Mentally ill brother is being sued for a car accident 3 years ago. Can this be right?(63 Posts)
Hi, I would love some help with this please.
I have a 40 year old brother who is mentally ill - he suffers from depression, anxiety, but he is not diagnosed and refuses any help. He manages to hold down his warehouse job and has a boss who understands him and is something of a father figure.
My brother had a letter today saying he is being taken to court regards a car accident that happened over 3 years ago. The claimant is the other driver, the 1st defendant is my brother, and the 2nd defendant is his insurance company at the time.
When he called the insurance company they say they have no records of his policy but I have asked him to call again because this can't be the case. Perhaps the operator he got didn't look properly?
I'm not sure what to do to help. I don't think he will get legal aid as he works and can't afford a lawyer. I'm worried he could be sued for thousands or more.
Can anyone offer any advice on this?
Can you start a court case relating to a vehicle collision 3 years after the incident?
I think the important thing here is to speak to someone at the insurance company. Can you go round to his, then he phones them, gives permission for you to speak on his behalf, then passes the phone to you?
Is he 100% sure that it's the correct insurance company? if you asked me who I was with 3 years ago, I wouldn't know!
In all fairness your brother does not have a mental illness, in your opinion he does but so far he's refused to seek help/diagnosis.
Do you have any documentation that he was insured by this company, bank statements/policy's etc...
Also what legal firm is suing you're brother have you made sure it's above board and not a scam.
Sorry but his mental health issues are irrelevant. And yes, they can sue three years later. I'm assuming their insurance company are pursuing it. If he did have insurance then they will find the details, if he didn't then I have absolutely no sympathy for him.
What happened at the time? How bad was the accident? Did he report it to his insurance company?
The most important thing is to establish his insurance cover.
He won't be personally liable for thousands, his insurance company would (assuming he was insured).
He needs to find whatever documentation he has from them (email?) and they can advise him what to do next.
Does he recall the accident? How likely does it seem that he was at fault?
As this may well worsen his anxiety/ depression he should also go to his GP and ask for support/ treatment.
Thank you for the replies so far. I've mentioned his mental illness in this post to explain why I am trying to help him with this. He finds it incredibly difficult to cope with tasks beyond his usual routine.
He was insured, his insurance company are mentioned on the court summons. The accident was not particularly bad, no ambulances attended and no one was injured as far as I know - there could have been minor whiplash for example but no major injuries.
If the claimants insurance company are pursuing this, I'm confused as to why they not mentioned as the claimants on the court summons?
The court summons says:
Claimant: Other Driver
Defendant 1: My brother
Defendant 2: My brother's insurance company
Some unnecessarily harsh responses here
OP, you (and he) just need to find out who he was insured with at the time of the alleged accident and pass it onto them. The insurance company will take it from there, that's what they're paid to do. If it is a scam they'll be all over it.
Is the letter from a legit legal firm?
Does he have any money or assets?
Unless he does they are just chasing fog, and he can enjoy his day in court.
Posters like Tigger are just unhelpful & vindictive - ignore them.
I'm not sure I would class someone with undiagnosed depression as mentally ill...I have diagnosed depression and don't class myself as mentally ill!
However, his depression is by the by and totally irrelevant to what happened tbh. Presumably if they have been named as second defendant the insurance company would have been notified? Does he have any paperwork from back then? What was the accident?
He needs to find out who the insurance company was and pass everything to them, if he was at fault they should have reimbursed the Third party and if he wasn't then he will have to go to court to defend himself. The insurance company will cover all those costs though.
If they pay the third party then your brother will get a notice of discontinuance, this will reassure him that it's all been dealt with.
I have to agree with PPs that his mental state really has nothing to do with this.
Also the statue of limitations is 3 yrs for injury and 5 yrs for property damage which may explain why they have issued proceedings now.
We're the police involved? Would be hard to prove the circumstances all this time on. Presumably he gave his insurer details at the time as they are recorded as the 2nd defendent. Did he give any other info? Or did he admit responsibility? Did he inform his insurer of the accident. Sorry, lots of questions
I suspect it will be the result of one of these ambulance chasing scumbags.
