Q: I live in Florida. My husband had an accident in a car registered only in my name. We have insurance with $50000 BI.
We are both on the same insurance policy. A woman was crossing the road with all black scrubs on and he ran over her foot as he was taking a left out of an ER driveway. The area is not well lit. The lighted crosswalk was 30 feet away but she was not in the crosswalk when he hit her. The officers on the scene did not give him a ticket. Our insurance says it is our fault even though she was jaywalking. Should we get an attorney? Can she take our home in a lawsuit?
A: While it is possible they can go after your personal assets it is unlikely. Your insurance will cover you. Get your own attorney just to supervise the insurance company and insurance defense attorney to make sure you are protected.
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A: If you and your husband are living together under the same roof, even though the car is registered in your name, he should also be an co-insured under the same insurance policy. Turn over any summons that you get from the accident victims lawyer to your insurance carrier, and they should provide a cost and coverage defense. Additionally, you can contact your insurance carrier to see if your husband is covered on your policy for this incident.
Charles M. Baron agrees with this answer
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I agree with Mr. Black's answer. I don't agree with Mr. Selik's answer regarding the need to pay $$ to an independent attorney to supervise the insurance company and their attorney, unless there is some indication that they are not doing right by you. Your insurance company has the obligation to provide you with a free attorney who is competent and experienced in the area of auto accident defense. Get a feel for the competence of that attorney, including having direct contact by sitting down in his/her office or virtually. Check out his/her background. Ask for his/her resume. Confirm he/she sends you every document that is filed in Court and important emails and letters (such as settlement negotiation communications). (He/she can also add your email address to the electronic filing portal so that all filed documents are emailed to you automatically, if you wish.) If the insurance co. sees any risk of liability, they have an obligation to you and your spouse to attempt to get the claim amicably resolved to prevent a judgment from being entered against you. They also have the obligation to notify you of any risk of personal liability due to any potential damages award exceeding your policy limits. If that unlikely scenario occurs, you then may need to hire counsel.
Regarding seizing your home as an asset to pay a judgment, your homestead (your primary residence) is exempt from seizure - though it's not exempt from a judgment lien that may be collectable upon conveyance of the property. Talk to your insurance attorney regarding such issues - it's his/her job to protect you from liability. Hope this helps.
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