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I had an accident on the New jersey turnpike, I was rear-ended

by a dump truck. the...
I had an accident on the New jersey turnpike, I was rear-ended by a dump truck. the driver of the dump truck said I cut him off from the left lane into the center and said he was trying not to hit me but did and other cars and flipped the cement barrier. Fact is I was in the right lane and he hit me from behind. now I'm being held responsible for the whole accident and for all cars involved. How is this possible when I never left the right lane. My insurance said its because of where my damage is and it concurs with what the driver said. I only have 25,000 in liability insurance and the damages might be higher. How can I prove this man lied and get this cleared up?
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Answered in 3 minutes by:
7/9/2013
Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 102,950
Experience: Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

I am very sorry for your situation. Can you please tell me:

1) Is your license also from NJ?
2) When you say "being held responsible," do you mean you were (a) charged with a traffic violation, (b) convicted or plead guilty to that traffic violation, and/or (c) the company/insurance of the truck is seeking civil restitution from you?

Also

3) Who was ticketed (if anyone) at the accident?

Please, reply to all three questions! The devil is in the details, so to speak.

This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

I'm from N.Y and no one received a citation, I wasn't charged. the insurance company did an investigation and found me at fault. I have to pay for my own repairs but I'm held responsible for the other cars.


 

Thank you. Two more questions.

1) Who is demanding that you be responsible for the other vehicle(s), and

2) Did you have limited or comprehensive coverage?
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

My insurance company sent me a letter suggesting I get a lawyer since the property damage claim may be in excess of my 25,000 Property Damage Liability Coverage . I have a 2000 Honda so I only have Liability coverage since I own it.


 

Ah, thank you. Okay, now I understand what is going on. Please allow me a moment to type out the answer that will clarify everything.
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How Insurance Works
If you hit someone and you have insurance, the insurance is liable for the judgment that they other party may get against you if they sue you (up to $25,000). Ergo, to avoid paying out huge sums from a judgment where their driver may be held responsible, the insurance company likes to settle the claim to avoid litigation. Once an agreement is reached, the other driver signs a release and waives their right to sue in exchange for the payout.

Police at the Scene and Tickets
When there is an accident, the police may assign blame. This blame is not "forever," it is merely as the police assess it. The blame is in the form of a ticket. Now, this ticket may not even survive a challenge from the ticketed party in criminal court. However, it is strong "evidence" of what happened and who is to blame, and may be used in civil court to help a party prove that the other is to blame.

Thankfully, no one got ticketed, so there is no assumption that you are responsible.

What Happened Here
What happened is that the other party likely will file a claim (if they have not already) with your insurance. The insurance can determine who is responsible unofficially though their internal investigation. If they feel - and that is simply it - feel - that you are responsible and the other driver may win in a suit, they can pay him out. However, if the damage is beyond what they are liable for ($25,000), then you may be liable for the rest. But even then, the other driver would have to SUE you and prove by a preponderance of the evidence that you are at fault.

So at this point, you may wish to clarify whether or not your insurance has been told by the other driver that they may file suit. If so, then you may wish to retain counsel only to defend yourself for anything beyond the $25,000 payout (if anything). May I recommend the NJ Bar referral program - here. The attorneys are vetted and qualified. You should be able to find an attorney you are confident with and whom you can trust, and who is available ASAP.

However, my guess is that the other party is likely to simply take whatever the insurance offers them and leave, and not even file suit.

But at this point, there is no way to prove that the man lied aside from your formal statement to the insurance company. The only other way to show he lied would be in court, if he sued, and of course you hope that he does not (and likely he will not).

I hope this clarifies. Best of luck.

Please note: I aim to give you genuine information and not necessarily to tell you only what you wish to hear. Please, rate me on the quality of my information and do not punish me for my honesty. I understand that hearing things less than optimal is not easy, and I empathize.

Gentle Reminder: Please use the REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE my answer when we are finished. Kindly rate my answer as one of the top three faces and then submit, as this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith. (You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.)
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago


there were 2 other cars involved, will they all have to sue me or is this all in one claim? Just want to know what I might be in for. after I get a lawyer do they handle everything between insurance companies or do I have to do any leg work. Are you saying knowing that he had lied he would probably take the pay out?

Hello friend,

there were 2 other cars involved, will they all have to sue me or is this all in one claim?

No, either party can pick and choose if they want to sue. So it can be driver 1 and 3, but not 2, or just driver 2, etc. It is not a type of "all or none" situation.

after I get a lawyer do they handle everything between insurance companies or do I have to do any leg work.

No, your attorney's office should handle everything. This is what you'd be retaining them for.

Are you saying knowing that he had lied he would probably take the pay out?

Likely, because the insurance company is more anxious to simply make the matter go away and may not question his account too closely. If he tries to sue you, he will be examined and cross-examined on the stand for hours and every iota of his story questioned. He likely know this, and will likely simply walk away with whatever he gets from insurance. Most do.

Gentle Reminder: Please use the REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE and submit your rating when we are finished.
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

One more question .When I was hit I didn't hit anyone else, the truck hit the others. Since I'm "responsible" they file a claim with my insurance or the trucks?

One more question

By all means.

When I was hit I didn't hit anyone else, the truck hit the others. Since I'm "responsible" they file a claim with my insurance or the trucks?

This is where it gets into a grey area. You see, if they claim that you are primarily responsible, and you caused them to hit someone else, then they would file against your insurance/you and the truck, and then let the Jury decide who is more responsible, or split the liability.

In the end, the parties can all end up blaming each other and it would be up to the Jury to sort out who is responsible and for how much. But the good news is that about 92% of the time, the parties are satisfied by insurance and walk away. But it still makes sense to retain counsel if you feel you may be sued.

Gentle Reminder: Please use the REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE and submit your rating when we are finished.
Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 102,950
Experience: Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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Ely and 87 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago


Thank You. I feel a little better but I'm so disgusted how people will lie and I'm the one who has to sit and worry about all this because of someone else's carelessness while they're driving. Also I have to pay out of my own pocket to fix my car for an accident I didn't cause. Life is not fair. Can I sue the truck driver to get back what I had to spend on my car? I just want my life to get back to normal and not have to stress about this. Thanks again!


 

You are very welcome.

Can I sue the truck driver to get back what I had to spend on my car? I just want my life to get back to normal and not have to stress about this. Thanks again!

Again, you are welcome. Yes, you can. You can allege that they are at fault and pursue them in Court. You'd have to show by a preponderance of the evidence that they caused the accident, which may not be any more for you than it would be for him, however.
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Ely
Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 102,950
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