Say you’re driving down the road, minding your own business, without a care in the world. You’re looking at the pretty trees, the meadow with the wild rabbits, and the patterns the fluffy clouds are making in the sky. It’s a beautiful day in the country. You’re humming your favorite tune along to the radio, when….BAM! You slam into the back of the car sitting at the 4-way stop that you didn’t even notice was coming up. That’s the kind of thing that will bring you out of your reverie and back to reality really fast.
You and the driver of the other car both get out of your vehicles to examine the damage. There is no visible damage to the other driver’s car other than a few scratches in the paint and yours only has a slight dent in the front. Obviously, you felt like you hit the other car harder than you actually did. The driver says he is unhurt and you feel fine, if a bit stunned and embarrassed at your own lack of attention. You exchange insurance information and decide it’s not necessary to call the police for something so minor. You both go on your merry ways and you don’t think much else about it except to make a claim with your insurance company for the slight damage to your own car.
Therefore, it’s somewhat of a surprise to you when, two months later, you receive a notice that the driver of the other car is suing you for negligence and is claiming severe injuries and ongoing pain from the accident. He said he was fine! You didn’t even call the police. Why would he possibly be suing you now?
Unfortunately, this is just the type of scenario that is all too common nowadays. People who are involved in car accidents where they are not at fault may not think much of it at the time, but later realize there is potential money to be made in a lawsuit. So, they claim soft tissue injuries which are notorious for being difficult to prove or disprove. They go to some chiropractors and massage therapists and maybe even a pain clinic. They want to establish a paper trail of medical treatment and diagnoses regarding their supposed injury for their court case. Sometimes they actually are hurt but the injuries don’t manifest themselves until a little bit after the accident. Most of the time, they’re not hurt at all but just want the cash.
You may think your car insurance is expensive and resent paying the hefty price each month for something you don’t even think you really need. However, you never know when an accident like the one above will happen to you. We all have moments on the road when we’re not paying as much attention as we should. This is where having car insurance comes in really h andy. Your insurance company will defend you in court, usually with an attorney provided at no cost to you. They will try to prove the other party is lying about their injuries. If they can’t, they will offer a settlement out of court up to the amount of your insurance coverage. This is often sufficient to make people who aren’t really injured go away.
Without this coverage, the guy you rear-ended could sue you personally and end up taking all of your money and savings and you’d be on the hook to continue making payments to him until the full amount of the judgment he got against you is paid off. Depending on the amount, that could be decades. So the next time you complain about the price of your car insurance, think of how much it protects you and your money. You’re paying far less for insurance than you would have to pay if you lost a lawsuit for a car accident that was your fault. With car insurance, you never have to worry about losing your shirt because you got distracted by wild rabbits and fluffy clouds while driving.