I'm being falsely accused for leaving the scene of an accident with injury to a pedestrian. I was not at the scene of the accident when it happened and police reports and witnesses show that he was hit by a car that is totally different than the car I drive and I do not know of anyone that drives a car he was hit by, The victims injuries are mostly surface wounds and was released from the emergency room shortly after the accident. Although I told my insurance company not to pay, My insurance company decided to settle to the limit of my liability insurance but, maybe short of what he is seeking for pain and suffering. He has a UM / UIM policy up to 250k and is trying to tap into that. His lawyer cashed the check and is in a trust account. Release was not signed yet. Can I still be sued ?
As apart of the settlement the plaintiff will sign a release from liability so I would not be concerned with that. I would be concerned with the state attorneys office coming after you for criminal charges. Leaving the scene of an accident with personal injury is a third degree felony and is a serious charge.
I would advise you to consult with a local criminal defense attorney and discuss the situation.
If you are sued, it sounds lije you will have strong defenses. The release should be signed before the plaintiff receives the funds. Then you would have an affirmative defense of "release." Even if it is not signed, if the plaintiff accepts the funds, you would have affirmative defenses of "payment" and "accord and satisfaction." if you are sued, you may also have a counterclaim for breach of contract. If your insurer pays out your policy limits and fails to get a release, look into suing your insurer.
Can you or is it likely that you will be? Anyone can be but the likelihood is that your insurance company covered that in the settlement and they have accepted the benefits of the settlement and will not likely thereafter to be able to sustain an action filed against you. I wouldn't worry about it. Sad though that your carrier felt compelled to settle at all. Then they will turn around and blame other plaintiffs with legitimate claims for causing the injustices and high cost of insurance.
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