Legal Question in Personal Injury in New Jersey

I got into a single-car accident with a younger male passenger, resulting in his death. I am 46; he was 41. We were having a quarrel and he asked to get out of the car. I began to slow. Before the car came to a complete stop, he exited the vehicle and fatally injured himself on the shoulder of the road. Conditions were pouring rain. There was no DUI issue. There were no witnesses. There was no damage to the car. Now I find myself facing a lawsuit by his widower father, alleging that my negligence (I'm not sure how I was negligent, but that's what the complaint says) caused his son's death and that I am liable for same. The deceased had no children, was not married, and earned $70K/year. I carried $100K worth of auto insurance at the time. I have few assets outside of an IRA. What is my realistic exposure here?

Asked on 3/31/13, 12:12 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Jef Henninger, Esq Law Offices of Jef Henninger, Esq.

I would think that the victim's family would settle for the policy limit, i.e. $100k. What does your insurance company lawyer say?

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Answered on 3/31/13, 12:18 pm

Michael Lindner Lindner Law LLC

I am not sure if you are represented or not, but I would caution against making any further statements in this type of forum, and instead refer this complaint to youir insurance compay, and let them take it from here, inlcuding assigning you an a ttorney (if you are anot already in that stage yet)

The case has value above 100K, assuming they can prove you are responsible, therefore if you have assets, they are at risk. That said, it is rare that attorneys pursue damages beyond the policy limits, if they are offered. If liability is unclear, but there are some facts there to support some potential liability, then there exists the chance that your insurance company might offer the entire policy limits, or something close to it. If liability is really shaky against you, then they might simply defend the case, all the way through to trial.

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Answered on 3/31/13, 2:25 pm

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