I was in an accident 20 months ago when an oncoming car struck me while I was making a left-hand turn. The police determined it I was at fault. I just received notice that I am being sued for and amount "in excess if $50,000." My insurance has a $100,000 medical limit and $100,000 property damage limit. My insurance company requested that I send them a copy of summons and that they will refer it to the insurance company lawyers. Should I refer I contact a lawyer myself or simply work with the insurance company lawyers?
You will be fine with your insurance unless the injuries are substantial. If your limits may not be adequate, your carrier will inform you to retain private counsel.
Stephen L. Hoffman
Law Office of Stephen L. Hoffman LLC
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Cooperate with the insurance co. lawyer. It would not be a bad idea to have your own attorney. Definitely get one if your insurer issues a reservation of rights letter--meaning they are reserving the right to not cover all the damages--at which point your personal assets might be at play. There are ways to avoid that (or minimize that chance) if you have an attorney (even though you are being sued, a personal injury attorney knows this law well and might be a good choice).
The contents of this post do not establish an attorney-client relationship. Any comments made in this post are general in nature and may not apply to the specific facts and law of your case.
Car / Auto Accident Lawyer
Of course you work with your insurance company. If you hire your own lawyer, you pay that lawyer's hourly rate. In addition if you come to an agreement through the lawyer you hire to settle the claim, where will the settlement money come from? You will be paying it. If you have your own lawyer and you go to trial and lose you will be responsible for the amount of the verdict.
You purchases insurance with $100K of coverage and the obligation of the insurance company to provide you with an attorney to defend you. Your insurance company also has an obligation to try and resolve--end the case--within that policy limit so that your personal assets are not at stake.
There are circumstances where you would --in addition to the insurance company lawyer--retain your own lawyer. The insurance company has no obligation to you beyond the policy limits. If the company is willing to offer those limits and the person you hit wants to proceed with the claim beyond those limits and you feel it is likely that a verdict might be above those limits you might want to consider having your own lawyer.
For right now, immediately forward a copy of everything you received to the insurance company. DO NOT DELAY.
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Simply turn over the papers to your insurance company and work with the insurance defense lawyers that they choose for you. If you are at risk for a judgment in excess of the policy, they will notify you to consult with your private attorney. Other than that, just cooperate with your insurance company and don't worry about it. That's why you pay for insurance.
Steven A. Sigmond
Law Office of Steven A. Sigmond
345 N. Canal #1208
Chicago, IL 60606
Call (312) 756-1186 for a FREE CONSULTATION with Steven A. Sigmond, confidential and available to anyone who has been injured in an accident or hurt at work. However, a free consultation is not legal advice, nor is the answer to the question listed above or anything posted on this website. This answer is general information. Proper legal advice can only be obtained after hiring an attorney and providing full information regarding your case.
If the injuries were extremely serious, retain local independent counsel
You do NOT need an attorney other than the one your insurance will provide. Cooperate and you have no worries.
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