Personal Injury/Bad Faith

Asked over 1 year ago - Santa Clara, CA

I was in a motorcycle / auto accident 1 . 5 years ago ( I was the automobile ) . The motorcyclist seemed fine but a witness at the scene convinced him to call an ambulance . I believe the motorcyclist was at fault but the police issued me a ticket for an illegal right turn ( which I didn't contest ) . I had 15k coverage . The motorcyclist has an under insured policy of 30k . Motorcyclist was working to get a settlement from my insurance company but my insurance company wouldn't pay the full 15k as well as his property claim where he said he lost a necklace during the accident . The man got frustrated and hired an attorney . Plaintiff is now claiming he tore his rotator cuff and my insurance attorney thinks it could be a suit worth 100k . I have no assets , any options besides bankruptcy ?

Attorney answers (12)

  1. Bradford Charles Brereton

    Pro

    Contributor Level 12

    21

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Yes, you should consult your own personal injury or insurance attorney right now and without delay. It is possible that your insurance company has failed in its obligations that it owed to you, and that you may be able to pursue the insurance company for bad faith breach of insurance contract. Our firm is experienced in those matters. We have offices in Santa Cruz and San Jose. There is no charge for calling us to talk about the case.

    Brad C. Brereton
    (831)429-6391

    In all cases it is advisable to consult an experienced attorney. Nothing stated herein is intended as legal advice... more
  2. David J. McCormick

    Contributor Level 20

    20

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Given your facts you need to hire your own attorney to protect you and set up a bad faith case if this matter goes south on you.

    Good luck.

    DISCLAIMER: David J. McCormick is licensed to practice law in the State of Wisconsin and this answer is being... more
  3. Sean Michael Patrick

    Contributor Level 16

    18

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Your insurance company will likely be on the hook for the excess judgment. If they refuse to pay a judgment in excess of the policy limits, you have a vaild claim for bad faith. Consult with an attorney that deals with bad faith claims if you get a judgment that the insurance company refuses to pay. Best of luck.

    I am licensed in California, therefore, my answers are based on general prinicpals of law or California law, which... more
  4. Jeffrey Ira Schwimmer

    Contributor Level 19

    19

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I would follow Mr. Brereton's advice. An insurance company has an obligation to act in good faith to settle claims, where the facts and evidence warrant, so as to avoid personal exposure to its insured. In short, if all of the available documents, etc., indicated that you stood exposed to a liablity verdict against you, and that the claim presented an exposure in excess of your $15K policy but the carrier could have settled the case for the policy limits; their refusal to do so might be considered "bad faith" and makes the carrier liable to pay any damages in excess of your policy limits that you become entitled to . How easy or hard its going to be to prove "bad faith" in your situation is dependent on the documents that they carrier had available at the time it could have settled the claim for the $15K. You should consult with an attorney such as Mr. Breretion as soon as possble.

  5. David B Pittman

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    18

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You need to meet with your attorney right away and see what they can do to protect you. Your insurance company should also be working to defend you with this. I would get legal advice before you declare especially if you have assets.

  6. Paul J Molinaro

    Pro

    Contributor Level 17

    16

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . When someone pays for X dollars worth of coverage, one expects (and has contractual rights to) X dollars worth of coverage. Should an insurer not pay out X dollars in a situation where such an amount is proper. that insurer breaching its obligations - acting in "bad faith" as we attorneys say. Such a breaching insurer could then be found liable for the entire amount of the claim - or up to the value of that insurance company whichever is less.

    Someone who is being kicked around by his or her insurance company should seek a bad faith insurance lawyer to kick back.

    - Paul

    Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D.
    Attorney at Law, Physician, Broker
    Fransen & Molinaro, LLP
    980 Montecito Drive, Suite 206
    Corona, CA 92879
    (951)520-9684
    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.
    ** Fransen & Molinaro, LLP practices in the areas of personal injury, medical malpractice, and real estate law.

    Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D. ... Attorney at Law, Physician, Broker... Fransen & Molinaro, LLP... 980 Montecito... more
  7. Jeffrey Mark Adams

    Contributor Level 20

    16

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Your insurance company is using you as a pawn and taking advantage of this injured person; seems to me. What bothers me is that you are judging this person without knowing all the facts. I suggest you speak with a local and qualified personal injury attorney. Good luck.

    Personal injury cases only; I'm good at it; you be the Judge! All information provided is for informational and... more
  8. Jonathan Craig Reed

    Pro

    Contributor Level 16

    12

    Lawyers agree

    Best Answer
    chosen by asker

    Answered . I cannot be sure from what you have written that your own insurance company is on the hook for bad faith damages if there is a judgment against you in excess of your insurance. But this is a strong possibility.

    Ask your insurance company attorney if your insurance company will pay for you to hire independent counsel. If they will great. (And I believe they have to.) If they won't, reach into your pocket and hire your own attorney.

    Your own attorney will then attempt to make a deal with the plaintiff's attorney along these lines: Plaintiff will never try to enforce any judgment he might against you personally. In exchange you assign your rights of bad faith against your insurance company to the plaintiff. Then you can sit back and let the plaintiff and your ins. co. fight it out.

  9. Robert Bruce Kopelson

    Contributor Level 20

    12

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Your ins co will not pay for you to consult with a lawyer in this situation. If they were unreasonable in refusing to settle when they could have for 15k, they may be on the hook for any over the limits judgment and other damages you may sustain. I would suggest you not file Bk at this point. The documents all need to be reviewed. Has suit been filed? I have practiced in San Jose for 34 years and may know the pltf atty. Perhaps the atty can be persuaded to acept the 15 policy if your co is willing to pay it. You need to consult with an atty independent of your carrier, asap.

  10. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    13

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Luckily, Brereton has offered to help. Good luck.

    Only 29% Contingency Fee! Phone: 215-510-6755 www.InjuryLawyerPhiladelphia.com
  11. Kevin Coluccio

    Contributor Level 20

    10

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Contact and consult with a personal attorney.

  12. David Thomas Dorer

    Contributor Level 12

    10

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You may have a claim for bad faith insurance litigation. You can assign the right to sue your insurance company, if the right arises, to the injured plaintiff in exchange for a release of liability for the excess judgment.

    You should get your own personal injury attorney with experience in bad faith litigation.

    Answers to questions does not create an attorney/client relationship. I only am your attorney if I have entered... more

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