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  1. #1
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    Jun 2015
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    Default Should the Defendant Contact a Plaintiff Who is Making a Claim for Injuries

    My question involves an injury that occurred in the state of: Illinois but all involved are from Oklahoma. My 20 year old daughter and 3 of her friends were in a single car rollover MVA. They were travelling out of state when the accident occurred. My daughter was not driving the car at the time of the accident. We were just put on notice by our insurance company that one of the passengers is likely to sue us because damages in the claim could exceed our policy limits which is $100k/$300K. Her injuries were the least severe but she has no health insurance. Because of the extensive ER workup, surgery to her wrist, a couple of days in the hospital, follow-up and treatment by local ortho, PT.......it looks like we will be sued by her for additional liability. She is still friends with our daughter. Should we make contact with her or wait and see what the settlement is with our insurance company first?

    In addition, the driver of car has a small amount of insurance that will be secondary coverage. His insurance company told us that he had $25k total coverage that would be split 3 ways between the passengers. Then a couple of weeks ago they called to inform us that they had "found more money" and the policy actually has $50k. Does that not seem odd? Do you think his insurance company had been lying and once she hired a lawyer they "found more coverage"? Isn't that illegal?

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Should the Defendant Contact a Plaintiff Who is Making a Claim for Injuries

    Quote Quoting rangers1
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    My daughter was not driving the car at the time of the accident.
    This is your car? Your daughter's car?
    Quote Quoting rangers1
    ...it looks like we will be sued by her for additional liability.
    Possibly on a theory of negligent entrustment, or based on something that happened inside the car.... Your insurance company will defend you against the claim.
    Quote Quoting rangers1
    Should we make contact with her or wait and see what the settlement is with our insurance company first?
    If you/she have been sued, you/your daughter should speak with the lawyer provided by the insurance company, and follow the lawyer's instruction.
    Quote Quoting rangers1
    Then a couple of weeks ago they called to inform us that they had "found more money" and the policy actually has $50k. Does that not seem odd?
    Not particularly. The driver may be eligible for coverage through the auto insurance policy of somebody else who resides in the same household.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
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    7

    Default Re: Should the Defendant Contact a Plaintiff Who is Making a Claim for Injuries

    Her car but my husband's name on title. Coverage is bundled with all of our other vehicles and the policy in my husband's name.

    Nothing odd happened in the car to my knowledge. They were all taking turns driving on a long road trip.

    We just got official letter from our insurance company yesterday. "Our current liability investigation for the claim below indicates that you are potentially liable for damages that may exceed your bodily injury coverage limit of 100/300 per accident, and you may be personally responsible for the amount that exceeds the limit. (policy member, date and location of crash, claimant) "If a lawyer is needed to defend you, we will hire one. But because the damages in this claim could exceed your policy limits, you have the right to hire a lawyer, at your own expense, to represent you for this additional liability. We will cooperate fully with any lawyer you might decide to hire on your own. Please contact me if you have additional information about your claim or disagree with our current liability position. It's also important to let us know immediately if you have an umbrella or other liability coverage."

    I believe the driver is under his mother's coverage.

    I hate to have to do this but if we are sued can we turn around and sue the driver's mom for the money we are out.

    Thank you for the help!

  4. #4
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    Mar 2013
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    Default Re: Should the Defendant Contact a Plaintiff Who is Making a Claim for Injuries

    Quote Quoting rangers1
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    I hate to have to do this but if we are sued can we turn around and sue the driver's mom for the money we are out.
    Well, obviously you CAN, but you wouldn't win.

    The driver who apparently caused the accident was driving your car with permission of your daughter. As such he is defined as "an insured" under your policy which is why your liability insurance is primary.

    And you would have no cause of action against his mother since his mother had nothing to do with anything.

    Quote Quoting rangers1
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    We just got official letter from our insurance company yesterday. "Our current liability investigation for the claim below indicates that you are potentially liable for damages that may exceed your bodily injury coverage limit of 100/300 per accident, and you may be personally responsible for the amount that exceeds the limit. (policy member, date and location of crash, claimant) "If a lawyer is needed to defend you, we will hire one. But because the damages in this claim could exceed your policy limits, you have the right to hire a lawyer, at your own expense, to represent you for this additional liability. We will cooperate fully with any lawyer you might decide to hire on your own. Please contact me if you have additional information about your claim or disagree with our current liability position. It's also important to let us know immediately if you have an umbrella or other liability coverage."
    I wouldn't be too concerned about that letter. The claim is likely to settle within or at policy limits even if the injury is severe. Personal injury lawyers don't like going to court because they have to front the costs and it delays their payday. A lawsuit is a formality that preserves the statute of limitations and takes a lawyer very little time to generate and very little cost.

