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acoentus

Anxious over (possible) impending law suit

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Almost 2 years ago, I rear ended a fellow. No damage to his truck, nothing serious to mine - maybe $500 worth of repairs/parts.

 

I asked him 2 - 3 times if he was ok and each time he replied he was fine. He looked fine, he talked fine. I was fine. My insurance company at the time told me that they asked him if he was ok and he replied he was fine. Naturally, my insurance company cancelled my policy and I found another company. Sometime after that, the previous Ins. Co. received a letter from his lawyer stating they wanted payment for injuries sustained in the accident. Apparently, they didn't think much of it, because I heard nothing further.

 

This weekend, I got copied another letter stating that they wanted 500K or the limit of my insurance at the time (100K) and if they don't hear back within a few weeks, they will proceed with a suit against me for "damages in a much higher amount" then the 500K.  They listed hospital care, wages lost, etc of around 65K.

 

Do I need to get my own lawyer to defend myself (once I get a summons I assume?) or can I depend on my previous insurance company that the claim was filed against to really defend this?
 

I'm very anxious over losing everything I have - house, retirement - because maybe the previous insurer won't pay a dime (they and I think this is bogus, but who knows. Maybe I had an accident with a frail human being and that is all there is too it). Can I be thrown into the grinder or can I trust them to defend this? I guess I'm worried that they will want to minimize payout of their money and somehow shove the rest onto me.

 

I just don't know what is possible and it is that ignorance that is causing me to lose a lot of sleep. 

 

thank you

 

 

 

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Stop losing sleep. Your insurance company that you had at the time of the accident has a contractual obligation to investigate, defend or settle. Don't be content to just sit back and "not hear anything about it." Call the claims department, get the name of your liability claim rep. Make sure he has the letters. Ask what he's doing about it. Whatever he tells you, follow up with a letter confirming the conversation. You'll want to lay a good paper trail. Keep in touch with the claim rep every couple of weeks. Make sure you get his email address and fax number. If you do get a summons and complaint you'll want to get copies to him immediately.

 

You wrote "almost two years ago." What was the exact date? Oregon has a two year statute of limitation so that lawyer may be running out of time for filing a lawsuit. What was the liability limit per person on that policy?

 

My guess is that the lawyer is some kind of "Whiplash Willie" trying to make a few quick bucks with a trumped up claim.

 

Chill out. You're not going to "lose everything." :) Your house is exempt up to $40,000 in equity and your qualified retirement accounts are fully exempt.

 

If your company settles for some amount there will be a release signed by the claimant that will prevent any further action against you.

 

Please answer the two questions above.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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27 minutes ago, acoentus said:

Do I need to get my own lawyer to defend myself (once I get a summons I assume?) or can I depend on my previous insurance company that the claim was filed against to really defend this?

 

The insurance company whose policy was in effect at the time of the accident has a duty to provide an attorney to defend you.  The insurer also has a duty to settle within policy limits, if reasonably possible, and to take reasonable measures to prevent an excess judgment from being entered against you.  You said you got copied on this letter, so I assume the letter was sent to that insurer.  Nevertheless, you should contact the insurer to confirm that the letter is being given appropriate attention.

 

I agree that you have little to worry about.

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31 minutes ago, adjusterjack said:
Quote

 

You wrote "almost two years ago." What was the exact date? Oregon has a two year statute of limitation so that lawyer may be running out of time for filing a lawsuit. What was the liability limit per person on that policy?

 

Please answer the two questions above.

 

 

DOL was 12/16/17

Liability limit 100K

 

That's very interesting - and disconcerting - about home equity. In fast growth areas - like West Coast cities -  40K doesn't cover very much.

 

I contacted the insurance claims rep - same as the initial contact. They haven't received their letter yet but I sent scanned copies via email to her. I will contact them again in a week to see what is up.

 

thank you all very much - I will still lose sleep - I'm just built that way - but I do feel a little better now. Ignorance is not a good place to be.

 

Quote

 

 

 

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Next time you talk to the claim rep ask if any investigation into the claimant's medical records was done when the first letter came in.

 

You might consider increasing your liability limits (home and auto) to $300,000 or $500,000 considering the homestead exemption in your state.

 

Feel free to come back to this thread if you want to discuss further.

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