Can I Lose My House Due to an At-Fault Car Accident?

Can I Lose My House Due to an At-Fault Car Accident?

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Can I Lose My House Due to an At-Fault Car Accident?

A car accident can happen in the blink of an eye. And when it does, your life can be turned upside down. You may be faced with expensive medical bills, lost wages, and the pain and suffering caused by your injuries. If you've been in a car accident, Morgan & Morgan can help.  
We've been handling all types of car accident claims for decades and know how to protect your rights. Insurance companies are not on your side—but we are.

Contact Morgan & Morgan today to schedule a free case evaluation.

Fault vs. At-Fault States

When it comes to car accidents, there is such a thing as "at-fault" and "no-fault" states. But what exactly does that mean? How does it affect you if you're in an accident? Can you lose your house if you’re in an accident in a fault state and you were responsible?

How At-Fault States Work

In an at-fault state, if you cause an accident, your insurance company will be responsible for paying the damages and injuries of the other drivers involved up to your policy limit. If the damages exceed your policy limit, you will be responsible for paying the difference. If you cause an accident and you don't have insurance, or if your insurance isn't enough to cover the damages, you will be liable for paying the entire amount out of pocket. This could end up costing you many thousands of dollars—even if you don't have significant injuries yourself.

That's why it's so important to have adequate car insurance coverage in an at-fault state. You should always make sure you have enough coverage to protect yourself financially in case you do cause an accident. If you're found to be at fault in an accident, your premiums will likely go up as well.

How No-Fault States Work

No-fault states work a little differently. In these states, each driver is responsible for their own damages and injuries regardless of who caused the accident. So, if you're in an accident, your own insurance company will pay for your damages and injuries up to your policy limit—even if you were at fault.

There are some exceptions to this rule, though. In some no-fault states, drivers can still sue the at-fault driver if they have significant injuries or economic losses (such as lost wages). And even in states where drivers can't sue, they may still be able to file a claim with their insurer for pain and suffering if they have severe injuries.

The Consequences of an At-Fault Accident

Being involved in a car accident is always a stressful event, but it can be especially overwhelming if you discover that the accident was your fault. Not only do you have to deal with the damages to your vehicle and possibly injuries to yourself or your passengers, but you may also be facing legal consequences. Here's what you need to know about at-fault accidents.

Consequences for Your Insurance

One of the immediate consequences of an at-fault accident is an increase in your insurance rates. Your insurance company will likely raise your rates or even drop your coverage altogether if they determine that you're a high-risk driver. This is because they will expect to pay out more in claims for accidents that are determined to be your fault. If you're dropped by your insurance company, it can be difficult to find new coverage, as many insurers will refuse to cover drivers with a history of at-fault accidents.

Consequences for Your Driving Record

In addition to affecting your insurance rates, an at-fault accident will also go on your driving record. Having an at-fault accident on your driving record will make it more difficult and expensive to get car insurance. In some states, you may even be required to file proof of financial responsibility with the DMV to keep your license after an at-fault accident.

Consequences for Your Wallet

An at-fault accident can also end up costing you a significant amount of money out of pocket, even if you have insurance. If the damage to the other driver's car is significant, their insurance company may decide to sue you for the cost of repairs. If they are successful, you may be required to pay not only the cost of repairs but also any medical bills incurred by the other driver or their passengers. You may also be sued for property damage if there was damage to anything other than another vehicle involved in the accident.

How You Could Lose Your Home

In some cases, an at-fault accident can even lead to the loss of your home. Here's how.

If you're sued after an at-fault car accident and the other party is awarded a large amount of money that you can’t pay, the court can order a judgment against you. The judgment can order that your wages be garnished or that a lien be put on your property—including your home. A wage garnishment orders your employer to withhold a certain amount of money from each paycheck until the debt is paid off. A lien on your property gives the other driver (or their attorney) the legal right to take possession of your property if you sell it or refinance it to repay the debt. In some cases, they may even be able to force its sale and require you to pay what you owe.

Even if the other party doesn't sue you or isn't awarded a large judgment, your insurance rates will likely go up after an at-fault accident. This can make it difficult to afford your mortgage payments, especially if you have a low income. In some cases, this can lead to foreclosure as well.

After an At-Fault Car Accident: Do's and Don'ts

Being in a car accident is scary enough, but if you find out that the accident was your fault, it can be even more overwhelming. You may be tempted to apologize to the other driver or admit fault to the police, but it's important to know that anything you say can be used against you. Here are a few do's and don'ts to keep in mind.

Don't Admit Fault

Even if you think the accident was entirely your fault, resist the urge to apologize or take responsibility for the accident. Anything you say can be used against you, so it's best to keep quiet until you've had a chance to speak with a lawyer.

Don't Speak to the Insurance Company

The insurance company may contact you after the accident and try to get you to give a recorded statement or sign away your rights. It's important to remember that insurance companies are not on your side—they're looking out for their own interests, not yours. So, again, it's best to refrain from speaking to them until you've had a chance to speak with a lawyer.

Do Seek Medical Attention

If you were injured in the accident—even if you don't think the injuries are serious—it's important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. It's always better to err on the side of caution and get checked out by a doctor.

Do Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer

As we mentioned before, one of the most important things you can do after an at-fault car accident is to contact a personal injury lawyer who can help protect your rights and ensure that you are fairly compensated for your injuries.

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  • How Do I Know if I Am Liable After a Car Accident?

    If you've been in a car accident, you may wonder if you are liable for the damages. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this question. The amount of liability you may be facing depends on a number of factors, including the severity of the accident, your percentage of responsibility, the state in which the accident occurred, and whether you have car insurance.

    The Severity of the Accident

    One of the first things that will be taken into consideration when determining liability is the severity of the accident. If the accident was relatively minor and no one was injured, it is likely that only property damage will be considered. However, if someone was injured or killed in the accident, you may be facing much more serious consequences.

    The State in Which the Accident Occurred

    Another factor that will impact your liability is the state in which the accident occurred. States have different laws governing car accidents, so it's important to know what the laws are in your state. In some states, the other party can’t recover compensation from you if they’re even partially at fault. In others, they can still file a claim. Speak with a lawyer to make this determination.

    Whether You Have Car Insurance

    If you have car insurance, your insurance company will likely cover at least some of the damages incurred in an accident (depending on your coverage). However, if you do not have car insurance, you may be held fully liable for all damages incurred by the other party. This is why it's so important to have car insurance.

  • Hire Morgan & Morgan After a Car Accident

    We understand the difficulties that come along with a car accident, especially if you’re concerned that it was your fault. The attorneys at Morgan & Morgan are here to help you every step of the way. When insurance companies see our name on a case, they know we're serious about fighting for our clients. We're not afraid to take cases to trial if necessary—and we have a proven track record of success in court. If you've been in a car accident, hiring a personal injury lawyer should be one of your first priorities.

    Contact Morgan & Morgan today to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation.

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