Question

Can my insurance company sue me?!?

I have an SR22 filing in the state of Ohio. Last Sept I was in an accident (my fault )hit a young woman. The brakes on the car failed.I stated this to the officer and insurance company. The insurance co declined to have the car examined by a mechanic although the officer said if that was the case I would not be liable. Now the insurance company is wanting me to repay them for the loss (they are threatening to sue me). I have no real property or any assests for them to attach liens to. Is this legal? Ive worked really hard to repair my credit, although its not great Im getting there. Im concerned about my credit rating and the long term effects.Is there anything I can do?Any adivce would be appreciated.Thnks.
I was covered at the time of the accident, although I only had liability coverage which is legal in the state of Ohio.
For that smart ass thats a top contibutor it wasnt a rear end collision. Two officers saw my car skate through 2 red lights while honking my horn and screaming. I tried to through the emergency brake, force the car into park, even cut it off.THEY NEVER LOOKED AT MY CAR YOU IDIOT.As i stated in the question they declined to do this. They have not even given me notice as to what they are attempting to collect the payment for.Also it is not the other party's insurance, its mine as the question states.

7 years ago - 12 answers

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got anything in writing from last year about the insurance co declining to have the car examined? I think if they didn't do their job fully about checking the car out, I think they're just trying to be the 800 lb gorilla now and bully you around. Try to find legal representation yourself, I think you're going to need it.

7 years ago

Other Answers

Not sure why they are suing you. They paid for your car to be fixed? Did you have Coverage? The reason for the accident is almost a non-issue. You need to find out why they think they should not have covered the loss. Then evaluate if they truly paid in error, and if they did, work out repayment terms with them. If they should have paid it and are now going back and saying they should have denied it, get a lawyer, or contact the state insurance commisioners office. Yes they can sue. We live in the land of the free. Anyone can file a lawsuit against anyone, for anything. Granted it may not be valid and they may not win, they can still file. Try work it out with them first. I sure would like more info on what they are saying the issue is though.....

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by Insurance MAN - 7 years ago

your insurance company can not sue you. but the other parties insurance company can. you can have the car inspected yourself out of your own pocket then submit the inspection details to the insurance company. then they could go from there. but your insurance company cannot sue you. i know this because i am currently working for AIS ( auto insurance specialist) i have been there for 7 years as an insurance adjuster.

by sherry94541 - 7 years ago

Just for the record, police do NOT establish liability. He has NO IDEA if the insurance company is required to look at your brakes to blame someone else on it.

Having said that, about 80% of the "rear end" accidents I've seen, the "brakes failed". That's just what people say. ALSO, if an adjuster/appraiser LOOKED at your car, they'd be able to tell if you have a pad problem.

I'm unclear about what YOUR insurance company is suing you for. YOUR company can't sue you for an "at fault" accident. Did they pay something they shouldn't have?

The OTHER person's insurance company CAN sue you - and it might be the same one - in which case, turn the paperwork over to your adjuster.

ANYONE can sue ANYONE ELSE here in the US, for anything. If the suit isn't legal, the judge will dismiss it.

If you are found to have to pay something, they can attach your future wages, income tax returns, bank accounts, basically ANYTHING that you might own in the future - plus interest.

YOUR INSURANCE AGENT should be calming you down about this, because YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY should be providing your defense. So there's obviously a few missing pieces here.

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by mbrcatz17 - 7 years ago

To start with, your brake failure doesn't matter to an insurance company unless the failure was caused by a faulty brake repair. Since you don't mention recent repairs to the brakes, this most likely isn't the case. If the vehicle is yours, you are responsible to make sure the brakes don't fail. The accident is still your fault.

There is something missing in this question. If you had a valid SR22 and had an accident, why is your insurance company wanting to sue you. Did you lie about your driving record or something when you applied for the SR22? If so, and what you told them caused them to sell you this bond for less money than they would have, you have committed a material misrepresentation, and they can sue you for this. As long as you were honest with them, I'm not sure why they would be suing you.

The other party's insurance company could be suing you. Most SR22's have state minimum coverage, in Ohio this amount often doesn't cover the full amount of damage. If the damage you caused is more than this limit, you are responsible for the amounts over this coverage.

You need to find out what the lawsuit is for. If you post this, it is easier to give better advise.

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by Phil - 7 years ago

Since the rest of you are not from Ohio, let me say:"Welcome to Ohio!" In Ohio, an SR22 DOES NOT always require INSURANCE, you can be BONDED to meet minimum state requirements. Many times people call an agency or insurance company, tell them they need a SR22 bond, and that's exactly what they get. People notice that the bond is cheaper than insurance and are happy, never asking what the difference is between insurance and bonding. If you're bonded, it mean you have to pay back the amount the insurance company paid out for the accident. If it's insurance the insurer eats it.
Failing brakes or not, you caused the accident, your insurance company paid out. Sounds like they want their money back.

Fightingsaints - what you say is true in a lot of states but Ohio has a web based SR22 filing system; CS can (and does) file a SR26 the same day a policy cancels for non-payment, no grace period required.

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by ernesto_tig - 7 years ago

No need to get snotty with mbrcatz17, she knows her stuff. And, yes, police don't determine insurance liability cases.

