What are my options here? Is this even legit? I would've thought that when my insurance company paid them they would have to sign that the case is settled. Please explain.
They want 10k from me that I don't have. What should I do?
Personal Injury Lawyer
I am sorry to hear about your problem. It is all-too common for drivers to carry only the minimum insurance required under state law, and for insurance brokers not to explain how very important it is to have adequate liability coverage. $10,000 is not chump change -- The dilemma is that you could easilyn spend that much in legal fees (if you had it) to defend this claim. I would urge you to consult with a reputable, experienced lawyer in your area, for an hour or two, who regularly defends personal injury cases. (He or she will likely usually be hired by insurance companies -- you would be looking to hire them for an initial consultation to find out what your right and options are under your state's law (laws can very greatly from state to state. You would probably want to find an attorney who does not work for your insurance carrier, of the other driver's, as this might pose a confict of interest, preventing them form being able to advocate for you). Among the questions I would have for the attorney you hire is whether your insurance company attempted to secure a full "release" of all claims from the injured person before paying the limits of your policy, or explained to you your rights and the consequences of their paying your policy limits without obtaining a release in your favor. You may also want to find out what your options are for either defending against the claim (is it legitimate?), or for dealing with a judgment against you if the other side brings a lawsuit against you (do you have any assets or income that would ake it worthwhile for them to pursue this in court?) The lawyer may also be able to contact the other side and explain that you have nothing, and that it would be a waste of time to pursue the claim against you --perhaps he or she could negotiate a very modest, realistic full settlement of the remaining claim. One thing I would not suggest is to simply ignore this or hope it will go away. Best wishes. I hope thngs work out as well as possible for you.
Note: I am licensed to practice law in the State of Vermont, where I focus on representing seriously injured people and their families. I do not practice law in your state. This reply is meant as general information only, and is not intended as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.
I agree with what my colleagues wrote but I will add one further question, who is asking you for the 10K? and further, how are they asking for it? If it is the person that you hit, they might just be trying to scare you into giving them more money. If it is their insurance company, then they might be trying to recover money that they spent. This could have happened, for example, if they had underinsured motorist coverage. Have they asked this of you in a court document or are they just sending you a letter? If they are just requesting the money then you obviously have the right to say no. By saying no, you may be subject to a lawsuit. As one of the other attorneys mentioned, make sure you get the information from your insurance company about what if anything was signed by them. You have things to clarify. I would second the other attorneys advice to call an attorney for a consultation and go through all of these things so that you can get a clear idea of what your options are. If this was by lawsuit or court documents, do it quickly because you only have 30 days to respond. Good luck!
This answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on as each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.