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While driving a rental car provided by my company, I hit another car. The rental car (the one I was driving) was insured by my company.

I just learned that the driver of the car I hit has started a lawsuit with the company and myself as defendants. Should I get a lawyer in this case?

In case it is relevant, the other car had minor damage (bumper, visible dent), and the driver and a passenger (a minor) were able to drive away and did not go to the hospital that morning. The car I was driving was declared totaled by the rental company. It was a new car, designed to crumple on impact, whereas the car I hit was older and stronger build. I expect that they are suing on the basis of long term neck pain or something, but do not know yet.

Thank you.

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You should get a lawyer

Your alleged negligence cause the alleged harm. If the plaintiff can demonstrate that you were acting in the course of your employment your employer is also liable but that does not make you not liable in California (it does in other jurisdictions). It is even possible for your employer to sue you if they lose the case.

That said, there are probably several insurance policies that will intervene here: the car rental insurance and your employer's public liability insurance. These would normally have "subrogation" clause that mean the insurance will pay and not sue between co-insureds like you and your employer. However, your lawyer will need to look into that for you.

  • This answer seems to be contradicted by the one below. Not sure which one to pick as "the" answer – reluctantInventor Jul 27 '17 at 19:03
  • The below answer is more accurate. Your interests are aligned with the insurance company in terms of the desire to successfully defend you in this case. Also, if for some reason there were a conflict of interest between you and the insurance company, you still wouldnt be hiring your own lawyer - in that case, the ins company would need to hire a separate attorney to represent your interests (called a Cumis counsel). Thus, @ohwilleke has provided you “the” answer. – A.fm. Jul 29 '17 at 8:13
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The insurance company is supposed to hire a lawyer to defend you as part of the package of benefits that come with the car insurance. You should need a lawyer only if there are disputes of any kind between you and the insurance company.

You should insist that the insurance company provide you with a lawyer to defend you in the case ASAP.

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