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Asked to complete a financial affidavit after car accident

Discussion in 'Auto Accidents, Injuries' started by CincyTriGuy, Mar 10, 2014.

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  1. CincyTriGuy

    CincyTriGuy Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Nearly 2 years ago (March 2012) my wife was involved in a car accident where she was found to be at fault (there was a mattress on the interstate, everyone was swerving to avoid it and she wasn't able to stop in time before rear ending the car in front of her). The people in the car she hit were injured and received an insurance payout within my covered amount (100k per person / 300k per incident).

    A few months ago my insurance company contacted me and said one of the injured parties was exploring filing another claim that would potentially exceed my limits and that I would liable for the remainder. The adjuster was clear that nothing had been filed yet, she was simply calling to make me aware of what was going on. I have a legal plan at work so I consulted with an attorney to see what might happen next. He said that if they filed suit they could only go after my wife's assets and not our joint assets. My wife works full time and we have joint bank accounts but 100% of the money in our joint accounts comes from my income; the attorney said this money would be off limits if we could prove that my wife hasn't contributed to it, which we easily could (all deposits come from direct deposit of my paycheck). Both of our vehicles and our home is in my name only.

    Fast forward to last week, my insurance adjuster contacted me and said they've agreed on another payout that would reach the per person limit (100k) and the other parties attorney has asked us to complete a net worth affidavit because they potentially want to sue for more. My wife consulted with an attorney today, and that attorney advised her not to complete the affidavit and that if she did complete it, she would have to include any joint accounts within her net worth (which seems to contradict what the previous attorney told me several months ago). There's a significant difference between the net worth of her personal accounts and the net worth of our joint accounts.

    The affidavit only asks 1) does she own any real estate, 2) is she covered under any other insurance policies, and 3) what is her net worth (the exact question is "My net worth as of the date of this affidavit is $....")

    So my questions are:
    1) Should she complete the affidavit? If yes, does her net worth include joint bank accounts that have her name on them, even though she hasn't contributed to them? What about her 401k?
    2) If the other party ends up filing suit, are our joint assets at risk? What about my personal assets in my accounts that don't have her name on them (cash & stock).
    3) Should I transfer cash from our joint accounts into my personal accounts in the meantime, since it's all my income anyway?

  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Why wouldn't you take the legal advice from the attorney your wife visited?
    Why not advise your wife to discuss this matter with a couple more attorneys?

    Personally, as an attorney, I don't do anything UNLESS I'm ordered to do so by operation of law or by court order.

    I suggest you advise your wife to speak to at least two more attorneys.

    You might wish to be with her when she does.
    Then you and she should discuss this matter in its entireity.
    The goal being to retain one of these individuals to retain as counsel.
    You're going to sued.
    The less she says now, the better you and she will be later.
    This is how personal liability lawyers work.
    Be smart, say no more at the moment, lawyer up.

    Don't be so sure your assets aren't untouchable, either.
    Frankly, with you as the car's sole owner, I'm afraid that places you squarely within the line of sight of a good attorney.
    Yes, your spouse allegedly was driving the car you OWN with your permission.

    I'm afraid all of your assets COULD be at risk.

    However, that depends upon how good the personal liability lawyer is, and the one your family hires.
    It also depends if you're smart enough to know when not to blab.

    Finally, never say or disclose anything you're not required to do.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2014

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