I was in a car accident about 4 months ago, i was backing up from my parking space and i hit a car on the rear passenger side door.It was stoped behind me and i didnt see it. my insurance covers $10k for the car which covered it. and it coveres up to $15k for each person injured the driver supposably had back pain and had to get injections in her spin and bill is over $25k they agreed to walk away with the $15k and th passenger wanted $13k but my insurance said they agree to only pay the passenger $4k. know they are trying to sue me because my insurance doesnt want to pay. But they threaten to sue me for over $250k i am 19 years i got to college and have a minimum paying job. what can i do. please someone give me good advice. thank you
Your carrier has a duty to settle the claims within policy limits if possible. If there is a demand within policy limits and the carrier fails to pay it the carrier will probably be on the hook for any judgment over and above the policy limits. I would not be worried if the injured parties have already agreed to settle within policy limits.
Your statement is a bit confusing. At first you say your insurance covers 15K, they want 12k, but now for some reason your insurance will only pay 3k. By the accounts you give above you are at fault therefore you would likely be held liable for any damages over what your insurance company will pay out. This situation seems somewhat confusing however in what your entitled pay out might be vs what they are seeking vs what your company will pay. For this reason I suggest you contact a local attorney to ensure you are represented to the best of your interests. As you are so young, this could financially cost you must more than attorney fees if you receive a poor outcome.
In general, a coverage amount is the limit one's insurance company will pay out on a claim. Once the limit is reached, and only then, is the client possibly liable for the rest. An insurance company is not supposed to just arbitrarily decide the limit and deem its liability below the policy amount. Such an action would defeat the purpose of insurance. Heck, such an action would be bad and a breach of trust... maybe even... "BAD FAITH." If an insurance company does not honor its agreement with its insured, and throws its own insured under the liability bus, such an action would be considered "bad faith," and an action for "bad faith" could be brought against that insurer. However, such would only be done after the insurance company fails to honor its obligations.
Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D.
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I know this must be very scary for you, and that is understandable, but it sounds like you are in the very early stages of a settlement negotiation. You should not be freaked out as you hear numbers thrown around. Your insurance company is trying to negotiate the smallest settlement it can pay. The lawyers on the other side are trying to negotiate the highest settlement they can get. As my colleague said, the insurance company must negotiate its settlement in good faith and must retain a lawyer to represent you.
Given what you say, your insurance company might be required to pay up to 15k per person and that would be covered. Anything more than that would be your responsibility. So yes, you could be sued for $250k if the negotiations fail. But your insurance company cannot arbitrarily refuse to pay, and would be forced to pay up to the policy limits should you be sued and a favorable verdict given to the injured people.
Your statement of what is going on here sounds a bit confusing, but that probably comes from panic. You might want to clarify with your insurance company and/or the attorney it hired for you if it has hired one yet, exactly what is going on.
Given the amounts of money involved, you might want to consult with a different attorney (not the insurance company's) who can help you understand the situation and protect your rights. If you do, find an attorney experienced in handling the defense of car accidents.
In the meanwhile, take a deep breath. Slow down, look both ways, and when you can afford it, buy a higher insurance policy for the future.
If the facts are such that a person will likely be held liable for causing an accident, and the injuries claimed (as supported by medical evidence) present an exposure to the person for an amount of money that is higher than his/her insurance coverage, then that person's insurance company has a duty to settle the claim, if it can, for an amount that is less than and/or up to the policy limits. It can not settle for a lesser amount simply because it wants to save money. To do so, can be found to be "bad faith" on the part of the insurance company and if you are later held liable with a verdict in excess of your policy limits, it is possible to seek to hold the insurance company responsible to pay that portion of the verdict which is above the policy limits. Consult with a private attorney to see if there is a legitimate basis to send the carrier a "bad faith letter", so as to protect your interests. However, as pointed out, if the claims are not settled and a lawsuit is brought against you, your insurance company has to assign, and pay for, an attorney to defend you in that action.
Your insurance will defend the case. If the case is worth your $15k they will eventually offer it to the other person who will accept because you are not able to pay anything more. If your insurance company improperly refuses(ed) to pay your policy then they will be on the hook for anything over your policy
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