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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
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Experience:  Lawyer
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I am being sued for a car accident my teenage son had two and

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I am being sued for a car accident my teenage son had two and half years ago our insurance had lapsed i tried to no avail to make arrangements with the other insurance company and no one returned my calls now 2 1/2years later they are sueing will they work with me on payment arrangments?im a server oi dint have 12000 dollars
Hi,

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.

What state do you live in? Also, how old was your son at the time of the accident?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I live in alabama my son was 17 at the time and the car was in my name

Thank you.

In Alabama, the statute of limitations for personal injury is only two years. An action against your son wouldn't start to run until his 18th birthday, but they're not suing your son - they're suing you. Initially, that means you can file an Answer defending the case based on the fact that the statute of limitations has expired. Ala Code, Section 6-2-38.

If they can somehow establish a basis for extending the statute of limitations, then you do have the option of trying to enter a settlement where you make monthly payments. To win at trial, they have to show that you knew or had reason to know that your son was likely to use the car in a manner that presented an unreasonable risk of harm because of his age. It's hard to argue that a parent should know that all 17 year olds are not fit to drive, because the law has set the driving age to allow him to drive. There would have to be some other evidence that he wasn't fit to drive, unless he was unlicensed and you gave him the car, anyway. A parent is not automatically liable for accidents caused by a child.

Also, if they do manage to get a judgment (which is not certain at all), then you have the option of filing for bankruptcy to discharge it. It will hurt your credit, but so will a judgment. A judgment would also allow them to garnish a portion of your wages and bankruptcy can help avoid that. If you own a home, there are ways to help protect it.

The short answer is that, yes, you can try to negotiate payment arrangements with them. Some people also might be willing to accept a lesser amount if you can pay upfront, rather than small payments stretched over several years. But you may want to consider some of the other options I mentioned before attempting to work out a resolution with them. A person should not admit liability or agree to pay any debt after the statute of limitations has expired.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

They are not sueing for personal injury only. For damages (car)saying their car was totaled

All negligence actions fall under the personal injury umbrella. If they're saying that your son's negligence caused their property to be damaged, that's the two year statute. They get six years if they were arguing that he did it on purpose (which isn't usually the case with car accidents).

If they're only asking for the value of the car, don't take their word for what it's worth. Check www.kbb.com and look for the private party sale value - not what a person would pay a dealer for it, but what I would get if I sold that car to you in a private sale. It may be less than what they're asking for.