I hit a pedestrian last year while making a turn. The weather was absolutely horrible, my side windows were covered with ice and I never saw the person I hit. I wasn't found at fault for the accident, as I didn't get any tickers from the police. My insurance covers up to $50K and according to my claim adjuster, the insurance company offered $20K to the person I hit. They are, however, unhappy with that amount of money and I am about to be served. I know that the insurance company will defend me up to $50K, but what happens if I am sued for more than that? Should I hire my own lawyer as well?
If you can afford it, you would well served by personal coverage counsel to "police" your insurer and it's retained counsel. Be sure that the insurer picks up the cost of defense and indemnity up to your limits. And getting higher liability limits is cheaper than coverage counsel (for the next time). Good luck!
Okay, when you get your attorney by the insurance company, just tell him how much you WERE at fault. You see, they are "low balling" the offer because they feel that you are not at fault. Contrast, the mere fact that you were not given a ticket DOES NOT mean you are not at fault. Generally, the motorist is always at least partially at fault. So, stop "defending" yourself as to fault. Admit you were wrong, going too fast for conditions, whatever. Admit this to your lawyer and in the deposition. The insurance company lawyer, who is going to be just a lazy pencil pusher, will tell the adjuster that you are a "horrible witness" and that liability is going to be affixed to you. Once the adjuster knows that liability is a lost cause, they will tender the policy. Oh, and another thing, it costs maybe $100.00 more a year for $250,000 / $500,000 liability coverage - so up it.
Without knowing the injuries of the pedestrian, it is difficult to advise you; however, this has the feel of a case that will settle inside the policy limits. You can hire your own attorney down the road if you start to get uncomfortable with your insurance company lawyer but I would hold off for now before reaching into your own pocket.
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