Do I have to provide personal information to another party’s lawyer?

UPDATED: Nov 9, 2011

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Do I have to provide personal information to another party’s lawyer?

I was in in an auto accident and I was at fault. My auto insurance has offered the injured party $100,000 to settle medical bills, but the injured party’s laywer has said that $100,000 is insufficient to cover the bills. I received a letter from the injured party’s lawyer asking for personal information regarding any additional insurance I may have and my job status/employer information at the time of the accident. Legally, am I obligated to provide personal information to their lawyer, and should I get a lawyer of my own?

Asked on November 9, 2011 under Accident Law, Colorado


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

1) Until a legal action is actually instituted, and if/once one is, the plaintiff (party suing you) uses the legal process of discovery (e.g. written questions called interrogatories; document production requests; depositions; subpoenas) you do not have to provide information--until you get such a legal request in the context of litigation, it is voluntary. But once you have received a formal legal request, you must then comply with it.

2) There are often grounds to object to specific informational requests, on the grounds they are abusive, not relevant, contain certain privileged information, etc. An attorney will know how  to do this.

3) If you have insurance, your insurer should be providing an attorney for you--check your policy, but almost all policies obligate them to defend. The exception is they only need to defend up to the policy limit. If you are only covered for up to $100k, but your insurer believes you are clearly at fault and liable for more than that, they may simply be offering the policy limit, after which you are on your own.

So either you should be getting a lawyer from (or at least paid for by) your insurer...or if they are just going to pay to their limit, then you need to get an attorney of your own (as you would if you feel that for any reason, they are not representing your intererests well).

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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