Sometimes an insurance company will not release the policy limits because they have not been able to obtain the consent of their insured (the at fault driver). In this situation I always file suit. Shortly thereafter, you will be able to determine the applicable policy limits.
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In Michigan, the policy limits are discoverable. Additionally, there are other potential sources for recovery. Your friend's estate needs to be opened and a claim made. Depending on your relationship to your friend you may, or may not, have an interest in this action. You need to consult with an attorney.
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Yes, the insurer will do everything in their power to be cloak and dagger with their limits because they don't want to pay them, period. I have even had adjusters play this game with me. You file suit and obtain their policy, including any umbrella policies that may cover this horrific loss to your friends family.
There are excellent 10.0 rated attorneys on avvo would be happy to explain the rights to your friend's family.
I am sorry to hear of your friend's death and your loss.
All 3 previous answers are correct. But here are a couple additional suggestions:
if the case is going to be settled pre-lawsuit communicating with the insurance company who insured the defendant, you must make sure you are getting the insurance company of BOTH the driver and the owner of the vehicle, if they are different individuals, and you should demand a certified copy of the declaration page of the insurance policies, as many adjusters tend to "mispeak" when verbally disclosing what a policy limit is. Finally, keep in mind that settlement will almost always shut down the possibility of additional contribution of personal assets by the negligent individual who caused the death. In some circumstances, there is significant additional recovery that can be made for the estate of the deceased. For example, my law firm was involved in the double death caused by a former Detroit Lion who was a lottery selection and had millions of dollars in personal assets but was driving a car with minimum policy limits, and I have been involved in cases of doctors with million dollar homes driving cars insured with $50,000 policy limits. So, it is always appropriate to have at least a preliminary asset check performed on the driver and owner (as Michigan has an owners liability statute) of the car involved.
An attorney can open the estate, file suit and then send discovery requests to obtain this information. Short of this, your friends family may have trouble getting the information, and, more importantly trusting the information provided.
In your other posting you maintain that this was a company car, thus, the limits are immaterial as company is on the hook. Find a lawyer with a low contingency fee, less than 30%, so you are left with the lion's share of the settlement, not the lawyer. Good luck.
Only 29% Contingency Fee! Phone: 215-510-6755 www.InjuryLawyerPhiladelphia.com
There is no requirement for the insurance company to release the policy limits in Michigan without filing a lawsuit and serving them with interrogatories to find out what those policy limits are . Additionally, even when you follow procedure they often try to omit the Umbrella Policies. That is why our offices have specific interrogatories that demand this information. If they do not provide it we file a motion to compel and get a court order from them. We can get you this information during the initial part of the litigation known as "discovery". It sounds like the liability is clear-cut in your case, but the insurance company always tries to make it a dispute. It is important to have an experienced law firm that does wrongful death cases. We have handled wrongful death automobile cases for almost 30 years. You can see our website if you click www.seriousautoaccident.com
We will offer you a free consultation in this matter if you chose to contact us. Good luck you.
You should consult an attorney in your State at once. This response does not constitute legal advise outside the State Of Michigan and is not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship with our offices. It is for informational use only of the general laws in the State of Michigan, only. To retain our offices, you need to sign a contingency contract with us. We do offer free consultations and we can refer clients to lawyers in your State if you call us. Visit our webpage and tell us what you think. www.schnitzerlaw.net
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