I got into an accident 01/12 & hit a pedestrian. My insurance offered her $ and sign a release. Now I'm getting served. Now wht?

Asked about 1 year ago - New York, NY

Jan 2012 I got into an accident and hit a pedestrian. The pedestrian admitted to my insurance company that she ran across the street when it was yellow and tried to beat the light. I hit her and she fell. I waited for the ambulance to get there and she was taken away. She also admitted to a pre existing back problem. My insurance company offered her a sum to prevent any future law suits and she signed a release in July 2012. Now I'm being hunted down by a processor almost 2 yrs later & I'm sure that it's this coming back to haunt me bc I don't have any other issues such as back taxes or real estate etc. As of 11/1 the insurance will be dropping me. Can she still sue; 1) after all this time 2) after she's accepted a payment from my insurance company 3) after she's signed a release?

Attorney answers (12)

  1. Michael Evan Greenspan

    Contributor Level 16

    19

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Don't panic. Immediately notify your insurer of the above. If the pedestrian signed a release and accepted funds from your insurer, the lawsuit that she is trying to prosecute will fail. Your insurance company will retain a lawyer at its expense to defend you and see to it that the case is dismissed.

    You have insurance to protect you in the event of an accident. The insurance company will honor its obligation to defend you - all that you have to do is fully cooperate with the carrier and counsel in the defense of the lawsuit. Do not speak with the injured person, or her lawyer or an investigator working for that attorney. Speak only with your insurer and the assigned attorney. It doesn't matter that you insurance company will be dropping you on November 1. As long as the policy was in effect in July 2012 and the carrier has not disclaimed coverage for any reason beforehand (you would have known about such a disclaimer long ago), the carrier will protect you.

    To answer your questions. 1) Yes the injured person can sue you, but 2) the lawsuit will be dismissed because of her acceptance of money from your insurer after 3) signing the release.

    Good Luck

    Answering this question does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. The answer given is for... more
  2. Anthony A. Ferrante

    Pro

    Contributor Level 15

    16

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Simply accept service and send a copy of the summons and complaint to your insurance company. If the plaintiff really accepted money and signed a release, there is a good chance the case will be dismissed unless there was some deception used by your insurance company to obtain the release.

    Either way they will defend you and pay out any claim if the need arises. Let them handle it - this is why you have insurance. Good luck.

    The aforementioned opinion does not constitute legal advice and is for general educational purposes only. See an... more
  3. Carol Lynn Schlitt

    Pro

    Contributor Level 12

    14

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I represent many pedestrians struck by motor vehicles. If we settle a case for a client, the client must sign a release before the insurance company will release the settlement money. The release says that in exchange for the settlement payment, the client will drop all claims and will no longer pursue a lawsuit.

    If your insurance company settled this lawsuit and the plaintiff signed a release, then the plaintiff can no longer pursue a claim against you. You should speak to the insurance company to see if they settled this claim. If they did and you are served with papers on this claim, you should contact your insurance company immediately. They will provide you with legal representation and should have any new claim dropped.

    If your insurance company did not settle the case, then the papers served on you could signal the start of a lawsuit. Even if your insurance company drops you from their coverage, they are responsible for covering you at the time of this incident. You should notify your insurance company immediately about the papers served on you.

    Of course, since you do not know what the papers say, they could relate to an entirely different matter.

    I hope this information helps.

    The Schlitt Law Firm and Carol L. Schlitt provide answers for informational purposes only. If this answer is... more
  4. Craig A. Post

    Contributor Level 17

    11

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . It is unlikely that the pedestrian accepted anything other than no-fault benefits from your insurance company. If she had in fact settled a bodily injury claim, the insurance company would have required that she sign a release which would be a complete defense to any attempted action at this point. Her action is likely timely. Turn over any papers you receive to your insurance company immediately and let them deal with the alleged release and any other issues. Just because they offered her a settlement doesn't mean she accepted. Also, stop posting facts about the incident. You're not helping your cause.

    Disclaimer- The information you obtain at our web-site or through postings on such sites as this is not, nor is it... more
  5. Charles Welling O'Donnell

    Pro

    Contributor Level 10

    11

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . contact your insurance company's claims adjuster right away. Time is of the essence, as important deadlines apply from the date you receive service. You have a duty to cooperate with your insurance company and the attorney they hire to represent you. Good luck!

  6. Eric Edward Rothstein

    Contributor Level 20

    9

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The statute of limitations is 3 years so she can sue you. If however it is for the same thing that she already signed a release for then you have a satisfaction and accord defense. Notify your carrier and it will assign you a lawyer.

    I am a former federal and State prosecutor and have been doing criminal defense work for over 17 years. I was... more
  7. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    9

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Simply turn the papers over to your insurance company, and they will provide a lawyer to defend

  8. Philip Anthony Fabiano

    Contributor Level 20

    8

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You say your insurance company "offered" her money. You do not say that she accepted it. If she did your insurance company would have demanded a release that protects them and you. If a release is signed there would be no further claims against you. If she files suit within the applicable statute of limitations then it won't matter that the suit is filed now. In New York I "believe" the statute is 3 years so it would seem if this is what is filed then it is timely.
    You have insurance. You bought it to protect yourself from such claims. When you get served--and perhaps even now--notify your insurance carrier. Even if you do not have the same insurance now they are still responsible for that claim.

    If you feel this is the "best" answer or is "helpful," please indicate. Since I am limited to the information you... more
  9. Christopher Michael Davis

    Pro

    Contributor Level 17

    7

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Notify your insurer immediately. If they settled the claim with her and she signed the release, then she will not be able to reopen the claim.

    Any accident and legal information provided by Davis Law Group to non-clients is for general information purposes... more
  10. Mitchell Jan Birzon

    Pro

    Contributor Level 13

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Don't waste your efforts to avoid being served with papers. Accept them and submit them to your insurance carrier immediately. If she accepted payment Nd signed a valid release, then the lawsuit, assuming its for the claim you believe it is, will be defended by attorneys assigned to defend you by your insurance company.

    The responses provided to your questions are not legal advice, do not create any attorney client relationship, and... more
  11. Lars A. Lundeen

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . As long as you were insured on the date of the pedestrian collision, your insurance carrier remains on the hook to defend you, no matter when. If you are dropped from their coverage, they still have a contractual obligation to defend you on the pedestrian incident.

    If and when you are served, simply turn the matter over to your insurance carrier. They will need to handle it. If a release was already executed, they will move to dismiss the claim against you. They will hire a defense attorney to represent your interests.

    Legal Disclaimer:

    If this information has been helpful, please indicate below.

    Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

    This ans. does not create an attorney/client relationship.
  12. Benjamin M Pinczewski

    Pro

    Contributor Level 9

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . First and foremost, take a deep breathe and relax. If you carried insurance on the date of the accident as you have explained your carrier will deal with it. Matters not when they drop you after the accident they still owe you a defense. It never makes sense to avoid service of process. Problems do not go away they get bigger and more difficult to deal with. Accept the papers and if it is about the accident immediately contact your insurance carrier and send a copy of the papers to them. If they settled the case and the plaintiff signed a general release and accepted the money you are off the hook and any such lawsuit will be thrown out. Either way, your insurance carrier must deal with this unless you don't put them on notice of the suit or send them the papers once you accept them.

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