I got a summons of body injury claim at last Sunday and right now I just worried about if the judge decides the case is all liability of my fault . What should I do next ? I am just a college student and of course don't have that much money to pay out the amount of my insurance coverage exceed . Do I really need to worried that ? Thank you all the lawyers can take out some of your valuable time to ask my question !
Your ins co should have discussed this with you. Have they made settlement offers? How many people were injured and are making claims against you. If you have no real assets, the pltfs will likely not want to sue and go trial in that case. If the case against you is worth more than your ins co thinks it is worth, and they have a chance to settle w/in your policy limit, and dont, and you are hit with a large verdict, you may have a basis for suing your company. You should consider consulting with an atty. You will unfortunatly need to pay an hourly rate for such help.
In a personal injury case, either side, the plaintiff or defendant, has the right to go to a jury trial. Even if a plaintiff makes a $500,000 settlement demand ultimately a jury has the legal obligation to determine how much compensation a person should get. So don't worry about a demand in the beginning of the case. Your insurance company will hire a lawyer who will defend you. You have the right to ask your lawyer every question you can conceive of regarding his opinion on the value of the case.
An important thing you should know: simply because a plaintiff makes a large demand does not mean he/she will get it. There will always be some negotiation and most cases end up with an agreed-upon settlement within the policy limits.
Your own insurance company will assign defense counsel, and he/she will explain this to you. Usually cases settle within policy limits if you have no additional assets and the injuries do not warrant additional damages. Ultimately, if worse comes to worse, a bankruptcy may be required but that is well down the road... All the best.
Based on your facts, I think it is too early to get worried. Just because the claim is for more than your policy does not mean that that is what the case is worth. And as one of the others pointed out, you really don't have much to worry about if you have no assets, because in that situation, the other side will most likely settle with your insurance carrier. Your insurance carrier should have discussed this with you, and if you have already been sued, I would suggest that you discuss this with the attorney that the insurance company has representing you.
It might be worth your time and a few hundred dollars to hire your own attorney to review this case with regard to your potential exposure to excess liability--meaning, the possibility that you could owe more money above your policy limit. If your attorney thinks there is exposure, you may want to demand that your insurance carrier tender (offer to pay) the policy limits to protect you. If they refuse, and you end up owing money above your policy, there is a potential bad faith claim against the carrier. An experienced personal injury attorney could look at your case, and depending on how complicated it is, should be able to advise you with regard to excess liabilty with a few hours of work. Good luck.
You neglected to mention what type of bodily injury claim as all injury claims are not generated by auto accidents. Assuming it is an auto accident and you are insured, then you should speak with your insurance company and/or the attorney assigned to handle the defense of your claim. Either should be able to give you a good idea if the value of the claim will exceed the policy limits. If it does, your insurance company and your lawyer will try their best to get you out of the case for the 60K policy limit or less. If it is more, then the plaintiff will have to obtain a judgement against you which they can pursue you for. You should talk to your insurance company and your lawyers. Good luck.
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