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Does Car Insurance Cover Lawyer Fees?

A car crash between two cars

Your car insurance company may cover your legal fees if you are being sued by another driver. Some policies state that they provide legal representation if you are hit with a lawsuit — but there are some exceptions. 

If you have hired a lawyer to help you negotiate your insurance settlement or file a lawsuit against someone else, your insurance company will probably not cover those fees.

When Your Insurance Company Will Cover Legal Fees

If you get in a car accident and the other driver sues you, your insurance company will most likely provide you with an attorney. Almost all auto insurance policies have a “duty to defend” built in for these situations.

The whole point of liability insurance is to protect your personal finances. It keeps you from having to pay out of pocket if someone sues you for a car accident.

When Your Insurance Company Will Not Cover Legal Fees

Although your car insurance company may have an obligation to provide you with an attorney, there are some exceptions:

  • You acted intentionally to cause the car accident.
  • You didn’t provide the insurance company with enough notice after the accident occurred.
  • The other driver’s damages exceed your policy limits.

If any of these exceptions apply to you, you may need to hire a lawyer yourself. Some of these rules differ in each state, especially concerning policy limits. If you’re in Indiana, you should consult an Indiana personal injury lawyer for specific advice.

What should you do if your insurance company doesn’t provide a lawyer?

Let’s say your insurance company decides not to cover your lawyer fees by providing you with an attorney. What should you do? Ultimately, your best option is to contact a personal injury lawyer.

First, ask your insurer to provide you with the reason it can’t offer you an attorney — in writing. Once you have that statement, you can write a letter asking your insurer to reconsider. If it still doesn’t take your request seriously, you can contact a car accident attorney. Just mentioning that you will hire an attorney may convince your insurer to change its stance.

How much do personal injury defense lawyers cost?

If your insurance company does not provide you with a lawyer, you may have to hire one and pay the fees yourself. After being sued for a car accident, you may need a personal injury defense lawyer to help defend you. Defense lawyers typically charge an upfront fee.

  • If you are the one filing a lawsuit (making you the plaintiff) then your personal injury attorney will most likely charge a contingency fee. That means their fee comes from any compensation you end up getting at the end of the case — usually 33-40% of the total settlement amount.
  • If you are the one being sued after a car accident (making you the defendant) then your personal injury defense attorney may charge you an upfront fee or hourly fee.

To know how much you have to pay in lawyer’s fees, you need to contact an Indiana personal injury lawyer directly. They can provide you with an estimate after hearing about your situation.

A lawyer presenting a document to her client

Is it worth paying for legal insurance?

Your car insurance policy should cover what you need for legal fees if you get sued by another driver. In some cases, though, it may decide not to. If you’re worried that might happen, you could get legal insurance. Also known as legal plans, legal protection insurance, or prepaid legal plans, these policies exist to help you pay for the cost of hiring a lawyer.

Legal insurance is more popular in European countries, but it’s becoming more common in the U.S. as well. It works just like any other insurance policy: you pay a certain amount each month and when you need legal services, the cost of those services is covered by your plan.

Some prepaid legal plans are as low as $10 per month. It might come in handy when you need advice about estate planning or help with your taxes, or a variety of other legal issues. It could even be useful when you’re being sued. You have to determine how often you’ll actually need legal services to decide if getting legal insurance is worth it for you.

When You Should Hire a Car Accident Lawyer

After you’ve been in a car accident, it’s highly recommended that you contact a personal injury lawyer if:

  • You were severely injured.
  • You’ve paid a lot in medical bills and are likely to need much more medical care.
  • Your vehicle was severely damaged.
  • You were the one responsible for the accident (at least partially).
  • Your insurance policy limits aren’t high enough to cover your accident-related expenses.
  • You have been unable to work since the accident.
  • Your insurance company doesn’t make a good enough offer to compensate you.
  • You are being sued by another driver and your insurance company won’t provide you with legal representation.

Keeping Your Interests in Mind

Car insurance can cover lawyer fees, depending on the policy and situation. Car insurance policies are supposed to protect you from liability. Much of the time, insurers fulfill their “duty to defend” you and provide you with an attorney when you get sued. That’s not always the case, though.

When your insurance company doesn’t keep your best interests in mind, you need someone who will. At Yosha Law, we help you seek justice. We become your devoted advocates and protect you from insurance companies. If your insurer is too difficult to deal with, give us a call.

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