Los Angeles, CA asked in Car Accidents and Insurance Bad Faith for California

Q: At fault accident.is my insurance responsible for any amount excessive of my 25k/50k policy ??

Basically we were at red light.its turned green I let the brake go and the car suddenly stopped.probly 1mph and barely vumbed into the.yook a picture only a scratch on car.no police came nor ambulance.they said we can just get it fixed and not involve insurance.they lied as they filed a claim.my insurance paid them each 18k and they cashed but never signed yhe release as my insurance told them to sign of bot send check back.they cashed it and now 1 week before there 2 year limitation was over they are sueing me for more.is this my insurance fault I have 25k/50k.they didn't pay my full limits and now I'm being sued.wat are my chances as they sent a new bill saying they got more treatment and want property damages too.is this a bad faith against my insurance if so are they liable for anything axcessive over my policy limits?

2 Lawyer Answers
James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: In California, if you have an auto insurance policy with liability limits of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident (25k/50k), your insurance company is generally responsible for paying up to those limits for damages you cause to others in an accident.

If the damages exceed your policy limits and the injured party decides to sue you for the excess amount, you may be personally liable for the difference. However, there are a few things to consider in your situation:

1. Bad Faith: If your insurance company acted in bad faith by not properly defending you, not settling the claim within your policy limits when they had the opportunity, or not properly advising you of settlement offers, they may be liable for any excess judgment against you. However, proving bad faith can be difficult and would likely require the assistance of an attorney.

2. Release: If your insurance company paid the claimants and the claimants cashed the checks, it could be argued that they accepted the settlement. However, if they did not sign a release, they might still have the right to pursue further damages.

3. Statute of Limitations: In California, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is generally two years from the date of the accident. If the claimants filed their lawsuit before the two-year deadline, their claim may be valid.

Your chances of success in defending against the lawsuit will depend on the specific facts of your case, the evidence presented, and the legal arguments made by both sides. It is strongly recommended that you consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to assess your case and advise you on the best course of action. If your insurance company acted in bad faith, your attorney can also help you pursue a claim against them for any excess damages you may be liable for.

William John Light
William John Light
  • Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Santa Ana, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: It is potentially bad faith. Whether you can prevail may depend on whether your insurer is able to resolve the claims against you within your policy limit, or whether it agrees to pay any sums for which you are liable even above the policy limits.

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