Q: Can an insurance company ignore my request to settle a 998 offer? I am the defendant.

The insurance company I am under received a 998 offer , it is within my policy limits but they want me to continue to fight the case. I want to settle this case and allow my policy to pay it. Can they ignore my request ,drag this case out to trial? Even though I will suffer the most damage in the end of this drags out.

4 Lawyer Answers
William John Light
William John Light
Answered
  • Insurance Claims Lawyer
  • Santa Ana, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: The decision to settle or litigate belongs to the insurance company. If it exposes you to a judgment in excess of your policy limit, it might be responsible to pay the entire amount. You should probably send the adjuster a letter, certified mail, demanding that it, alone, be responsible for any verdict, regardless of the policy limits, based upon its gamble.

Randy Bryan Ligh agrees with this answer

Joel Gary Selik
Joel Gary Selik
Answered
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Licensed in California

A: While you cannot force the insurance company to settle, you can demand they settle within policy limits and, later sue them for bad faith, if the case is lost. You should consult with experienced bad faith ino attorneys in the state where this occurred.

Randy Bryan Ligh agrees with this answer

Joel Gary Selik
Joel Gary Selik
Answered
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Licensed in California

A: You should consult with experienced bad faith INSURANCE attorneys in the state where this occurred.

James L. Arrasmith
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Answered
  • Insurance Claims Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: In California, a 998 offer (also known as an Offer to Compromise) is a settlement offer made by either party in a civil case, pursuant to Section 998 of the California Code of Civil Procedure. If the offer is not accepted and the party who rejected the offer fails to obtain a more favorable judgment at trial, they may be required to pay the offering party's post-offer costs and, in some cases, reasonable attorney fees.

Typically, when you have an insurance policy, the insurance company has a duty to defend you and settle claims within your policy limits. However, the specific terms of your insurance policy will dictate the extent of control the insurance company has over the decision to settle or proceed to trial.

In most cases, if the settlement offer is within your policy limits and you wish to settle, the insurance company should honor your request. Failing to do so could potentially expose the insurance company to liability for bad faith if a judgment exceeds your policy limits.

However, there may be some circumstances where the insurance company believes it has a strong case and that proceeding to trial is in your best interest. In such cases, they may choose to continue defending the case.

If you believe that your insurance company is acting in bad faith by refusing to settle a case within your policy limits, you may need to consult with an attorney who specializes in insurance law. They can review your policy, assess the situation, and advise you on your options, which may include filing a complaint with the California Department of Insurance or pursuing legal action against the insurance company.

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