Contact your insurance carrier at once and let them know about the Summons. They will tell you what happens next.
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This happens when your insurance company offers to settle a case for half the medical bills ect. Best thing you can do is tell the truth. If your at fault admit it and move on. Worst case scenario you deny your at fault, insurance company defends the suit. It drags on for years. The plaintiff isn't going after your money. Just the insurance.
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Relax. Your old carrier will cover you up to your policy limits of $20,000 per person and $40,000 per incident. The $50,000 is just the jurisdictional amount that must be plead for Law Division.
This is what you do: get the suit papers to your old carrier ASAP and keep confirmation of this transmission and of the lawsuit. Make sure you follow up and confirm they will appear for you. They will hire lawyers per your policy.
Now, it is possible the case is a bad one liability-wise or damages-wise. Your carrier will attack all that on both ends and make sure they cover your back. If it turns out there may be a chance the case is worth more than your policy, they will notify you to obtain separate counsel.
Since I don't know the liability or the injuries, it is impossible to know if the $20/40 coverage is enough in this case. It is the bare minimum required by law so I suggest you up this in the future.
Stephen L. Hoffman
Law Office of Stephen L. Hoffman LLC
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Take a deep breath, this is not uncommon. Just make sure you have passed on the summons and complaint to your insurance company and that they know you have been served. They will take it from there. Make sure you communicate with your insurance company and attorneys as the request and appear at any court date, deposition or other appearance they require of you. As long as you do that they will cover the cost of litigation and up to your policy limits.
Many times attorneys file suit claiming in excess of $50,000 even if the case is not worth that much. Just because they ask for it that does not mean that the value of the case is worth more than your policy. In the event that you do not have enough insurance coverage, yes, the worst case scenario is that you could be held personally responsible for any excess over your limits; however, this is rare and unlikely to occur unless you have some significant assets.
My office handles many types of litigation, including insurance defense and plaintiff's personal injury matters. If you feel the need to discuss this further you are welcome to call for a free consultation; however, I wouldn't lose too much sleep over this just yet. 630-679-0930
I agree with other counsel, your old insurer will provide counsel for you. With such a low limit, though, you will probably receive a reservation of rights letter indicating that you are responsible for any amount above the $20,000. You may want to have your own counsel monitoring the situation to make sure that the insurance lawyer is doing everything that he or she can do to look out for your interests.
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You should not be too concerned at this juncture. You don't even have an unassigned defense attorney yet. Once an attorney is appointed by your insurance company to defend you, you should schedule a face-to-face meeting with the attorney and review everything with your counsel. Your counsel will be interested in hearing your observations about the woman's appearance in court. Set up the appointment as soon as possible.
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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. r
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