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I am about to be served a summons and complaint for hitting a pedestrian, should I hire my own lawyer?

Brooklyn, NY |

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?
Thank you

Attorney Answers 6

  1. Yes, you should at least consult with a local attorney.

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  2. The insurance company will assign you a lawyer. If you feel the claim will exceed your policy limits, discuss this with an attorney in NY ASAP.

    Nothing in this communication should be construed as creating an attorney client relationship. This is for informational purposes only. Attorney will take no action on your behalf unless and until a written retainer agreement is signed. There are strict time deadlines on filing claims and, as such, you are advised to consult with and retain an attorney immediately to file such claims timely or you will lose any right to recovery.

  3. 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!

    My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as legal advice. I give legal advice only in the course of an attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by individual consultation and execution of a written agreement for legal services.

  4. Under NY law, he may go after his own insurance under his UIM policy, if he wants more. I would not worry about it for now. If you get served, then have your insurance company defend you.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

    The answer to this question is for informational purposes only and is expressly not legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship. Readers should not act upon this without seeking advice from professional advisers.

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