If there is a judgment not covered by insurance. your future wages and assets are at risk. Additionally, they can cause your license to be suspended, even for life, until you pay. In some cases, if there is such a judgment, a bankruptcy can erase the bad effects. Before you get that far, your insurer has some responsibility to attempt to settle for the policy limits (or less).
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It doesn't matter if you can't afford to pay a judgment. The Plaintiff will get the judgment against you all the same. If the insurance is maxed at 25K, for example, and the judgment is for 100K, you are on the hook for $75k. You say, well, I can't pay that. It doesn't matter, the judgment is real. Once they get the judgment, they'll record a FIFA, and everywhere you go the Plaintiff's judgment will follow you. It can prevent you from getting loans, buying a car, and a number of other things. On the other hand, if you can't afford the judgment, you don't really have a lot to worry about. Frankly, your insurance company will resolve it and you probably won't have much to worry about. Unless someone was seriously injured or killed, your insurance will probably be all that the Plaintiffs come for.
The insurance company is charged with zealously defending you in this matter. If the claimant does an asset check on you and there is nothing to go after, they probably won't. If they do and you do get a judgement against you, consider consulting with a bankruptcy attorney for advice. Lets hope that it done not come to that.
I would see if you could get a free consultation with an attorney in your community. As pointed out, your insurance company has an obligation to protect your interests.
Your insurance company should represent you, so there is something odd about your case. I suggest you sit down with an auto accident attorney and give them all of the details. You need to be aware of whether or not you have rights you can enforce against the insurance company, as well as the consequences of the claim against you and how that can affect you going forward. As the others told you, you could end up losing your license over this, but you may also be getting ripped off by your own insurance company.
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Sounds like you insurance company will pay policy limits, and you are judgment proof for damages over policy limits at this time, but when and if you become employed, have money in the bank, and have a house in the future, you can be garnished then.
Attorney Stacy E. Pepper is licensed in all State and Federal Courts in Mississippi. He is a founding Partner in the law firm of Pepper & Odom, P.C. Nothing posted here constitutes any attorney client relationship and is meant for educational purposes only. Office hours are 8:00 a.m till 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Phone: 601-914-9219 Facsimile: 888-456-2160 www.pepperodom.com
Your insurance company has a duty to defend you. If the damages being sought are in excess of your liability limits, your insurance company should agree to pay its policy limits with the condition that the injured party signs a "limited release." By agreeing to a limited release the injured party is agreeing to take the policy limits and release you, the insured, from any from any future exposure for excess damages above the policy limits. However, a limited release does allow the injured party to continue with a claim against their own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage assuming they have any. If the inured party will not agree to a limited release in exchange for your policy limits, then your insurance company should continue to provide you with a defense attorney.
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