Duty to defend

Wife was found at fault in accident that injured me and other people. She has been sued by several of them. She is now separated from me, and I have a filed a personal injury lawsuit against her as well. I understand that my insurance company can refuse to defend her in the lawsuit I have filed. Can my insurance company also refuse to defend her in the other lawsuits against her?

Los Angeles, CA -

Attorney Answers (4)

John Robert Sauter

John Robert Sauter

Car / Auto Accident Lawyer - Columbus, OH
Answered

The terms of her automobile insurance policy will dictate the insurance company's responsibility to her to defend against possible lawsuits. Without seeing the policy it is impossible to conclusively answer your question, but generally, the policy will provide an attorney for her.

Disclaimer: This does not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client relationship has been formed through this... more
Frank Wei-Hong Chen

Frank Wei-Hong Chen

Litigation Lawyer - San Marino, CA
Answered

If your wife is a named insured under your insurance policy, the insurance carrier has a duty to defend and indemnify her. There may be exclusions and exceptions in the insurance policy, so it is not possible to give you a definitive response without having studied your policy.

Frank W. Chen is licensed to practice law in the State of California. The information presented here is general in... more
John Morelli

John Morelli

Car / Auto Accident Lawyer - Voorhees, NJ
Answered

Please specify why your insurance company will not defend her. There has to be a valid reason, such as the fact that she was not a licensed driver or not listed on the policy. Even if she was not listed on the policy, she may have been a permissive user which entitles her to coverage and a defense. I would suggest reviewing with a competent attorney any disclaimer from the insurance company and not just accepting that they can do so. Insurance Companies, and yes the one with the lizard as its spokesman, will do anything to get out of paying and it is not always the right decision.

Matthew A. Dolman

Matthew A. Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer - Clearwater, FL
Answered

I would need to see a copy of the policy to determine whether there are any issues outside the norm. However, the insurance carrier likely has a duty to defendd your wife and indemnify her.

This advice should not be construed as forming an attorney-client relationship.

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