Questions about Geico insurance

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Hi, I just got an accident around March, like 4 months ago. I struck a 4 year old boy, who dart to the road and his father didn't hold his hand to walk against traffic due to the reason he said his cell phone is falling down. 
I know it's around the school, but I really couldn't see him because he run out in front of the taxi on my left hand side that my view has been hindered by the taxi. The police report showed that I'm "no fault" and 4 years old children is "unknown fault". Recently, I got the letter from Geico and they just said the claim may exceed my limit 50k. They said the children got broken leg, but the father haven't replied for them for 4 months. That's the reason they send me the letter. I also asked them according to their own investigation, did they think I'm at fault or negligence? They said right now it didn't show that I'm at fault. 

I'm really afraid. If it's over the limit, will Geico give me a lawyer to help me on the court. I'm an international student studying in Maryland. 

Thanks for any advice,
Bobby

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arent the father and the boy mandated by this wonderful caring gubment to have full health care insurance from the UNaff... (more)

tgersinthewhhouse (Jul. 23, 2016 @ 10:12a) |

I think you have it confused with Medicaid.

atikovi (Jul. 23, 2016 @ 10:30a) |

Their insurer has the right to collect anything paid out from you- if you're found to be at fault. So from your perspect... (more)

TravelerMSY (Jul. 23, 2016 @ 1:22p) |

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You need a time machine to go back four months and hire an attorney then. Better yet, go back to the day of the incident and hit the brakes quicker.

Yes, you need a lawyer, immediately. I doubt Geico will pay for one unless you also have an umbrella policy with them, but I'm really not sure. Who pays for the lawyer is not your biggest concern right now.

It might cost as little as a few hundred dollars up to several thousand in legal fees to get a court to rule you 0% at fault, but that sure as hell beats getting a $50K judgment against you for the next four months of this kid's medical bills.

Or, since you're presumably not a U.S. citizen, just flee the country and never come back?

IANAL, am I correct saying that since Maryland is a Contributary Negligence state OP will not be fully responsible for injury?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contributory_negligence

For example, a pedestrian crosses a road negligently and is hit by a driver who was driving negligently. Since the pedestrian has also contributed to the accident, they may be barred from complete and full recovery of damages from the driver (or their insurer) because the accident was less likely to occur if it weren't for their failure to keep a proper lookout. Another example of contributory negligence is where a plaintiff actively disregards warnings or fails to take reasonable steps for his or her safety, then assumes a certain level of risk in a given activity; such as diving in shallow water without checking the depth first.

In some jurisdictions, the doctrine states that a victim who is at fault to any degree, including only 1% at fault, may be denied compensation entirely. This is known as pure contributory negligence. In the United States, the pure contributory negligence only applies in Alabama, the District of Columbia, Maryland,...




 

v999 said:   IANAL, am I correct saying that since Maryland is a Contributary Negligence state OP will not be fully responsible for injury?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contributory_negligence

For example, a pedestrian crosses a road negligently and is hit by a driver who was driving negligently. Since the pedestrian has also contributed to the accident, they may be barred from complete and full recovery of damages from the driver (or their insurer) because the accident was less likely to occur if it weren't for their failure to keep a proper lookout. Another example of contributory negligence is where a plaintiff actively disregards warnings or fails to take reasonable steps for his or her safety, then assumes a certain level of risk in a given activity; such as diving in shallow water without checking the depth first.

In some jurisdictions, the doctrine states that a victim who is at fault to any degree, including only 1% at fault, may be denied compensation entirely. This is known as pure contributory negligence. In the United States, the pure contributory negligence only applies in Alabama, the District of Columbia, Maryland,...




 

  Geico might want to know this so they can get their money back.

Assumed that the accident happened in MD.

v999 said:   Assumed that the accident happened in MD.
  It probably did.

Lawyer up. A lot of this is going to hinge in what assets you have to protect and whether your state allows garnishment if wages.

Don't count on Geico for this large an amount. Used to have its insurance, denied both legitimate claims for smaller amounts. Insurance Commission overruled one denial. Defense not likely.

Am I the only one wondering if the kid's parents accept their kid was at fault and have moved on?  They haven't responded to Geico since the accident.  

OP - did they file the claim with your insurance, or did you initiate the claim yourself?

