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Being sued by my passenger
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2015 12:59 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2015 7:46 pm
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OK so a friend and I were driving in Brampton and I wanted to turn left. I entered the middle of the intersection and waited until I had a chance, I had to wait until the light was red. Around 5 seconds of me in the intersection, the oncoming car does not slow down and weaves around another car that was stopped on the red and hits my car.

I was deemed at fault by the police and received the ticket "left turn- fail to avoid reasonable opportunity to avoid a collision". Anyways friend had some fractured bones in her face for which she had surgery for and is now doing well (accident happened Jan 6)

She put a claim to my insurance for injuries and so far has a occupational therapist, personal support worker, chiropractor, rented reclining chair, money for a recumbent bike and a 200 dollar pillow. She is doing fine now, has heeled almost completely except for a small scar remaining on the side of her left eye due to surgery.

So today i got a notice from her lawyer stating civil action will be commenced against damages. And it also states to forward it to my insurance company.

My questions are:

Is it true that since she was a passenger in my car and not the other driver that I would have to handle this for myself and my insurance wont be able to help me?

Should I be worried? I mean like she is suing for pain and suffering but so far I believe the insurance has been very good to her.

What are the chances of her winning and how much do you believe is an average amount. Does my insurance pay for it?

Thanks


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Re: Being sued by my passenger
PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2015 8:34 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 1:08 pm
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Location: Ontario
This is why people have insurance, so you shouldn't be worried if you have proper coverage. Yes you personally are being sued for your negligence but unless there is some sort of catastrophic injury (exceeding claim limits), criminal act or misrepresentation on your part your insurance policy will cover it. Don't take it personally...I've seen wives sue their husbands for the same thing and still share a bed. Call your insurance company and follow their advice.


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Re: Being sued by my passenger
PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2015 10:17 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2015 7:46 pm
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Thanks a lot for your reply, does help to relieve some of my stress.

The second part to this is that I chose to fight the ticket because the other driver did not stop on the red. I filed the application to fight it in mid January and to this date I have got nothing in the mail in regards to the next step. I will call the court house on Monday to see what is going on.

I assume the friends lawyer is suing me based on the police report because I was the only party who got a ticket that day. Since I am choosing to fight this ticket, would I then go and sue the other driver if I win the case for my friends personal injury because it happened due to his negligence?

I still speak to her and she does not want to sue me either because during her first consultation with the lawyer (mid Jan), she signed the consent to sue the person held at fault. At that time it was decided that I will fight the ticket and maybe not be deemed responsible but it has not happened because then she would go after him for the personal injury.

If she changes her mind now to sue me is it to late? Her lawyer only charges her if she wins the case. Does this mean if she backs out of it now that he will go after her for fees and penalties?

thanks


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Re: Being sued by my passenger
PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2015 12:22 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 1:08 pm
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Location: Ontario
The HTA charge against you is different and completely separate that the civil action commenced against you by the passenger. I wouldnt be suprised if they are suing both drivers especially if your passenger will corroborate that the other guy did not stop for a red.

In many experiences I have heard about, I have come to believe the following: Unless there is some clear long term disability arising from the accident ambulance chasing lawyers are more interested in getting your client to go to rehab on the insurance companies dollar (they somehow profit from this) all the while promising you to hang on for a big pay day which ends up being a lot smaller than you would think. I don't know what deal she made with the lawyer but if she gives a sworn statement that the other driver went through a red light that would seriously damage the civil case against you.

I personally would let the lawyers and insurance handle this one. Concentrate your efforts on fighting the ticket.


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Re: Being sued by my passenger
PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2015 4:38 pm 
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Nice, thanks for the reply.

She did say that the third party got a statement too. I also know that she told the lawyers that he ran a red light so I guess it makes sense that he got the notice as well.

I stopped talking to her because I am just surprised that she is suing me but she was injured and I guess it makes sense. She is already going to rehab, she has a massage therapist and chiropractor, a personal support worker, an occupational therapist, a rented reclining sofa, she got approved for a recumbent bike and some 200 dollar pillow.

Did all that come from my insurance? because before she did tell me that a claim is launched against my insurance but this civil lawsuit is new for sure. Can her lawyer not go after my insurance directly? why does he have to file a civil lawsuit against me?


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Re: Being sued by my passenger
PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2015 5:55 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2010 8:08 pm
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I would not take this personally, the civil lawsuit is to extract money from your insurance liability. In order for her to go after your insurance, she needs to sue you. Your insurance company will then hire lawyers to defend you and take over the case.

Normally drivers in Ontario have $1M policies, but you're also allowed to have a minimum of $200k. As long as she's suing you for an amount less than your liability, you're protected and won't have to worry about anything.

If however you have a $200k policy and she's suing you for $2M then you may have to take steps to ensure the settlement/award will fall below. If it does not, then you'll have to pay the rest out of your own pocket.

Your accident benefits most likely paid for some of her treatment, in Ontario if you're in the minor injury category.. you're eligible for $3500, if you're in the major injury category it's $50k. I believe you could pay more in premiums to have these minimums increased. Based on the injuries and treatment, it's hard to say which category the insurance put her in. I've heard of cases where victims have lost limbs and still placed in the minor injury category. Spent tens of thousands of dollars for treatment, and reached very low settlements several years down the road.

Things get a lot more complicated with physiotherapy today because personal injury lawyers guarantee the clinics money, in order to continue treatment. So if she does reach a settlement/award, the clinics are the first ones paid. In the event she does not get any money, the clinics will still get paid. So they have to be pretty confident in winning money in order to guarantee to this.

To be fair, your friend seems to have gone through a pretty horrific experience and has evidence of bone fractures, facial surgery and scarring. To belittle her experience is not correct, regardless of who's at-fault for the accident. Drivers in the GTA are sued for a lot less, generally psychological and minor injuries that can not be seen on x-rays, MRIs, ultrasounds, etc... as ynotp described spouses suing each other, and then sleeping in the same bed is not out of the norm. At the end of the day the married couple don't have to spend any money, and will both enjoy the settlement/award from one of their insurance policies.

I've been in Mississauga Traffic Court where the Justice of Peace accepted the other driver may have ran the red light, but said the left turning driver has to make sure that the way is clear and must anticipate red light runners. Driver was found guilty and had to pay $110 fine. Even if your friend testified as a witness at your traffic trial, her evidence would be given less weight because she's not an independent witness.

Some more information, you'll have to attend a deposition down the road. Which will be recorded. You'll be in a room with your insurance company lawyer, friend's lawyer and the other driver's lawyer. They'll be asking you questions about the accident, and other relevant questions. You most likely won't have to stay there long, but your friend will have to endure at least 8hrs of questioning about her entire life (family, friends, job, education, sex, activities).


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Re: Being sued by my passenger
PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2015 7:48 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2015 7:46 pm
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Thanks,

I am not belittling her experience, I know she was injured and is recovering. She did have two surgeries to repair her cheek and eye bone so it was serious for sure.

I would like to still fight the ticket because it was unfair when he sped up and weaved around another car that was stopped on the red. I am not taking it personally anymore because I know she was injured.


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