Q: 2 years ago in Fl I was in a car accident. Wasn’t charged nor given a ticket. The other driver is now suing me.
No one was found at fault and it was wet and it wasn’t my fault. She’s trying to sue me for her deductible. I have no income other than 522 in SSI a month and food stamps, as I’m disabled and don’t work. She for some reason is trying to sue me for her damages even though i was never charged with it, it was he said she said kind of thing. I’m just wondering what I can do about this. I now live in St Petersburg, Fl but it happened in Tampa, Fl
A: I you can't convince the plaintiff that you have no $$, you have no option other than to defend yourself and attempt to persuade the small claims court judge that you were not at fault. Ticketing by police, or lack thereof, is irrelevant (unless someone is ticketed and then pleads guilty or is found guilty in traffic court). If you happened to suffer damage or injury in the accident, you can counter-claim against the plaintiff. Small claims court is set up to make it easy for the parties to bring and defend against cases without an attorney.
If you do NOT have an attorney, and end up losing the case, you can advise the judge that you do not have the ability to pay, and the judge has the power to do something about that. If you are represented by an attorney, however, you CANNOT assert inability to pay. You may or may not be able to secure the services of a pro bono (free) attorney by contacting your local Legal Services/Legal Aid office, but because of the above rule regarding inability to pay, you're probably better off representing yourself.
If the case really boils down to "he said/she said", the odds will be in your favor, but if you end up losing the case, AND you cannot reach a resolution on the issue of inability to pay, the plaintiff, in any event, cannot legally go after your SSI income - though she can try, and you would then have to take action in Court to stop her from doing so.
A: If you had insurance at the time of the accident, turn the case over to your insurance carrier and they have a duty to defend the case. If you have been sued, they will hire an attorney to handle the defense of the case. You should have no out of pocket expenses for this defense. It was a little unclear from your email if the other party is just suing you for the property damage deductible or other damages for personal injury. Florida is a no-fault state so she would have to meet certain requirements regarding her injuries to file suit. Talk this matter over with your insurance carrier.
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