What to do if I am at fault for a fender bender?

UPDATED: Oct 10, 2013

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What to do if I am at fault for a fender bender?

There wasn’t a scratch on the car in front of me, which was quite larger than mine car. However the driver I hit had been in another accident recently in which she had surgery on her neck. They are coming after me through my insurance company. The attorney I was assigned sent me a letter saying I could hire my own attorney as well. I really don’t have money for that. Does this attorney really have my best interest in mind? Should I get my own attorney? Right now I was given a date for an EBT in about 3 months.

Asked on October 10, 2013 under Accident Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The attorney provided by your insurer is obligated to take your interests into account--but only up to the level or limit of coverage. That is, say that you have a $50,000 liability policy and it appears that the other driver suffered more than $50,000 in losses (medical costs; lost wages and diminished earning potential; pain and suffering; etc.). In that case, the attorney could ethically offer to pay $50,000 (the maximum amount the insurer has to pay; in practice, the payment would be lower than this, since the attorney's own bills--the cost of your defense--comes out of the same pot of money) from the insurer and then leave you responsible for any amounts over that. So yes, depending on the extent of your coverage and the extent of the woman's injuries or losses, you may wish to obtain your own attorney.

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