at fault in accident
Started by oops.myfault , Oct 23 2013 10:07 AM
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4 replies to this topic
Posted 23 October 2013 - 10:07 AM
I was in a rear ending accident in May 2012. The police officer on the scene reported that It was my fault. The officer advised me not to talk to the person in the other car so I did not know if they were hurt. I did not follow up with my insurance company for about 6 months. I got a letter last week from the other guys attorney asking for my policy limits. they are $100,00/300,000. my question is whether or not I should willingly give them my limits? I want to protect myself legally but I am afraid if I turn over my limits they might sue me personally. We are not poor (we have a decent retirement) but we will be devastated if we are sued for more than the limits. Should I give my insurance company permission to turn over my limits?
Posted 23 October 2013 - 10:35 AM
If you have not contacted your insurer yet, do it now! If you have, call the assigned adjuster and speak with them. Even if the other party does settle with your insurer, it's possible that they can sue you anyway. You are under no obligation to have any contact with any attorney purporting to represent the other party. Consult local counsel.
Posted 23 October 2013 - 11:04 AM
To learn more about this subject matter, you may be interested in visiting the Accidents and Injures Center and reading Car Accidents as a good resource. If you need further clarification on your specific situation, you may consider consulting with a local Car Accidents Lawyer .
Posted 23 October 2013 - 01:14 PM
I was in a rear ending accident in May 2012.
I assume you were driving the car that rear ended the other car.
The police officer on the scene reported that It was my fault.
Did the officer witness the accident?
The officer advised me not to talk to the person in the other car so I did not know if they were hurt.
"Person" is a singular noun. "They" is a plural pronoun. Are we talking about one person or more than one person?
I did not follow up with my insurance company for about 6 months.
What do you mean by "follow up"? Did you notify your insurer about the accident within a few days after it occurred? Or did you mean that you never even did that?
I got a letter last week from the other guys attorney asking for my policy limits. they are $100,00/300,000. my question is whether or not I should willingly give them my limits?
Your question calls for legal advice, and we can't do this. However, consider the following: First, while you didn't identify your state, as far as I know, every state requires that motorists involved in an accident exchange various pieces of information, including the identity of their insurers (and, possibly, also their policy numbers). Do you have any reason to believe that your insurer would not provide information about your policy limits to the other driver's attorney? Second, that the other driver has retained counsel is probably not good news. It may mean that a lawsuit is coming. In a lawsuit, your policy and information about your limits is required to be disclosed. Third, why would you consider not providing this information?
I want to protect myself legally but I am afraid if I turn over my limits they might sue me personally.
I see no logic in this statement (except to say that it's obvious that "they" might sue you). You will be sued if the other driver (either on his/her own or through counsel) cannot negotiate a satisfactory settlement with you or your insurer. Many personal injury attorneys will believe that a client isn't going to recover anything more than the other driver's insurance limits. Filing a lawsuit is an expensive proposition for a personal injury lawyer. In many cases, a personal injury lawyer will be better off negotiating a settlement than suing. Why do you think providing information about your policy limits might make it more likely that you'll get sued?
We are not poor (we have a decent retirement) but we will be devastated if we are sued for more than the limits.
I'm not sure who "we" are or what you mean by "a decent retirement." You should be aware that, even if you are sued for more than you policy limit, that doesn't necessarily mean the plaintiff will get a judgment for more than the limit. Also, just about any federally-guaranteed retirement benefit is exempt from enforcement of an ordinary civil money judgment.
Should I give my insurance company permission to turn over my limits?
Your insurer does not need your permission to disclose your policy limits. Here are a few more things you should be aware of:
1. Your insurer has a duty to pay for a lawyer to defend you -- even if the plaintiff(s) seek(s) more than your policy limits. The cost of paying for a lawyer does not count against your policy limits.
2. Your insurer has a duty to try and settle claims against you within policy limits. If it appears that it will be unlikely to do so, it must notify you in writing.
3. You have a duty to notify your insurer of any claims or potential claims against you within a reasonable time after you become aware of them. If you didn't let your insurer know what's going on shortly after the accident occurred, you should do so now. Your failure to do so could give the insurer an argument that it is now not obligated to defend or idemnify you, but that would require a showing that your failure to notify prejudiced the insurer, and it's fairly tough to make such a showing. If you did notify your insurer, then you should be fine, but you should update your insurer and provide a copy of the letter you received.
Even if the other party does settle with your insurer, it's possible that they can sue you anyway.
I agree that it's possible, but that's only because anyone can sue anyone for anything. If a third party liability insurer settles a tort claim against the insured, the insurer has a virtually absolute duty to obtain a release of all claim the claimant has against the insured. If the claimant were then to sue the insured anyway, that release would provide an absolute defense. A failure of such an insurer to obtain such a release would subject it to a rather serious claim against it by the insured and probably the state department of insurance.
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