Depending on the severity of the injury and the related past and future medical expenses; wages losses; and possible permanent injuries sustained the claim might ultimately be resolved within the limits of your liability coverage. Even if the injuries are extensive often the injured party will accept the policy limits rather than chase the personal assets of the at fault party. If the injured party in your accident has sustained serious injuries you should consult with a personal injury attorney who might be able to pressure your carrier to offer their policy limits in exchange for a full release of your personal liability. It is important that your attorney show limited assets and the waste of time and expense of attempting to collect damages in excess of your policy limits. Much can be done by an experienced attorney to relieve your concerns. At this stage it is important to ascertain the nature and extend of the injuries and resulting value of the claim.
This is not intended to be legal advise or as legal representation. I am a California personal injury attorney . Be aware that every state has its own statute of limitations; and statutes & case laws that govern the handling of these matters.
It is too early to tell. Has an insurance claim been filed? as a lawsuit already been filed? Over the course of time, if the injured person is ultimately convinced that the insurance coverage limits is all that is available, that person might agree to settle for the policy limits.
Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This Avvo.com posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.
If you have no substantial assets, the person will likely settle within or for the policy limit (depending on how much his case is really worth). In the future, if you can afford greater coverage, you should carry a larger policy.
Your concern is a judgment against you greater than the amount of insurance you have. That only happens if you agree to it (which you should never dow ithout legal counsel advising you) of if a jury makes such an award. Make sure your carrier is aware of the case and that the carrier is trying to settle the case within your policy limits. You ought to have an insurance defense attorney look into all of this, paid for by your carrier.
Good luck to you.
In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship. You are not to rely upon my note above in any way, but insted need to sit down with counsel and share all relevant facts before receiving fully-informed legal advice. If you want to be completely sure of your rights, you must sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney to be fully aware of your rights.
Your insurance company needs to protect your interest. If they advise you that the injured party is seeking monies over and above your coverage, you will need to consult with a private attorney.
Your ins co will provide an atty at no cost to you, to defend the case, if the pltf doesnt settle. if pltf offers to settle for 50k or less, your ins co should do so to protect you fropm an over the limits verdict. if they dont act reasonably, and you are hit for more than 50k in a verdict, you may have a case against the inso co. If your ins offers the 50k but the other side is not willing to accept the 50k, your ns co will let you know that and likely will recommend you consult with your own independent atty. They will NOT pay for you to hire your own private atty. At that point you can have the private atty try to convince the other side to take the 50k , or you might have to contribute some money of your own to try to get a settlement. Depending upon your assets and other financial condition, you may need to consult with a bankruptcy atty at that point too, to see whether that is a viable alternative.