Q: How can I ask the at fault drivers insurance company what their policy limits are without lawyer ?
I do have a lawyer currently, but they are not being transparent or giving me information. I am considering going with someone else. In the mean time , I want to know the at fault drivers policy limits. I have ongoing medical treatment and it is important to me to know what my case is potentially worth. Please do not tell me to consult with a lawyer. People are fully capable of negotiating themselves. I just need to know how to properly ask the insurance company to disclose insurance policy limits of the at fault driver.
I would first recommend you meet and talk with your lawyer. It is so important the lawyer-client relationship be one of trust and communication. The person you already hired owes you a duty to communicate regularly and work tirelessly to get you the best result.
At our office, we believe in regular communication with our personal injury clients. Our process starts with the new client interview where we spend considerable time with our client. Afterwards, we want to stay in contact throughout the medical treatment process so that we are a part of the client's effort to heal. I know you did not ask about the communication process but it sounds like the issue in your case starts at that point.
Your question specifically asks about discovering insurance policy limits. In Alabama, our discovery rules require the insurance company to disclose coverage limits if asked during the lawsuit. Of course, that requires you to file your case. However, many insurance companies instruct their adjusters not to disclose limits pre-suit. During the pre-suit negotiation process, a good lawyer can usually figure out the limits based on conversations with the adjuster. Also, we often have a pretty good idea of limits based on the insurance company as many companies tend to issue specific coverages.
I do disagree with your position on negotiation. In cases where the injuries are minimal, it may not make much difference who negotiates. I've written some articles on that issue. We usually do not accept cases with minimal care because the lawyer cannot improve the client's recovery. Anyway, that's again an issue your lawyer should honestly discuss with you.
However, in cases with substantial or serious injuries, a good lawyer can often add tremendous value. That value comes in several ways. A personal injury trial lawyer experienced with medical and vocational issues can often develop the claim much better. A personal injury trial lawyer with actual experience in court is often taken more seriously by the insurance company. You would be shocked at the differences in offers given to billboard lawyers unwilling to go to court versus lawyers who will go to trial. The insurance companies know which lawyers will go to court. It can make a big difference in my opinion.
You also mention that your treatment is ongoing at this time. I don't know your situation but the medical charges and potential subrogation may also be issues. Again, a good lawyer can often save their clients tremendous money while so many billboard lawyers simply neglect this issue. This can also be a big deal in negotiations and settlement.
Remember, insurance adjusters are professional negotiators and insurance companies want to pay as little as possible.
Attorneys are also professional negotiators with years of experience on values of cases, methods to get the most money and what to and not to say.
A: In Alabama, the at fault driver's insurance company is not required to disclose the amount of coverage their insured has in place. You can certainly make that request of the carrier simply by sending a letter or by a telephone call, but they are not required to disclose the amounts of coverage to you. However, in situations where there is limited coverage, i.e. the statutory minimum of $25k in place, and the injuries clearly exceed that coverage, carriers will often disclose the low limits in an effort to resolve the case. Now, if you file suit, you simply send an interrogatory asking the defendant to identify all applicable policies and the amounts of coverage and a request for production for a copy of the dec pages and they have to produce it. But that only applies in litigation. Good luck with your claim!
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