#1: OPs name is uberbobby18 - OP, were you logged into Uber when the accident occurred? Do you have an Uber policy with your carrier? This could cause major problems if you drive for Uber but don't have a policy (insurance company will look for any reason to deny you coverage)
#2: find out your state's time limit for filing a claim. While the father may be holding off now for a variety of reasons (is accepting personal responsibility and not claiming against you, focusing on his son's recovery, going through a divorce, etc), the father could wait until the last day to file a claim and it's just as valid as if he filed the day of the accident.
#3: how much longer do you plan to stay in the states? Do you ever intend to return? If the timing is right, even with an eventual judgement, you might be out of the country before any collection activity can be put in motion (if you truly plan to never return this could work)
#4: realize that some things are out of your control. If the other party has decided to not file a claim yet, you can't do anything to force the issue (unless you want to sue the kid for damage he caused running into your car). By not filing so far, you may end up free and clear. Just keep good documentation for now in case they eventually file. And as I previously mentioned, check on the time limit for claims so you can finally breathe a sigh of relief once that time period has passed with a claim filed.

Glitch99 said:   Am I the only one wondering if the kid's parents accept their kid was at fault and have moved on?  They haven't responded to Geico since the accident.  

OP - did they file the claim with your insurance, or did you initiate the claim yourself?

Wouldn't that be a blessing for OP.

I don't think it matters who filed the claim.  Geico probably got wind of it from the ambulance and/or hospital that saw the kid in the ER for the broken leg.  The ambulance company that brought the kid there would have pulled the police report to get the insurance information of the driver whose car hit the kid to file their own transportation/treatment claim.  Likely, they've got a close enough affiliation with the hospital that they passed the insurance info along to the intake people at the ER.  When the claim(s) were filed and Geico saw their entire liability under the policy would be limited to $50K, they decided to just start paying bills on medical claims without doing any major investigation or allowing their in-house lawyers to waste time on the case.  Now that $50K is close to being exhausted.

Why would the kid's parents argue or respond when all the medical bills have been paid up to this point?  The father may or may not be aware that the policy has only a $50K limit and may or may not know that limit is in danger of being exceeded.  We also don't know where the mother stands in all of this.  My conclusion from some of the potential answers to these questions is that we should absolutely not assume that the father and/or mother have just "moved on" and we should not assume they are not going to sue in the relatively near future.

When an accident like this happens, the motorist's personal injury liability policy is primary.  Assuming the family has regular medical insurance, they may or may not start paying beyond Geico 's $50K responsibility if the bills should continue to pile up.  If that insurance is a good policy and elects to pay future bills stemming from this incident, OP is in a stronger position in that he probably won't get sued.  If the family has no insurance or if that insurance is a crappy policy or if that insurance refuses to pay altogether, the only way for the family to get reimbursed is to sue - somebody - and OP would certainly be one of several parties who might be named as a defendant in the suit.  For all we know, this kid may have suffered shattered bones that will affect his entire life and $50K is only the tip of the iceberg.  Assuming OP is sued in court and loses (is held responsible for X amount of damages), then it becomes a question of whether OP is judgment proof now and whether he will remain judgment proof into the future.  The wage garnishment question is important, as is OP's desire, or possible lack there of, to remain in the U.S.

Obviously, OP should hope and pray (when has praying for anything ever actually worked???) that he doesn't get sued, but he should absolutely be prepared in case he does.  That means hiring (or at least consulting) a lawyer now, so that if he's named as a defendant in a suit, the lawyer can defend OP based on the police report and whatever witness statements are available.  If a civil defense lawyer can convince a judge/jury that OP is truly not at fault, he won't be held financially responsible for any medical bills.  A good lawyer will probably do a consult, but not ask for a retainer unless and until OP is served with papers as a defendant in a civil suit.

Really, the biggest advantage OP has right now is that somebody has to actually sue him and win a judgment before he'll be affected by any of this, and winning a lawsuit first requires the filing of a lawsuit - something many people, even in this litigious society, are still apprehensive about doing.  The whole thing might just blow over and disappear, much like this thread is likely to do after a few days.

DTASFAB said:   
Glitch99 said:   Am I the only one wondering if the kid's parents accept their kid was at fault and have moved on?  They haven't responded to Geico since the accident.  

OP - did they file the claim with your insurance, or did you initiate the claim yourself?

Wouldn't that be a blessing for OP.

I don't think it matters who filed the claim.

It matters as far as indicating if the kid has even considered holding OP liable. If they filed the claim, he's going to want to get his ducks in order now because the hammer could fall any day. If they've done nothing thusfar, then the discussion is more hypothetical, in figuring out what he should do IF something more comes of it.