I think you are doing a lovely thing helping your brother!
I would do the following;
Check the letter - it should say what they are suing for ie injuries, lost earnings etc
Get your brother to contact his insurer and give them permission to talk to you - then you get them to confirm the details and what info they have
Make an urgent appointment with CAB (or a lawyer if he can afford it) and use their advice to write a letter asking for full disclosure of the case
Good luck! But it is probably a scam
This is totally normal, to have Claimant named, and the Defendant and their insurance company named.
Assuming your brother had insurance, he will be fine. The insurance company will deal with it all, and will instruct solicitors for themselves and your brother. In fact, he must let them deal with it, and not try to answer questions or reply to anything himself.
The court summons will say what the claim is for - just repair costs? insurance excess? Hire charges for a replacement vehicle? personal injury?
They can claim up to 6 years after the accident. A few things:
Was the accident his fault?
Did he report it to his insurance company at the time?
Did he call the insurance company named on the court documents?
Court proceedings don't just come out of nowhere with road accidents. The claimant's insurer/solicitors will have been in touch with your brother's insurance company first & it's likely that either:
Your brothers insurer hasn't been able to contact your brother to discuss the claim so they haven't dealt with it (they don't have to at this point)
Your brother's insurer just hasn't responded or done anything with the claim.
The claimant will only wait so long before they take legal action.
If your brother has insurance and contacts the company they can deal on his behalf & he won't have to pay his own legal fees. Most claims can be settled before needing to go to court.
I should add I've dealt with motor claims for 6 years!
do not bother with CAB or your own lawyer UNLESS brother did not have valid insurance, in which case he may be in big trouble.
Do you think the claimant has responded to one of those cold "it's about that accident you had... can you tell me more about it?" calls,
If you have diagnosed depression you are mentally ill, denying is the same as saying a person with heart disease is not physically ill.
The timeline for me was much shorter, but I had someone drive into me a couple of years ago. I was surprised to receive documents nearly a year later to take the other driver to court for the repair costs (they did have insurance).
When I called my insurance company, I was told it's quite common these days for insurance companies to delay payment as long as possible. In my case as soon as the documents were issued to the other party's insurance company, they paid up, so it didn't go to court.
I suspect this is what is going on with your brother. He needs to speak to the insurance company, or allow you to do so on his behalf. Hopefully it will be sorted out quickly.
Sorry for the long post!
Why does that come to the insured persons? I would expect them to send the scarey letter to the insurers
Thank you for the information on the statute of limitations. The incident happened in December 2012, so I would hope the claim is for property rather than personal injury as that would put a cap on the amount he is being sued for.
A few people have mentioned it could be a scam, but I'm not sure what the scam would be - he has only had court summons so far. It does look like a genuine court summons. It asks him to appear in court but there is no request for money.
Unfortunately he cannot remember if he reported the accident at the time, so I'm worried about that part. But he was definitely insured.
I think there may be a time limit for reporting an accident to your insurers so this could render his insurance company not liable?
I'm wondering if the claimant has been pursuing this with the insurance company prior to issuing court papers.
We went through this from the other side. Some plonker drove straight through a junction and in to the side of DH. Car was damaged but everyone walked away.DH then started getting back and neck pain. He ended up being off work for months, then went back but couldn't cope, had to give up his job. During this time we were dealing with an internal claims part of the insurance company but they weren't being much help and eventually a relative (lawyer) advised us on a firm of solicitors to see.
They then pursued it with the insurance company first - but it took years. Medical reports, getting confirmation of past salary from employers, more medical reports, on and on and on. The insurance company offer was downright rude and so the next step was to take them to court which they did. It didn't end up in court, but the threat got the insurance company to settle properly.
I reckon it was probably close to 3 years when the court papers were issued, and I wouldn't be sure that the other driver knew much about it until then. He'd have got some court papers through his door too. So I wouldn't be sure it's a scam
He does have a mental illness though and he is mentally ill. Depression and anxiety are illnesses of the mind and are mental illnesses ergo....
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