If later an injured passenger in the other car sues me, can I 'urge' my insurance co to offer to settle it within my coverage limit? (I don't think I am at fault, but say I just prefer a quick settlement to move on...) If my ins co insists that I am not at fault at all and refuses to settle, and finally it goes all the way to the trial, and somehow the jury award the plaintiff more money than my limit, can I sue my ins co for bad faith and let them cover the whole amount?
You ask two questions here and the answer to both is yes. You can encourage the insurance company to settle, but they have ultimate control. If they abuse that control and you end up with a judgment against you over the policy limits that could have been avoided with an offer within the policy limits, you have a potential claim for bad faith. Often people in your position assign that claim to the injured party to pursue, since they are the ones likely to benefit from it.
Talk to a lawyer who works solely for you if you think your insurer is not evaluating the case properly.
First, let me express my sincere regret that you are having to endure this difficult situation You have quite a few issues here and should have an attorney experienced in this type of claim review your documentation, such as the police report, and discuss what options you may have. I have personally dealt with many other California claims such as this one. You should understand that having proper representation can protect your cause of action and your right to compensation for your injuries and damages suffered as a result of this unfortunate accident. Best of luck to you
It probably would have behooved you to seek out legal counsel prior to the conclusion of the jury trial where the jury has ruled in favor of the Plaintiff as against you. If your insurance carrier had the opportunity to settle within the policy limits, and refused to do so, you may have a bad faith claim against your insurance carrier. In this case, generally you can assign your claim to the Plaintiff in exchange for a full release. Or, in the alternative, you could pursue your claim. You really should find out if the Plaintiff made a policy limit offer prior to trial.
The car accident in which a person is rear-ended is called a "rear ender" by personal injury attorneys. This little nickname is a result of our desire for these kinds of cases as liability (meaning who is at fault) is almost always a slam dunk... the driver who plowed into the back of the care is almost always at fault. If the driver of the rear-ended car is physically harmed, then the case is probably not going to be about "winning" but how much will be "won."
The victim of a rear-ender needs to do the following: First - immediately get medical attention. Second - hire a personal injury attorney. We personal injury type lawyers offer free consultations and take cases on a contingent (meaning our client does not pay unless he or she "wins" money).
There's a lot of misinformation and misunderstandings out there about fault and how it's determined for a motor vehicle accident either car v. car or car v. person or whatever.
There's some generalities that usually hold true, with exceptions, such as the pedestrian has the right of way and the dude who does the rear-ending is the dude at fault... but fault is only determined in two arenas... the Court or an arbitration proceeding... that is it... the rest can be considered opinions... sometimes quite persuasive opinions, but opinions none the less
Should one find himself or herself having to fight against an opinion of fault, he or she should use the insurance he or she has been paying handsomely for… as they will probably not agree… but sometimes one’s own insurance company is doing the accusing… in which case he or she may have to hire one of us personal injury attorney types to get the matter before a judge.
And, in conclusion, for those that read this far… Since many of us personal injury types offer free consultations and take personal injury cases on a contingent basis, there really is nothing to fear in calling us.
Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D.
Attorney at Law, Physician, Broker
Fransen & Molinaro, LLP
980 Montecito Drive, Suite 206
Corona, CA 92879
www.fransenandmolinaro.com / www.888MDJDLAW.com
"When you need a lawyer, call the Doctor... Call Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D... Call (888)MDJDLAW."
* This post and all others I make on Internet are for informational purposes only. None of the information or materials I post are legal advice. Nothing I post as comments, answers, or other communications should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. While I try to be accurate, I do not guarantee accuracy.
Under the terms of your automobile insurance policy, your carrier most likely retained sole discretion to investigate, settle or defend your case. Given this discretion, many court's have found that insurance company's owe their insureds a duty of good faith and fair dealing, and a responsiblity to exercise reasonable care in evaluating and resolving cases within their insureds' policy limits. You need to contact personal counsel at your earliest opportunity as they will be able to review your insurance policy, the facts of your case, and advise you as to your best course of action.
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