If I was at fault for a minor fender bender about a year ago and today was served with a summons that I am being sued for personal injury, do I need to get an lawyer?

My insurance was working with the other party. I have 30 days to respond. Will my insurance handle this?

Asked on July 26, 2015 under Accident Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Contact your insurer, provide them copies of any documentation you received, and ask them if they are handling this. If they are, you most likely do not need your own attorney. If they are not handling it, ask why...and hire an attorney to defend you. Provide the attorney with, among other things, a copy of your policy and the explanation from the insurer as to why they are not handling this matter. It may be that attorney, in addition to defending you from the lawsuit, will be able to bring a claim against your insurer for breach of contract, if it looks like they are dishonoring their policy (which is a contract) obligation to defend or indemnify you.

Note that the above answer presupposes that the suit is for a large enough sum that it's worth defending; if its just for a few hundred dollars, you may wish to either pay it or try to settle for a mutually agreeable amount, since you could spend more on the attorney than it would take to settle the matter.

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