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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?

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

Posted

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 informational purposes only and is not a substitute for contacting an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction and obtaining legal advice from such an attorney.

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1 comment

Andrew Lawrence Weitz

Andrew Lawrence Weitz

Posted

well said, counsellor.

Posted

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 intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for specific advice regarding your individual situation. Any response given here is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response may change appropriately.

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Posted

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 helpful, please mark the “helpful” button. If this is the best answer, then please indicate it. Thank you. We are a plaintiffs-only, personal injury and medical malpractice law firm representing clients in the New York metropolitan area. We offer personal services built on the values of communication, education and responsiveness. Please understand that legal advice can only be given by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction who has a familiarity with the law concerning your question. This answer does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. If you are in the New York metropolitan area, feel free to call us at 1-800-660-1466 or contact our website www.SchlittLaw.com and I will see if we can help you.

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Posted

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 attorney licensed in your jurisdiction for competent legal advice. No attorney-client relationship has been formed through the within legal question and answer session.

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Posted

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!

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Posted

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 named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012 and 2013. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. Martindale-Hubbell has given me its highest rating - AV Preeminent - in the areas of Criminal Law, Personal Injury, and Litigation. According to Martindale-Hubbell”AV Preeminent is a significant rating accomplishment - a testament to the fact that a lawyer's peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence." Fewer than 8% of attorneys achieve an AV Preeminent rating. I also have the highest ranking – “superb” – on Avvo. The above answer, and any follow up comments or emails is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.

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Posted

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.

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Posted

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

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Posted

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 only. It is not a substitute for legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is created or maintained without a signed written agreement between the client and the law firm.

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Posted

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.

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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.

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Posted

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 are provided for informational purposes only.

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Posted

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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