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WHEN YOUR CAR INSURANCE COMPANY HAS EXPOSED YOUR ASSETS, WE CAN HELP YOU.
By Lawrence E. Mittin, Esq.
You cause a minor rear-end collision while in traffic on the highway in 2016. Your insurance company tells you no worries, we have you covered. Fast-forward to 2018 and your insurance company sends you a letter stating that your policy is not large enough to cover the claim of the person you hit and as such, you will need to contribute to any settlement or you can hire your own attorney to help defend your assets. After you read this letter, you think what went wrong to cause you to have to pay money from your pocket when you have insurance? Your next thought is who is going to help me, as the company told you to get your own lawyer to protect your assets? While the answer as to what went wrong will take investigating, we can help in this unfortunate situation where your insurance company has exposed your assets.
Your insurance company has the contractual right to make all decisions as to any payments to a claimant under your policy. Any payment within the policy is the company’s money. This is the main reason people are sued for car accidents, because the company wants to control the payments made to accident victims by either denying claims or offering too little money. Insurance companies are very concerned about keeping their money.
However, as to your money and assets, insurance companies have a duty to protect you as an “insured” from any personal exposure beyond the policy. If you are facing personal exposure on a claim, normally it is because the insurance company was more concerned about its money than your money. Exposures are usually the product of mistakes by the adjusters, mistakes the insurance company is now shifting on to you, which is why you got the exposure letter.
In the typical exposure case, the company was presented with a time limit demand for your policy by the accident victim which the company chose to either reject and/or offer a lower amount of money. Since the demand involves the company’s money, normally insureds never know anything about demands/negotiations. While there is recent Nevada law on the duties of companies to inform insureds of policy limit demands, many companies do not adhere to the law at all or the companies will only provide limited information to the insured. The last thing a company wants is to have to involve its insureds in the process of responding to demands. Nobody likes to get sued. If the company were to inform insureds of demands while they were pending, most insureds would tell the company to settle the claim so they do not get sued. However, the policy is the company’s money and the decision to make payments under the policy is up to adjusters/managers of the company. As such, the companies do not want the insureds involved at all in the decision making as to payments under the policy.
When the company has failed to accept a time limit policy demand and an insured then Click to Continue
Staff Member Spotlight
Products Liability Corner
Air Bags – On June 11, 2014, the NHTSA opened a formal defect investigation (Preliminary Evaluation, P# 14-016) into Takata air bag inflators that may become over-pressurized and puncture during air bag deployment, resulting in injury to the driver and/or passenger. On February 24, 2015, the NHTSA upgraded and expanded its investigation to include various model year 2001-2011 motor vehicles, which contain air bag inflators manufactured by Takata. During the course of the NHTSA’s investigation and its review of documents produced by Takata, the agency discovered facts and circumstances indicating that Takata may have violated the Safety Act and its regulations. Takata failed to comply fully with the NHTSA instructions and thus were ordered to pay a $200 million dollar civil penalty over the course of five years to the federal government. The air bag recall is now a full-blown crisis with nearly 70 million vehicles in the US and 100 million worldwide recalled. The recall includes vehicles from Honda, Toyota, Mazda, BMW and Audi just to name a few. The see a complete list of vehicles with air bag recalls visit https://www.nhtsa.gov/recall-spotlight/takata-airbags.
Hernia Mesh – A hernia occurs when organs, intestines or connective tissue, breach a weak point or a hole in a muscle. This is often caused by some type of pressure such as heavy lifting or pulling. In order to repair a hernia, doctors often recommend a mesh patch to reinforce the muscle, close the hole and to reduce the likelihood of a reoccurring hernia. Hernia repair surgery is among the most common medical procedures done annually. Common complications after a mesh implant include: ongoing chronic pain, infections or abscesses, adhesive scar tissue, intestinal blockage/obstruction, organ perforation, allergic reaction, rejection of implant, foreign body reaction, mesh migration or erosion mesh shrinkage/contraction, dental problems, joint aches and pains, severe headaches, liver abnormalities and rashes. In May of 2016, Ethicon (a division of Johnson & Johnson) issued a voluntary recall of its Physiomesh Flexible Composite Mesh for laparoscopic use from the global market. The recall was initiated after two (2) studies revealed higher rates of hernias reopening and the need for more operations with the Ethicon mesh compared to similar hernia mesh. Other hernia mesh products named as defective include: Atrium C-Qur Mesh, Kugel Hernia Mesh, 3D Max Hernia Mesh, Perfix Plug Mesh, Ventralex ST Mesh patch, Sepramesh Patch, Surgipro Hernia Mesh and Paritex Plug and Patch System.