Car accidents, as well as their aftermath, are stressful for all parties involved. There is damage to repair, injuries to heal, and of course, liability to establish. If you’re responsible for the accident, you’ll have to pay a certain amount as a settlement. Naturally, if you have insurance, it will pay out to settle the case instead.
But is that really the end of it? Can someone sue you even after your insurance company pays? Let’s examine this question more thoroughly to hopefully give you some peace of mind.
When They Can’t Sue You
In most cases, the injured party in the car accident can’t sue you once the insurance pays out. Usually, the settlement itself will include a waiver of all claims that the claimant will have to sign. Once they do that, the case is considered closed, and any further lawsuits based on the same accident will be dismissed by the court.
In other words, even if the injured party later finds out that their claim after someone hits their car was worth more, they can’t sue you. That’s partly because the insurance companies need some sort of guarantee that they won’t have to pay out twice for the same accident. If there was no waiver to sign and no such assurance, they’d have no incentive to offer any settlement amounts.
When They Can Sue You
So, typically, you’ll be safe from another lawsuit once both parties agree to a settlement. However, there are certain exceptions even to this rule. And to avoid getting sued repeatedly, you should be aware of what those are.
For instance, if the injured party can prove that you were coercing them or acting fraudulently, the court will certainly revisit the case. In fact, if the settlement is tainted in any way and the claimant has proof of it, they can sue you again. This scenario doesn’t frequently happen, as it’s not common for the defendant’s legal team to behave in this way.
Repeated lawsuits based on the same accident usually happen when the injured party later finds out that more people are responsible than they initially thought. For example, you may not have been the main at-fault party, but your actions could have contributed to causing the accident. In such a case, even if the at-fault person’s insurance has already paid out, you’ll still be in danger of facing a lawsuit.
And finally, your insurance limit may be too low to cover the settlement in its entirety, especially if the injury is high. In that case, your insurance will probably go for a settlement without a waiver. Then, the injured party can sue you once again, asking you to cover the remaining damage.
For How Long Can Someone Sue You After an Accident?
Much like most other civil lawsuit cases, car accidents also have a statute of limitations. Once that period passes, the injured party can no longer sue you in hopes of getting a settlement. That’s because, after several years, key witnesses might not remember the events clearly, and the evidence might be lost.
So, what is the statute of limitations for car accidents? There is no clear-cut answer because each state makes its own rules. But if you are in Iowa, you should know that the injured party has two years to sue you from the day of the accident. Once the lawsuit begins, though, it can take even longer to resolve, but it will still be valid.
The same rule applies even when someone dies in the car accident in question. The injured party can still sue only before this two-year time period ends. However, the clock starts ticking since the day of death — not the accident. That means the time frame might be a little longer.
While the injured party can’t sue you once the lawsuit has been settled in most cases, there are certain exceptions. Be sure to read about those in detail and discuss all potential scenarios with your lawyers. A good legal team on your side can make a lot of difference, so choose yours carefully.
If you still haven’t picked the best car accident lawyer in Des Moines, Tom Fowler Law Firm is here to help. We have years of experience in car accident lawsuits, and we’ve worked on hundreds of cases. Hire us today, and see why clients in Iowa love us.