In most New Orleans personal injury lawsuits, the majority of the work involved in defending the case will be conducted by the defendant’s insurer and its attorneys. While both injured clients and the general public are sometimes concerned about causing extreme financial hardship to a defendant who – while negligent – did not intentionally cause injury, insurance coverage frequently protects defendants from such hardship.
Both the defendant and the injured party have an interest in having the defendant’s insurance company involved. For the defendant, insurance coverage provides protection to his or her personal assets when being sued. For the injured person, the presence of insurance often means that more money is available to compensate him or her for injuries and other damages.
Based on this strong public interest, Louisiana law generally favors keeping the insurance company involved in personal injury lawsuits. For example, insurance companies are required to defend personal injury lawsuits brought against an insured person. For the insurance company to avoid involvement, all of the claimed actions that have led to the injury must unambiguously fall outside of the terms of the policy. If one claims falls – or may fall – within the policy’s coverage, the insurance provider must accept defense of the entire lawsuit.
If the insurance provider later uncovers facts indicating that it can deny coverage, but continues to conduct the defense without taking steps to inform the defendant and protect his or her rights, it waives its right to later assert non-coverage under the policy.
Also, while the insurance company is generally free to handle the defense of a personal injury lawsuit at its own discretion, it is required to not only consider its own interests, but also the interests of the insured person. This generally means that, to the extent reasonable, an insurer is required to attempt to resolve a case in a manner that avoids exposing its insured’s personal assets.
All this means that, in most cases, your personal injury attorney will be dealing with an insurance company and its hired attorneys, not the defendant directly, when pursuing a personal injury lawsuit.
If you have suffered a personal injury and have any questions regarding this topic, please feel free to call us at 504-581-6411 or 855-GERTLER.