You should obtain a consult with an attorney from your town. You need guidance. You also need an evaluation of your personal financial exposure if this case against you goes bad. An attorney can assist you.
Whenever this happens, always best to retain local independent counsel to protect your interests and assets.
I would let the insurance company play it out. They will most likely ultimately settle within the policy limits. If you feel vulnerable you can always retain your own attorney to pressure them.
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You should retain a lawyer to write the letter for you. If you write it yourself you may miss some issues as you are not familiar with them. Since the letter might be evidence in a latter suit by you against your own insurance company, you do not want them to have the argument that they did not understand the situation or your letter. Better to pay a lawyer $500 or so to get a good letter written.
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You need to obtain personal counsel to put pressure on the insurance company. Unfortunately, the insurance company is putting their interests (saving money) above your interests (obtaining a release from further liability). As a personal injury attorney I see this everyday. If you find a personal injury attorney in your area they will usually agree to represent you for an hourly rate. They will review the file and give you their opinion on the value. Depending on the insurance company having another attorney send them a letter might be the push they need to settle the claim.
I agree with the other attorneys' advise in answer to your question. Having worked for both the insurance companies, defending auto cases, early in my career, and now having represented Plaintiffs for the last 21 years, a well written letter that discusses all of the exposures in detail is important to obtain the result you are looking for. You stated that there is a deadline, so I suggest you find legal help quickly . I hope this was helpful.
Your insurance company has an OBLIGATION to settle within the policy limit if the ijured party is willing to do so. If they do not, they will pay for the cost of defending you in the lawsuit, and will likely pay any verdict. Send your carrier a letter demanding they settle this claim within the policy limit in exchange for a full release. If a jury verdict exceeds your policy and your carrier does not pay, there is a bad faith claim, and your company will wind up paying anyway. They cannot "roll the dice" at your expense, when they have a contractual obligation to resolve the claim when they can.
You may contact your insurance company to inquire on the status of settlement negotiations with the other party, but i doubt the adjuster would be succumbed by pressure to tender the policy limits. If the adjuster has evaluated the case below your policy limits, and then you're sued, the insurance company will defend you. But, as you've stated correctly, your assets would be exposed if other party obtains a judgment award in excess of your policy limits.
As an insured, you're entitled to know about all settlement communication and reasons why the adjuster has evaluated the case below your policy limits. If you are concerned about being exposed for your assets, communicate these issues with adjuster. As a general rule, one who possesses significant assets should purchase high limits to protect you.
Best of luck.
You need to hire an insurance coverage attorney ASAP. This is what the others are referring to when they say "hire personal counsel."
Mr. Davis is an insurance and business litigation attorney in Jacksonville, Florida. The use of Avvo's question and answer forum is only to provide general information and in no way forms an attorney-client relationship between you and Mr. Davis, even in the attorney's particular area of expertise. The attorney-client relationship is not created until the attorney is contacted and the parties agree upon terms of representation.
As others have suggested, you may want to get an attorney to at minimum write the insurance company a strongly worded letter. If you cannot find or afford an attorney, you should write a letter to your insurance company as soon as possible. In your letter you should notify them that you want the lawsuit settled within the limits of your insurance policy. You should also tell them that should they refuse to pay and the case results in an award of judgment against that exceed your policy limits you will consider pursuing legal action against the insurance company.
This answer is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. This response does not create an attorney-client relationship.
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