- Your insurance company has a duty to pay up to your purchase limits to settle any claim against you if they can;
- Even when your insurance policy does not have enough coverage to cover the damages, the insurance company still has a duty to defend you against any claim or lawsuit;
- You have a duty to cooperate with your insurance company under the terms of the policy in order to be covered.
This may sound like complex lawyer mumbo-jumbo. As a former insurance defense attorney, I represented the insurance companies against personal injury claims for many years. Insurance policies are required by law provide different coverages and different benefits under the terms and conditions of the contract. Most people think of insurance as just something they buy because they must in order to drive a car. But insurance policies are somewhat complex and provide different benefits. They contain different responsibilities for the insured drivers themselves. In this blog I will break down the duty of an insurance company to pay on your behalf if you are at fault as well as the duty of an insurance company to defend you against damages and liability following an accident that could potentially be your fault.
Every insurance policy contains different provisions. One major provision is the duty to pay on your behalf up to your state of limits. This is what most people think about when they think about their insurance. When you are at fault for an accident you have purchased insurance policy up to a certain limit. The state minimum limit in Nevada is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. Many drivers are driving around with this level of coverage. This is a very low insurance policy to cover personal injury accidents and $25,000 per person does not go very far in the event of a major automobile collision. When people are taken to the hospital because of an auto accident and sustain person injuries, the bills can quickly exceed these limits. Ambulances bills and hospital bill can be very expensive. If you are driving around with the minimum coverage and find yourself at fault for a severe accident-causing personal injury, your limits may not be enough to cover the damages. Your insurance company may send you a letter that states something like “Your automobile insurance policy limits may not be enough to cover the injuries and damages involved in your recent accident.”
Often this is a form letter that is sent out without careful review of the claim. If the injured party has already made a demand to settle their personal injury claim for inside of your policy limits, this letter should not be sent. The insurance company has a duty to try to settle every claim against you for your stated limits. If they choose not to settle the claim when an offer is made by the other side for your policy limits, they will be responsible for any judgment above your policy limits. However, if no demand is made and the other side will not settle for your policy limits, your insurance company will continue to defend you. And they will what is called in the law, indemnify you up to your policy limits. That means basically pay on your behalf a judgement up to your policy limits. That is why it is extremely important to maintain coverage that will protect you and your family.
The Duty to Defend
Separate and apart from the duty to indemnify in each insurance policy is the duty to defend. That is a duty that the insurance company maintains throughout the claims process even if they have paid your policy limits. Generally, they will not pay your policy limits without a release and they will continue to defend you. However, even if your policy limits are paid to the other side, if they refuse to execute a release and attempt to get a judgment personally against you for the excess damages your insurance company has a duty to continue to defend you against any claim or lawsuit to try to keep the damages as low as possible. That is part of their contract.
Your Duty to Cooperate
Is extremely important that you report any accident to your own insurance company right away. You have a duty to cooperate with your own insurance company during the investigation process so that they can obtain any information necessary in the event that they must step in to defend you for any reason. A lot of people think it was not my fault I am not calling my insurance company. In the state of Nevada, as we have discussed in prior blogs on TheOneLawyer.com talking about personal injury auto accidents, they cannot raise your rates when you are not at fault. That is codified by state law. When you are in an accident, regardless of whether people have sustained personal injuries because of the accident, it is important that you report the accident to your own insurance company. This allows them to investigate so they are ready in the event that a claim pops up, they have gathered information to defend you. If you do not cooperate with your insurance company, there is a possibility they may not cover you for your breach of contract when you have failed to report information to them. This is perplexing to many of our clients as they do not like to involve their own insurance company. We advise them that by law their rates cannot be raise and as their attorney we will make sure that the insurance company follows the law. At the law Offices of TheOnelawyer.com we have many years of experience representing insurance companies and handling contractual claims under automobile casualty policies. If you have been involved in a personal injury accident, call our office today as we will make sure you are protected and that you receive the compensation that you deserve for your personal injuries resulting from an automobile accident.
By contacting a lawyer immediately, you can receive the most money for your injury claim. At TheOneLawyer.com we will quickly obtain the report for you. Having worked in the insurance industry as an attorney for 9 years before opening our boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I reviewed thousands of insurance policies. With extensive experience in the insurance field, I can help you review your injury claim and maximize the money you receive in your pocket after your bills and fees are paid.
At TheOneLawyer.com, we are here to serve our community and provide legal services in the Henderson and Las Vegas area. We are a boutique law firm providing experienced and personal representation to injured clients. At the Law Offices of Laura Payne-Hunt, TheOneLawyer.com we provide professional and personal service to each and every one of our clients on various legal matters and have over 15 years of experience in reviewing insurance policies and in Nevada insurance law. If you have a question regarding any type of personal injury or paying your medical bills from an accident, please do not hesitate to call the offices of TheOneLawyer.com and speak directly to attorney Laura Marie Payne-Hunt, Esq. a Henderson Injury Attorney for over 15 years. Laura is recognized as one of Nevada’s Top 100 Lawyers. She has the experience and knowledge to obtain the maximum settlement you deserve. Please call our office if you or a loved one is injured. We can make sure that you receive the care you need and deserve and advise on how to preserve evidence.
At our office, we are experienced in helping injured victims get the compensation they are entitled to. Insurance companies never have the best interest of the injured person at the top of their priorities. They want to pay as little on every claim as possible. Having worked for an insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening my boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I have reviewed thousands of auto accident claims and policy provisions.
At the Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury law offices of TheOneLaweyer.com, Laura Marie Payne-Hunt and her staff are here to help you and your family in the event that accidents and tragedies occur. For any of your legal needs, do not hesitate to contact our Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury offices. TheOneLawyer.com is a boutique, family-owned law firm that specializes in helping injured people and the community of Las Vegas and Henderson Nevada with legal issues involving auto accidents, wrongful deaths, slip and falls, truck accidents, injuries to children, bicycle accidents, dog bites, product liability claims, and all types of injury claims. Please do not hesitate to call us anytime you have a legal question or you or a loved one has sustained an injury at 702-450-(HUNT) 4868 and text 24/7 at 702-600-0032.