Glitch99 said:   
DTASFAB said:   
Glitch99 said:   Am I the only one wondering if the kid's parents accept their kid was at fault and have moved on?  They haven't responded to Geico since the accident.  

OP - did they file the claim with your insurance, or did you initiate the claim yourself?

Wouldn't that be a blessing for OP.

I don't think it matters who filed the claim.

It matters as far as indicating if the kid has even considered holding OP liable. If they filed the claim, he's going to want to get his ducks in order now because the hammer could fall any day. If they've done nothing thusfar, then the discussion is more hypothetical, in figuring out what he should do IF something more comes of it.

It doesn't change the legal standing of the kid and his family, so I'm not sure it makes a bit of difference.  It's entirely possible that the father decided early on that his kid was at fault and so he wasn't going after the driver (OP) for money, but that decision was probably made easier because the bills were being paid.  Put someone in a more desperate situation, and his tune may change quickly.

I'd be surprised if damages exceeded $40,000. I am not familiar with Maryland but it's possible for the health insurance company will try to get the health costs from Geico or you. At least you don't have to worry about lost wages or loss of consortium since it was a kid.

Yes, Geico will provide you with a lawyer. Your policy should provide for this, and the cost of the lawyer is in addition to the policy limits. Also, they can't just offer to pay the limit of $50k and wash their hands of it - if the other party continues to pursue the claim beyond 50k Geico still must provide you the lawyer.

Now, if you were driving for Uber actively, there may be another issue as to whether your coverage is valid at all. But in general, the above holds true.

I don't understand the suggestions for the OP to get a lawyer. He had already proactively secured the services of a lawyer by purchasing liability insurance. Don't get another lawyer unless your insurance company (or Uber if you were driving for Uber at the time) says they won't provide a lawyer for you.

I was sued in Maryland when a pedestrian stepped in front of my car. My insurance company provided a lawyer to defend my case. I was found 0% negligent by a jury, mostly because of the evidence provided by the plaintiff! His expert witness proved that my speed was under the limit and that I would not have been able to stop in time to avoid hitting him. The man's injuries proved that he lied about which direction he was crossing the street--unless he was walking backwards.

I was also sued in NJ and in that case my insurance company also provided a lawyer.

taylor0987 said:   I don't understand the suggestions for the OP to get a lawyer. He had already proactively secured the services of a lawyer by purchasing liability insurance. Don't get another lawyer unless your insurance company (or Uber if you were driving for Uber at the time) says they won't provide a lawyer for you.

I was sued in Maryland when a pedestrian stepped in front of my car. My insurance company provided a lawyer to defend my case. I was found 0% negligent by a jury, mostly because of the evidence provided by the plaintiff! His expert witness proved that my speed was under the limit and that I would not have been able to stop in time to avoid hitting him. The man's injuries proved that he lied about which direction he was crossing the street--unless he was walking backwards.

I was also sued in NJ and in that case my insurance company also provided a lawyer.
 

  You should stop hitting people when you drive.

What a nightmare.

Don't insure at rock-bottom minimums. The $30/year you save per year isn't going to matter, and if a black swan like this happens to you, you want the insurance company to have a vested interest in protecting you. $50k coverage is a joke, $300k should be the minimum allowed.

CowbellMaster said:    $50k coverage is a joke, $300k should be the minimum allowed.
 

  
Wish I could double-green this. So many drivers carry only the bare minimum liability coverage, which is almost as bad as having no insurance at all.

I am not sure why Geico would have been paying ANY Medical expenses already based on the OP. If you had no fault assigned at the scene they would have to sue you (and you would not have missed that) before Geico was forced to pay anything out.

What is possible is that the kids health insurance has made noise about possibly subrogating against Geico to recover some damages. They will HAVE to provide a Lawyer (note, they are defending their 50K and not really working FOR you, but they are first in line to pay anyway) if that happens. If it does not happen or they just make a settlement deal with the kids parents then you will never hear from them again.

I suspect that Geico was following up with the parents to make sure they were clear. 21st did the same thing when my stepmother had an accident with her passenger being injured.

