accident.

    Kentucky’s no fault states law

    Kentucky follows a “choice” no-fault system, where motorists can choose between traditional fault-based insurance or no-fault insurance coverage. If the other party has PIP coverage and hasn’t opted out, generally one of the following thresholds must be met in order to file an injury claim:

    • Medical Expenses: They must have incurred at least $1,000 in medical expenses due to the accident.
    • Permanent Injury: They must have sustained a permanent injury, such as a fracture, permanent disfigurement, or permanent loss of a bodily function, as a result of the accident.
    • Wrongful Death: In cases where the accident results in death, surviving family members may file a wrongful death claim against the at-fault driver.

    If these thresholds are not met in Kentucky, a claim typically cannot be filed.

    Protect yourself after an accident

    It’s important to remember that insurance coverage doesn’t guarantee immunity from lawsuits following a car accident. While it offers protection, various factors can still lead to legal action. However, by staying informed, understanding your insurance policy thoroughly, and seeking legal guidance as needed, you can navigate these situations more effectively.

    Don’t hesitate to contact us for assistance if you find yourself facing legal challenges after a wreck.

    Our team offers a free consultation and we’re available 24/7 to discuss your situation.

    Call today at 800-800-4600

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