I recommend pressing your insurance company to do everything they can to resolve the claims against you within your policy limits. Make that demand in writing. Whether you can afford an attorney or not, it's wise to bite the bullet, find the money, and retain one if your insurance company can't settle your case for your limits. If you're partially ** not ** at fault, you may be able to find an attorney of your own to make a counter-claim for your own damages.
It might be a worthwhile investment for you to consult with an attorney for an hour or so. At a minimum, call and speak with someone. The advise to work with and press your insurance company is solid. This sounds early in the process, but if it is as dire as the insurance company is leading you to believe (frequently not the case), then bankrupcy may be appropriate.
While it is true that they can pursue you for additional damages not covered by your policy, most lawyers will consider your ability to pay before they would go ahead and try to obtain more money from your personally. Also, there is a good possibility that your passenger and the other party may have something called underinsured motorist protection available to them. I am not saying you should not be concerned or that you do not need an attorney to advise you, but that you should keep these things in your mind so that you do not worry too much until you are given a reason to worry.
I will evaluate your case for free. Joyce J. Sweinberg, Esquire 215-752-3732 www.jjsassoc.net Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice. It is merely intended to provide general information to aid the poster in finding answers to the problem posed. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. In most cases, it is best to contact an attorney directly to find answers to your problems.
Submit the claim to your carrier through your insurance agent and trigger the policy coverage, which SHOULD provide you a defense. Once an attorney contacts you, make sure any release of claims includes ALL claims against you for ALL damages sought, especially if the carrier tenders the policy limits to settle. As with anything of this nature, make sure you put your position in writing to the attorney and your carrier. Remember, the insurance defense counsel retained by the carrier to represent you is YOUR attorney. There are some complicated conflict issues that may arise, but the best advice is to make sure you are covered at the outset. Get that claim to your carrier soon and then go from there. Good luck.
If you have liability insurance, your insurance company should hire a lawyer to defend you in the lawsuit that has been filed against you. If justified, the insurance company would have the responsibility to offer the policy limits of the coverage to settle your claim. As a condition of receiving the payment, your lawyer should require the other parties to sign a "release" that relieves you from any further liability beyond your policy limits. If they refuse to accept the policy limits, they can attempt to recover against you in court, but given your financial situation it seems unlikely they would want to do that.
Law is state-specific and laws may vary from state to state. You should consult an attorney in your state for specific legal advice. This answer does not establish an attorney-client relationship.
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