What tends to happen is that the parents can sue up to the last day of the SOL (2 years in my state) and your insurance company at the time of the accident has to deal even if you have a new current company. Someone had an accident in one of my vehicles who had limited liability and they refused to cover the accident so mine was forced to do so. It was literally a week before the SoL two years later that they sued. Geico just settled for $5K or so to make them go away without a trial. Most likely the plaintiff would have lost at trial, but it would have cost Geico more in legal fees. Basically they paid out what the legal cost would have been for a trial. (this was a minor damage issue so not a drawn out case)

Its all about the money, they won't fight a case even if they are on the right side if settling is easier and cheaper.

vnuts21 said:   
taylor0987 said:   I don't understand the suggestions for the OP to get a lawyer. He had already proactively secured the services of a lawyer by purchasing liability insurance. Don't get another lawyer unless your insurance company (or Uber if you were driving for Uber at the time) says they won't provide a lawyer for you.

I was sued in Maryland when a pedestrian stepped in front of my car. My insurance company provided a lawyer to defend my case. I was found 0% negligent by a jury, mostly because of the evidence provided by the plaintiff! His expert witness proved that my speed was under the limit and that I would not have been able to stop in time to avoid hitting him. The man's injuries proved that he lied about which direction he was crossing the street--unless he was walking backwards.

I was also sued in NJ and in that case my insurance company also provided a lawyer.

  You should stop hitting people when you drive.

Indeed. That's my plan, but when someone steps in front of a moving car, the laws of physics still apply-- it takes some distance for the car to stop.
FWIW the collision in NJ, 19 years after the other one, was not with a pedestrian. That suit isn't about who was at fault, rather about money.
 

uberbobby18 said:   The police report showed that I'm "no fault"
Recently, I got the letter from Geico and they just said the claim may exceed my limit 50k.
They said the children got broken leg, 

  So you're not at fault. Does Geico have that report? And since when does a broken leg cost $50K to fix? Sound's like the guy is at home all day watching TV and just hired Mike Slocumb.

Maybe the kid was also an international student.

You can always leave and not worry about it.

doveroftke said:   
CowbellMaster said:    $50k coverage is a joke, $300k should be the minimum allowed.
  
Wish I could double-green this. So many drivers carry only the bare minimum liability coverage, which is almost as bad as having no insurance at all.

  Exactly. People should get more liability coverage, since that's the point of insurance! To cover rarer events that can totally wipe you out.

While at it, people should raise their comprehensive/collision deductible to the max allowed. Or consider dropping comprehensive/collision if they don't have a lien on their car. Saves lots. The point of insurance isn't to cover somewhat more frequent accidents for an extra 1k or whatever. It's to insure that those 6 digit damages don't break you.

Welcome to a loooong list of (ex)-drivers trying to milk a penny from uber and the like. Hint: uber won't cover anything. You're on the hook for much more you think you are. Get yourself a lawyer pronto.

CowbellMaster said:   What a nightmare.

Don't insure at rock-bottom minimums. The $30/year you save per year isn't going to matter, and if a black swan like this happens to you, you want the insurance company to have a vested interest in protecting you. $50k coverage is a joke, $300k should be the minimum allowed.

  You wanna know what's funny? In FL the minimum is 10k

alamo11 said:   
CowbellMaster said:   What a nightmare.

Don't insure at rock-bottom minimums. The $30/year you save per year isn't going to matter, and if a black swan like this happens to you, you want the insurance company to have a vested interest in protecting you. $50k coverage is a joke, $300k should be the minimum allowed.

  You wanna know what's funny? In FL the minimum is 10k

  Even funnier? In VA you don't even need car insurance.

arent the father and the boy mandated by this wonderful caring gubment to have full health care insurance from the UNaffordable health care act....Hmmmmmmmmmmm ,,and actually isnt it free if you dont feel like paying for it...were the victims illegal or real citizens,,that makes all the didderence in the world..

tgersinthewhhouse said:   arent the father and the boy mandated by this wonderful caring gubment to have full health care insurance from the UNaffordable health care act....Hmmmmmmmmmmm ,,and actually isnt it free if you dont feel like paying for it...were the victims illegal or real citizens,,that makes all the didderence in the world..
  I think you have it confused with Medicaid.

tgersinthewhhouse said:   arent the father and the boy mandated by this wonderful caring gubment to have full health care insurance from the UNaffordable health care act....Hmmmmmmmmmmm ,,and actually isnt it free if you dont feel like paying for it...were the victims illegal or real citizens,,that makes all the didderence in the world..
  Their insurer has the right to collect anything paid out from you- if you're found to be at fault. So from your perspective, it's the same as their not having coverage at all.



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