If the other driver in a car accident was partly responsible, do we need to hire an attorney? 30 Answers as of May 29, 2013

My daughter was hit on the driver's side. She was at the stop, (stopped) but proceeded to make a left hand turn. She did receive a citation. She says the other driver came out of nowhere and was speeding but he says he was going 35. The passenger in his car says he wasn't wearing a seatbelt, but he lied to the police and it's on the report as so. We also think he was talking on his cell phone. If he is, in any way, partly responsible, and do we need an attorney? He first said he had a mild concussion, now, a month later, it's become severe. She is on our policy. After her limits expire, can they tap into ours? She is 19 and the owner of the car with her name on the title.

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Gary L. Platt, Attorney at Law | Gary Platt
Assuming you and your daughter have insurance, your insurance company will investigate the accident and will hire an attorney to defend you. However, the insurance company will NOT hire an attorney for you to sue the other driver for your own damages, so you should get your own counsel who can work with your insurer's attorney to defend you AND prosecute an action against the other driver. If the other driver successfully sues you and your daughter, as the owner of the car you can be held responsible for up to $15,000 per person or $30,000 total per accident (if there is more than one person suing you for damages) for personal injury damages, according to statute. If your daughter is found to be 100% at fault, she can be sued for the total amount of the damages, even if they are over the limits on her insurance policy. The insurer will pay up to the policy limits, and your daughter as an adult will have to pay the balance of any judgment against her over her policy limits.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/14/2012
Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
Unless your daughter is making a claim against him, you should just let your insurance company handle his claim against her. If she is making a claim you would probably want an attorney.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 8/14/2012
Law Office of Ronald Arthur Lowry
Law Office of Ronald Arthur Lowry | Ronald Arthur Lowry
Your insurance company is supposed to handle this for you and hire an attorney to represent your daughter if the other driver files a lawsuit. This is a complicated question requiring the review of your/her liability policy and quite a bit of discussion. Contact an attorney experienced in personal injury matters. If you don't know one contact me and I'll refer you to the best such attorney in your area at no charge.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 8/14/2012
Reeves Aiken & Hightower | Arthur K. Aiken
You should report this claim to your insurance policy. The policy language probable requires your insurance company to retain and pay a lawyer to represent you and your daughter.
Answer Applies to: South Carolina
Replied: 8/14/2012
Downriver Injury and Auto Law | Michael Heilmann
There is not enough information to give you accurate guidance. In any event, if she is a MI insured she has life time medical benefits but she must fill out an application with her insurance. If the the other driver was 51% at fault, she may collect for her injury.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/14/2012
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    In order to sue for being injured in a car accident you have to sustain a "serious injury" which includes death, dismemberment, a broken bone, loss of a fetus, significant disfigurement and certain other specific kinds of lesser injuries including being disabled for at least ninety of the first one hundred and eighty days following the accident.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Burnett Evans Banks
    Burnett Evans Banks | Paul Evans
    The issue of fault in an auto accident is often disputed. The police report does not settle the matter, they can be plain wrong, mistaken, mislead, or misinformed. You do not need to hire an attorney to defend against the other driver, because your insurance company has a duty to provide that defense. On the other hand, if your daughter was physically injured, it may very well benefit her to have her own attorney for that claim. Again, she does not need to "hire" a lawyer, because personal injury claims are typically handled on a contingency, where the attorney would be paid only out of any proceeds recovered for their client.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A.
    Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. | Charles Cartwright
    If you are a part owner of your daughter's vehicle, you may have liability. You will not have liability if the vehicle is solely in her name. Your insurance will pay only if you have liability. Your daughter's insurance company has a duty to protect her interests which includes settling the case within the limits of her insurance if possible and if it would be in the best interests of your daughter. Your daughter should speak with her insurance company and lake sure they are doing everything they can to protect her. If she feels her insurance company is not protecting her, she should contact an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Dennis P. Mikko Attorney at Law | Dennis P. Mikko
    Since she was driving a car titled in her own name, she is responsible for the accident. The other person would not be able to come after you. She should make sure a proper claim has been filed with the insurance company. If the matter is not resolved and she is sued, the insurance company should be immediately notified as part of the policy would be to provide her with a defense and an attorney. You are always free to hire your own attorney but at this point there does not appear to be a need for you to do so. If you become involved, again, immediately alert the insurance company as the policy would provide you with a defense too.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Salladay Law Office | Lance Salladay
    Yes- it would be a good idea.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Dungan, Lady, Kirkpatrick & Dungan PLLC | Michael Dungan
    If you are sued by the injured driver, turn the lawsuit over to your insurance carrier. They will provide with a lawyer of their choice, at their expense, that is one of the things you are paying for with your insurance premiums. You should not have to hire an attorney of your own at your own expense.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
    It's never a bad idea to hire a lawyer. We have comparative negligence in Florida and you need someone to advocate your position with the insurance company.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    You cant turn left in the face of oncoming traffic no matter how fast it is coming. The other fellow was probably driving too fast. Both parties appear to be at fault. Tell all this to your insurance company and go back to watching the Olympics This is what insurance companies deal with every day and what you pay them premiums for. If you get sued the insurance company will hire a lawyer for you.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Law Office of Pho Ethan Tran PLLC
    Law Office of Pho Ethan Tran PLLC | Pho Ethan Tran
    If liability hasn't been established yet or may be litigated, it is a good idea to seek the advice of an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Walpole Law | Robert J. Walpole
    Yes, you should hire an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 5/29/2013
    Law Offices of Mark Hopkins | Mark Hopkins
    If you do not have any ownership interest in your daughter's car, she shouldn't be on your policy. She should have her own policy. Your insurer may not cover the daughter if you have no ownership interest in the car, unless she was on an errand for you. 1. You need to consult an atty asp on that issue. 2. You need to contact your auto insurance company and turn this matter over to them for all further handling.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Law Offices of David W. Hibbert
    Law Offices of David W. Hibbert | David W. Hibbert
    Be sure your insurance company has been notified of the claim. Yes, consult an attorney , your daughter may have a claim against the other "speeding" driver . That she got a ticket is not dispositive of the negligence claim. The officer did not see the incident.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    The Lucky Law Firm, PLC
    The Lucky Law Firm, PLC | Robert Morrison Lucky
    You should contact your insurance company as soon as possible. Your insurance company will provide an attorney to defend your daughter in the matter and to ensure that she is protected. You may wish to consult with your own attorney to determine the chances of fault being assigned to the other driver once all of the facts are exposed.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    No. I doubt it. She should be covered and insured, and is the owner of the car. Your assets are not at risk.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    DEAN T. JENNINGS, P.C. | Dean T Jennings
    Notify your insurance company immediately and they will furnish an attorney under the terms of the policy at no expense to you.
    Answer Applies to: Iowa
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Steven Harrell, Attorney at Law | Waymon Steven Harrell
    You need to turn this claim over to your liability insurance carrier at once.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Lapin Law Offices
    Lapin Law Offices | Jeffrey Lapin
    As to whether you need an attorney, you should not need to hire an attorney on your own. Your insurance company, which insures your daughter, should "fight" the other driver about the percentage of fault between your daughter and the other driver. If they cannot reach an agreement and your daughter gets sued, your insurance company would hire an attorney, at their cost, to defend your daughter. I cannot answer with absolute certainty because I do not know have enough information, but, based on the information you did provide, I do not believe your policy would apply to the accident. The other driver would be limited to your daughter's policy. If you have questions about the claim of the other driver, talk to the insurance adjuster handling it the case. He or she should provide you an update. You, or your daughter, are free to hire an attorney to help. However, you would have to pay that attorney out of your own pocket.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C.
    Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C. | Stuart M. Nachbar
    Did you file an amended Police Report as that is the first thing to do, so you are sure it is documented that she has a different version of how the incident took place. As for an attorney, I presume you are talking about for the Municipal Court Citation, I always believe in having Counsel. As for the policy, the policy is the policy. It sounds like you have a balloon policy or a multi car policy, but it still has the limits sets. As for defending her against a civil suit, her insurance company will provide same.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/7/2012
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    Unfortunately, the side issues you raise have no affect to the fact your daughter was making a left-hand turn and was in an accident. By RCW one must yield to oncoming vehicles when making a left-hand turn.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    The Law Offices of Paul A. Samakow, P.C.
    The Law Offices of Paul A. Samakow, P.C. | Paul A. Samakow
    Virginia is a contributory negligence state, meaning if either party to an accident is even 1% at fault, they cannot make a claim against the other party. Your daughter is at least 1% at fault here. Call your insurance company and let them handle this for you.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    LEATHERS LAW FIRM | A. Wade Leathers, Sr.
    Yes. You need to consult with a personal injury attorney to make a determination as to fault. You could be entitled to compensation.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Jones Jones & Mosley PA
    Jones Jones & Mosley PA | Bernard Jones
    Let your insurance company handle it. That is what you pay them for. That said, it is never a bad idea to let your lawyer review the accident report and make sure your insurance company is actually working for you and not themselves.
    Answer Applies to: Mississippi
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Bruce Plesser | Bruce Plesser
    No but you'll get screwed by insurance co.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Slotnick & Schwartz
    Slotnick & Schwartz | Leonard T. Schwartz
    I assume your daughter is on your policy without any conditions. That would mean that whatever coverage you have would also apply to your daughter. Any claim by the other passenger or driver should be turned over to your insurance company. You might consider an attorney for her for the citation. Depending upon the state there may be MVC points.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/13/2012
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