Who is responsible for the injured passenger in my car? Me or the other driver?

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Who is responsible for the injured passenger in my car? Me or the other driver?

Someone ran through a stop sign and hit my car and the passenger in the back seat in New York. My car didn’t have the severe damage, except the dented back door and the airbag blew off in the passenger seat on the front. Got compensated for about $4,000. Since my car is a For-Hire vehicle, the insurance covers $100k/person and $300k/accident. Now the passenger is suing me for 2 million for personal injury. Because my insurance is not enough to cover this, I was suggested to find a personal counsel to protect my personal interests. What should I do now? Is it most likely my asset is at risk?

Asked on April 29, 2009 under Accident Law, New York

Answers:

L.M., Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If the other driver was 100% at fault for the accident, the other driver is responsible for your passenger's injuries.  If, however, you are partially liable for the accident, or if liability is not clear, you might wind up being at least partially financially responsible for the injuries to your passenger.  The insurance company that covers the vehicle you were driving should provide you with an attorney to defend your interests.  You don't mention if your passenger included the other driver as a defendant in his or her lawsuit in the Kings County Action. If the passenger was severely injured, the case could result in an amount greater than your liability limits which would put your personal assets at risk.  If the injuries are serious, then speak to an attorney to "associate in" with the insurance company's counsel.  The attorney provided by your insurer should be able to give you an idea of how big a case this is and what the risks are to your personal assets. Jury verdicts in Kings County NY can be huge. It would be a good idea to get an auto accident attorney that handles cases in Kings County to advise you and protect your interests. The insurance company's attorney is also trying to protect the insurance company's interests, and if the insurance company could settle the case within the the policy limits but is unwilling to do so, and it goes to trial and a huge verdict results, you'll need a lawyer to consider bringing a bad faith claim in New York against the carrier.  Getting a Kings County auto accident attorney involved now  could save you lots of hassle later.


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