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  1. #1

    Default Injuries Exceed Policy Limits

    My question involves an injury that occurred in the state of: California. SOL 2 years from date of accident.

    I received a claim notice from my previous insurance agency that the claimant had claimed 50k for loss of income resulting from an accident. I had 15/30 state minimum at the time of accident. I'm currently insured by another insurer. Now, what will be the next step and what should i do ?. Should i hire an attorney to defend my case ?. Police report notes that i didn't yield to oncoming traffic and caused accident. Please advise.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Injuries Exceed Policy Limits

    Although I will put some responsibility on the states of our nations for caving in to various lobbies, such that even the worst drivers only have to carry tiny amounts of liability insurance, the rest is on you: Assuming you're not a terrible driver it would have been a modest expense to make sure that you had adequate insurance coverage.

    You can see if your former insurance company, the one you insured through for the accident, is able to negotiate a settlement for the policy limits. If you are sued you face potential liability in excess of the policy limits and your insurance company will advise you of your right to retain your own lawyer - which you will find to be a costly proposition. If they cannot settle the case you can consider waiting and seeing what happens, retaining a lawyer, consulting a bankruptcy lawyer, or perhaps finding another approach that has not occurred to me at this moment.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    Default Re: Injuries Exceed Policy Limits

    First, the insurer you had at the time of the accident is legally required to defend you, regardless of the amount of coverage. Any judgment over the amount of coverage is your burden.

    Unless this was a very serious accident, which would likely have medical and other direct expenses far in excess of your coverage, the 50k lost income sounds pretty bogus. Do some research and see if a plaintiff can even get lost income in your state in a traffic accident.

    So many claims like that can't be proven and or will not stand up in court.

    Unless you have deep pockets, most plaintiffs will settle for the amount of the policy. Your insurer can not settle for any amount in excess of the policy. If the plaintiff will not accept the policy limit, the insurer still has to defend you. Insurance companies hire attorneys in bulk and their cost to defend a case is much cheaper than you would pay out of pocket.

    Proving fault in a traffic accident is also much more difficult that many people realize. In Florida and other states I am aware of the traffic ticket and police report are not admissible. The case has to be proven independently of that. All the other rules of evidence such as on hearsay apply, which makes proof a debatable thing.

    If the plaintiff has waited to near the end of the SOL they have shot themselves in the foot assuming the case relies upon third party witnesses. Memory fades. People move. If a witness moves out of the state, the court has no jurisdiction over that person and the witness is unavailable. Heck, if they move out of the county, the court will consider the witness unavailable. If the witness was a resident of another state at the time of the accident, getting that person from another state to testify might be impossible or will be extremely difficult and expensive.

    If I had an opponent claiming 50k in lost wages, you can be sure I'd have investigators on that and have the person under surveillance. So many lost wage and disability claims are fraudulent as to boggle the mind. Traffic accident damages are often bs. When I get done with medical records, expert witnesses, surveillance and the like they usually go slink back into the sewer they crawled out of.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Injuries Exceed Policy Limits

    Quote Quoting Conrad Hunter
    View Post
    First, the insurer you had at the time of the accident is legally required to defend you, regardless of the amount of coverage.
    But if you go to trial and lose, assuming they have cautioned you about excess liability and your right to seek independent counsel, they're only going to pay out the policy maximum.
    Quote Quoting Conrad Hunter
    Your insurer can not settle for any amount in excess of the policy. If the plaintiff will not accept the policy limit, the insurer still has to defend you.
    They can settle for an amount in excess of the policy limit with the defendant's consent. Although many defendants lack any resources beyond their insurance, or at least any resources that can be reached by insurance, those who carry inadequate insurance to protect their assets may well find it beneficial to voluntarily contribute to a settlement rather than running up legal bills or risking a large excess judgment.
    Quote Quoting Conrad Hunter
    If I had an opponent claiming 50k in lost wages, you can be sure I'd have investigators on that and have the person under surveillance.
    Not if you appreciated the cost of investigation and surveillance. You would obtain their medical records and schedule an IME.

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