Frequently Asked Questions About Accidents
The State of Washington requires all drivers to carry liability insurance, which provides a level of compensation to injury victims as the result of accidents caused by the insured. Liability insurance requires the insurer to defend their client (the driver accused of causing an accident), and to pay, if their client is found liable, up to the specified limits of the insurance policy. As a result, in most motor vehicle lawsuits, an insurance company will be involved on behalf of an insured driver.
Understanding the Difference Between the Obligations of Your Insurance Carrier and the Insurance Carrier for the Other Driver
Here are the key distinctions between insurance companies in a vehicle accident:
- The insurance company of the other driver.
The insurance company of the other driver cannot be sued directly by an injury victim. The duty of such other insurance company is to defend the other driver and to pay any settlement or judgment that is within the limits of the insurance policy. Normally, because the other insurance carrier will be on the hook for any payment, they will be actively involved in litigation and settlement discussions, which means that they can generally be expected to take whatever actions they believe to be prudent in minimizing their liability.
They do not have to be fair to you, as their only obligations are to the other driver that they insure. Our role as your attorneys in a vehicle accident is to build a strong case and proof against the other driver and to show opposing counsel how their client will be better off by accepting your settlement offer (if you choose to make one) than to go to trial and potentially lose more money. If the defendants are unwilling to settle, we take them to trial.
- Your insurance company.
In Washington, your insurance company is generally required to pay certain damages immediately following an accident, such as the cost of treatment and vehicle damage. If you have uninsured/underinsured insurance coverage, your insurance company is required to pay (up to the applicable policy limits) for certain damages that you and others in your vehicle sustain which are not paid by the at-fault driver. For example, if you are injured by an uninsured motorist who does not have any money, in addition to paying for vehicle damage and medical bills, if you have uninsured/underinsured coverage your insurance company may also be required to pay you for other forms of compensation, such as lost wages and pain and suffering. If your insurance company fails to do so, we can represent you in a lawsuit against your insurance company, which may include bringing an action for insurance bad faith.
Please Call Us Today to Learn More About the Role of Insurance Companies in Personal Injury Lawsuits
We offer a free, no obligation consultation so that we can learn about your case, and so that you can learn how we may be able to help. We typically represent clients on a contingency fee basis, so you will not owe us any fees unless we recover for you.