    You've got a long way to go before you have to be concerned about the claim piercing the policy limits.

    PS: Nobody in your family should be talking to anybody except a representative of your insurance company. Period.

  5. #5
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    Jun 2015
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    Default Re: Should the Defendant Contact a Plaintiff Who is Making a Claim for Injuries

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
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    Well, obviously you CAN, but you wouldn't win.

    The driver who apparently caused the accident was driving your car with permission of your daughter. As such he is defined as "an insured" under your policy which is why your liability insurance is primary.

    And you would have no cause of action against his mother since his mother had nothing to do with anything.



    I wouldn't be too concerned about that letter. The claim is likely to settle within or at policy limits even if the injury is severe. Personal injury lawyers don't like going to court because they have to front the costs and it delays their payday. A lawsuit is a formality that preserves the statute of limitations and takes a lawyer very little time to generate and very little cost.

    You've got a long way to go before you have to be concerned about the claim piercing the policy limits.

    PS: Nobody in your family should be talking to anybody except a representative of your insurance company. Period.
    I had no idea we could be sued personally. Given that, I assumed his mother could be sued for additional liability too as she carries his insurance.

    Very good to hear that the personal injury attorney will likely go for the easy money. I am just picturing all 3 of them suing us.

    She has no medical coverage so her charges from the treating facilities and doctors are full price. That adds up quickly with trauma workup, surgery and a couple of days stay in the hospital. Maybe her attorney can work with them to get charges more inline with those that insurance companies allow.

    I have been handling everything and have only spoken to his insurance and ours. I will continue to do that and wait to see what happens.

    Thank you!

  6. #6
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    Dec 2008
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    Default Re: Should the Defendant Contact a Plaintiff Who is Making a Claim for Injuries

    Quote Quoting rangers1
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    I had no idea we could be sued personally. Given that, I assumed his mother could be sued for additional liability too as she carries his insurance.
    You are being sued because legally you are the owner of the car. You say that it's your daughters car but titled in your name. What the law reads that as is it's your car that your daughter uses with your permission, so whatever happens with that car is ultimately your responsibility.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Should the Defendant Contact a Plaintiff Who is Making a Claim for Injuries

    Quote Quoting yyz0
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    You are being sued because legally you are the owner of the car. You say that it's your daughters car but titled in your name. What the law reads that as is it's your car that your daughter uses with your permission, so whatever happens with that car is ultimately your responsibility.
    No, that's about as far from the reality of negligence law as you can get.

    And I would be curious to see if you can cite any statute that says what you say "the law reads."

    The accident happened in Illinois.

    Under Illinois negligence law an owner is not liable for the negligence of the driver just because he is the owner. For him to be liable he would have had to have "negligently entrusted" the vehicle to the driver.

    The Illinois Supreme Court has this to say about "negligent entrustment":

    "An action for negligent entrustment "`consists of entrusting a dangerous article to another whom the lender knows, or should know, is likely to use it in a manner involving an unreasonable risk of harm to others.'" (Teter v. Clemens (1986), 112 Ill. 2d 252, 257, 97 Ill. Dec. 467, 492 N.E.2d 1340, quoting 1 J. Dooley, Modern Tort Law 23.01, at 513 (1977).) An automobile is not a dangerous article per se but may become one if it is operated by a person who is unskilled in its use. (See Union Bank v. Kalkhurst (1932), 265 Ill. App. 254, 259.) Thus, a person may *1003 be liable for negligently entrusting an automobile to one who the person knows or should know is incompetent, inexperienced, or reckless. See Kosrow v. Acker (1989), 188 Ill.App.3d 778, 783, 136 Ill. Dec. 118, 544 N.E.2d 804; Giers v. Anten (1978), 68 Ill. App.3d 535, 538, 24 Ill. Dec. 878, 386 N.E.2d 82; Bensman v. Reed (1939), 299 Ill. App. 531, 534, 20 N.E.2d 910."

    https://scholar.google.com/scholar_c...43593388965851

    There is a great distance between naming an owner as a Defendant (common practice) and proving "negligent entrustment" on the part of that owner.

    Based on just the details presented by the OP, I don't see any liability on the part of the OP for the negligence of the driver.

  8. #8
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    Jun 2015
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    Default Re: Should the Defendant Contact a Plaintiff Who is Making a Claim for Injuries

    Thank you all for responding and adjusterjack you are a super hero!

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