Early last year, I was involved in a collision with a motorcycle. The police report ruled in the motorcyclist favor and my insurance company is accepting liability (15 per person). The claimant (in/from Canada) has made a bodily injury claim; the result of the accident was a sprained ankle. My ins co. told me they have lawyer and they want me to release my policy limits.
Although I am quite frustrated to be informed that because of the police report, they are ruling in her favor, it has been a while and I want to move on with my life. I am not sure whether I should release the policy limits. I am also not sure how to protect my assets (wages, etc). Also she has no medical ins. How much do you think a sprained will cost? She had it treated when the emergency vehicle came out.
From my bodily insurance rep: "Unfortunately, I can’t advise you one way or another on whether or not you should agree to release your policy limits information as that would be construed as providing legal advice. However, regardless of whether you allow for me to share your limits information with the Plaintiff, my objective is to settle this claim and get a signed release from them."
General Practice Lawyer
Don't you have an insurance defense attorney? Run these issues by him or her. If you do not, make sure the insurance company is geting a release of all claims against you in exchange for payment. That will put an end to any concerns you have about a claim against you personally!!
In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship. You are not to rely upon my note above in any way, but insted need to sit down with counsel and share all relevant facts before receiving fully-informed legal advice. If you want to be completely sure of your rights, you must sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney to be fully aware of your rights.
It appears that you have several questions. First with respect to releasing information about your policy limits in my opinion you should follow the recommendations of your insurance company. If your insurance company wishes to pay your policy limits than that is a decision you should allow them to follow assuming they will get a release of all claims. That is something that you should address with your insurance carrier.
With regard to "protecting your assets" you should consult an attorney on that issue. Assuming your insurance company sells the claim against you and gets a full release, then extensively your personal assets would not be at risk.
With respect to the issues related to the cost of medical treatment I cannot give you any insight on that issue.
Again you should discuss the entire matter with your insurance company and private counsel if necessary.
I wish you the best of luck
The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. I am only licensed in the State of California and I am not providing you with specific legal advice. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Being general in nature, the information provided may not apply to any specific factual and/or legal set of circumstances and/or the jurisdiction where you reside. No attorney-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied. The information provided is of a general nature is not intended to substitute for the advice of an attorney, especially an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. Your question, although you may believe is simple, it is not simple. You require legal advice, please consult with a competent attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.
Your insurance company needs your authorization to disclose your policy limits. By giving your authority, you will allow them to notify the claimant the amount that is available on your policy to satisfy her claim. In most cases, it is to your advantage for the claimant's attorney to have this information. If your policy limits are not disclosed, the claimant will have to file a lawsuit against you to obtain the information. You don't want this.
With the limited information provided here, it is difficult to predict the value of a sprained ankle. A lot will depend on the type of treatment the claimant obtained, what pain and limitations she suffered, and the medical expenses she incurred. Your insurance company is in a better position to evaluate these issues and will not pay anything that is not warranted by the facts.
This response applies only to California law, is not intended to be legal advice to any individual and does not create an attorney-client relationship.
If you company pays the policy limit, they should get a release from the person/people they pay, so you are done with the cas, meaning no threat to any assets.
Every situation is different, and good legal advice cannot be given based on a short question without an exploration of all the facts that may bear on your situation. This is not legal advice and no attorney-client relationship has been established.
Donald laid it out well
I suggest you do what your insurance company has requested, release your minimal policy limits. This may discourage suit against you. If your company settles the claim, they will obtain a release of your liability and everything will be over.
As an aside, you are very seriously underinsured for this day and age. I suggest you consult with an independent insurance agent and review your coverage needs. What if you had paralyzed this motorcyclist? You could be losing your income, savings and your house.
If this information has been helpful, please indicate below.
Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.
This ans. does not create an attorney/client relationship.
Personal Injury Lawyer
My colleagues have provided you with a large amount of very good advice. Like them, I do not see any reason not to give the policy limits to the other party. As long as they get a final Release of All Claims so that you will not be sued for any other amount, you have nothing to lose. Your insurance carrier should provide you with a defense attorney should the other party file a lawsuit against you. Let them handle it for you and do not worry. Best of luck.
Mr. Crosner is licensed to practice law in California and has been practicing law in California since 1978. The response herein is general legal and business analysis.. It is not intended nor construed to be "legal advice" but rather it is analysis, and different lawyers may analyze this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.
Personal Injury Lawyer
Provide it. They can force the disclosure by filing suit. If you wish to avoid suit and try to get the case settled, the pltf needs to know your ins limits.
Donald did lay it out well. If you want get the case resolved then you probably should disclose the policy limits. Policy limits are generally discoverable after filing suit anyway. If suit is filed you will be assigned a defense lawyer. It sounds like you would like avoid protracted litigation. Good Luck!
If this motorcyclist files a law suit they will immediately learn your policy limits. I can't think of any reason for not disclosing it. This is where you need to trust your insurance company. I would also suggest you immediately increase your insurance limits. The difference between a 15/30 policy and a 30/60 policy is only a few dollars more.