One more thing, if your brakes failed how is that anyone's fault but your's? Having a junker with bad breaks and cruddy liability insurance is your fault.

by van_at_lincoln - 7 years ago

They can sue you. This accident is 100% your fault as you drove a car that "the brakes failed". The e-brake conveniently didn't work either? Something is fishy.A cop can't say who's liable and who isn't. There is more to this than you're telling us...was your insurance expired? Was your license suspended?

by shelcom - 7 years ago

i PA if you had just Liabilty that covers the other person's damages but none of yours- collision would cover your vehicle

unsure why they would pay to fix your vehicle with just liabilty again from PA -
as I am unfamiliar with a SR22

by butch - 7 years ago

OK you are getting a lot of people guessing at this one. They are logical guesses, but I think they are inaccurate.

Please allow me to take a crack at this one. I have handled claims where the Non-Standard (High Risk) insurance company went after their insured for reimbursement after paying out on a SR22 policy.

In most cases where your own company comes to you for reimbursement under an SR22 policy it means that the policy was in a lapsed status. Many states require insurance companies to provide SR22 coverage for an extended time past the premium due date. Most of the time it is a short time frame. 3 to 10 days. That is where the catch comes in. If you are late in paying your premium and are involved in accident between the premium due date and the end of the extended coverage period you get to pay your company back for any liability claims they paid due to your negligence.

I bet if you checked with your insurance company that is what the deal is here. Check with them to be sure since I don't have all the information on your particular claim.

If by some chance I am correct about this. They do have the right to come back to you for reimbursement and that does include suing you. I strongly advise that you try to work out some type of compromised settlement with them and see if they will accept monthly payments. ( I have done this many times.) If you can come to an agreement with them before a lawsuit is filed then they will not be able to get a judgment against you. The judgment is what can screw up your credit.

Now on to the brakes. As another poster stated the brakes failing is ONLY an issue if you just had the brakes serviced prior to the accident and the shop screwed up. Otherwise, you alone are responsible for the condition of the brakes.

So unless you just had the brakes serviced you are liable for this reimbursement. Sorry.

Good Luck

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by fightingsaints - 7 years ago

Even when the brakes fail, you are still at fault. It's the operator's (driver) responsibility to make sure a car is in safe, working order, so you are responsible for making sure the brakes work. Basically, I'm saying that because it was you who caused the accident, you are liable even if the accident was due to some sort of mechanical failure.

I do agree with the previous commenter that the cop had no business telling you that you might not be liable. That's not his place to do so. That decision isn't up to him.

You need to contact your insurance company - if nothing else, contact your local agent. Ask them to explain exactly WHY the company wants you to repay the money. As long as it was a legitimate claim, they shouldn't want their money back, and you deserve an explanation about WHY they do. If it's a very large amount of money, it might be that they'll be willing to work with you on a payment arrangement, if it's determined that you do indeed owe the money back.

If at any time you aren't getting the answers you need from your insurance company, by all means contact an attorney. Attorneys seem to love to go after big insurance companies, and you may be able to get one to take your case for a reasonable fee. It never hurts to ask, right?

Regardless, good luck!

by Christie - 7 years ago

On the face of it, what your policy covers is Bodily Injury or Property Damage arising from injury or damage which is both sudden and accidental, meaning that you did not intend for the damage or injury to occur. Although the policy won't say it, what is being insured here is your "negligence." Negligence, alas, is determined by the courts, but if there is little doubt of how the courts would rule, the insurance company intervenes to pay the injured party on your behalf.

Therefore, unless some specific exclusion applies (such as using the vehicle in the commission of a felony when the accident occurred) YOU'RE COVERED, period, end of paragraph.

My guess is that the denial may hinge on the "sudden and accidental" part. Thus, if the insurance company believes the conditon of the brakes was the result of your KNOWINGLY ignoring a problem with them, the accident may no longer meet the "sudden" test.

But that's a very thin argument and will not stand up in court. Other matters will need to come in to play. Were you drunk? I'm not saying that you were -I'm digging for some logical reason they might have to ask for their money back. Can you think of any circumstances that might have a bearing on it?

In any event, the company is going to be required to show good cause why you should repay them, if not to you, then to a court. You can't sue without a reason. Meanwhile, contact your agent or the claims department -in WRITING (fax is fine, but not email)- and pop the question. You may also call, but you need copies of written records and receipts of mailing in order to show that you made a good faith effort to communicate -and to do so politely -no threats or bad language, etc.

The comments you've received about "failed brakes" and rear-ending are all BUNKO. Front end, rear end, good brakes, bad brakes -doesn't matter unless you deliberately caused or contributed to these conditions.

So, short of an intentional act on your part, or ignoring a maintenance issue that you really, really should have taken care of, you're covered.

There is one more possibility: was the amount paid by the insurance company (to the injured party) MORE than the limit of your coverage? Say you carried $50,000 per accident, but the amount paid out was $60,000. If so, what the company is entitled to is the $10,000 difference. That's all black and white: you needed more coverage but didn't have it.

I did this stuff for years, so if you'd like to email me privately I'll be happy to answer.

For now, sit tight. They've only SAID they're going to sue.

by John G - 7 years ago