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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Personal Injury Law
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Experience:  JA Mentor
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MY 21 yr old son just found out he is named as a defendant

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MY 21 yr old son just found out he is named as a defendant for a truck accident that happened 2 yrs ago. He was 19 and driving as a delivery truck as a full time employee. The suit names him responsible, but holds his former company liable for damages. What type of lawyer should he get? He has left 3 messages with the company he used to work for to ask what they want him to do, but no return calls. (Of course, he has no assets other then an old car!)

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?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

He lives in Kentucky, the accident happened in Cincinnati OH

Thank you.

The statute of limitations in Ohio for personal injury is actually two years. Ohio Rev. Code, Section 2305.10. So, look at the exact dates involved. Unfortunately, if he's been living in Kentucky for awhile, the statute stops running, because he's not in Ohio to be sued there.

Assuming that it hasn't, the employer is vicariously liable for the negligent acts of an employee that occur within the scope of his business. That means that if the judge finds that your son caused the accident, the other party will get a judgment against both of them and will likely try to collect it from the company, not your son (since the company is more likely to have money).

If he was covered by insurance at the time that this happened, he may want to contact and notify the insurance company - they should cover it. They should also produce a lawyer to help him, since they have to pay if he's found liable. So, the first step is to call the insurance company.

The employer actually has an interest in showing that your son didn't cause the accident since, if he did, they have to pay. But they won't necessarily help him, because an employer in this situation can defend by saying that the employee was reckless, or not working - essentially, they can try to distance themselves from him. So, it depends on the specific facts of the situation. Their attorney could find that they have a common interest and defend both of them. If he knows who their attorney is (or after an attorney files an appearance in the case), he could try talking to that person - as long as he is careful in what he says and does not admit to any wrongdoing.

He does have to file a response before the deadline or he'll be presumed liable. If he isn't able to get an attorney before the deadline, the way to do that is to go through each of the allegations and address each in turn, admitting or denying them (or saying that he doesn't have enough information to admit or deny them). He can then raise any defenses he has, such as the statute of limitations or the negligence of the other driver. This example has some samples of the language typically used and some common defenses.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

He had just finished making a delivery and was heading out to his next stop when the accident happened. He called his employer right away and they came and talked to the police. He did not even have to show his personal insurance and they are not named in the suit. He was cited for failure to yield and paid the ticket. The accident happened on Aug 26, 2011. My son has always lived in KY.


Guess we will try to find a lawyer.

Insurance companies aren't named in the lawsuits. That's because the person who was injured doesn't have a contract with them. Still, the insurance company is obligated to defend the insured and pay any claims that arise during the contract period.

From what you're describing, the employer's insurance company should provide a lawyer and handle the case for him. The employer had to have insurance for drivers who drove within the course of their employment, and this is something that they are responsible for.
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