Car accidents can result in serious wounds and property damage. While injured individuals can pursue reimbursement from the drivers who caused the incidents, they frequently file claims with the motorists’ insurance companies as well. Insurers have a responsibility to examine claims promptly and, if applicable, make reasonable settlement offers; if they fail to do so, damaged parties may pursue claims against them. However, as explained in a recent judgment delivered by a Massachusetts court, such claims must often be fought after the claims against the negligent motorist have been addressed. If you were injured in a car accident caused by a careless driver, you should consult with a Massachusetts personal injury lawyer to determine your legal options.
The Case’s Details
The plaintiffs were allegedly driving on a highway in New Hampshire when they were struck by a car operated by the defendant. Both claimants were injured severely. The police investigating the accident decided that the defendant driver was at fault and issued him a citation for driving while intoxicated. Following that, the plaintiffs filed a claim with the defendant insurer, which was the firm that insured the defendant driver.
Despite the plaintiffs’ provision of a thorough demand package, the defendant insurance allegedly neglected to make an offer. As a result, the plaintiffs brought a lawsuit against the defendant driver and the defendant insurance, alleging negligence and unfair settlement practices. The plaintiff’s claims against the defendant insurer were thereafter severed and stayed by the defendant insurer.
Bringing a Claim Against an Insurance Company
The motion of the defendant insurer was granted by the court. The court agreed with the defendant insurer’s argument that separating the claims would save time and money by avoiding unnecessary judicial efforts and expenditures. Furthermore, it would protect protected information and work product from unwanted disclosure, preventing excessive prejudice against both the defendant driver and the defendant insurer.
Plaintiffs’ argument that, under Massachusetts case law, bifurcating the claims was unnecessary and that it was the preferred and customary practice to litigate such claims simultaneously was rejected by the court. Rather, the court explained that when a plaintiff asserts both tort claims against an insured party and claims against its insurer, as in the subject case, it is common practice to sever claims alleging the insurer engaged in unfair settlement practices and stay them until the claims against the insured party are resolved.
Finally, the court pointed out that the claims against the defendant insurance were premature because the defendant driver’s liability had not yet been established. As a result, the defendant’s motion was granted.
Speak with an Experienced Massachusetts Personal Injury Lawyer
People injured in crashes are frequently able to seek compensation from the at-fault driver and his or her insurer. If you were injured in a car accident, you should speak with an attorney about your options. Attorney John S. Moffa of the Law Offices of John S. Moffa can assess the circumstances surrounding your and aid you in seeking the full amount of damages recoverable under the law. You can reach Mr. Moffa through the online form or by calling 508-362-5554 to set up a meeting.