Monday, January 28, 2013

What Happens When there are 6 Accident Victims and Only 1 Insurance Policy

   What happens when there are 6 victims in the same car accident and there is only one insurance policy covering the responsible driver.  Unfortunately, this happens.

   In the past, attorneys representing each accident victim would race to be first to the insurer with the result being that, after the first 2 claims, there was no more insurance.  The insurance had been exhausted and the remaining victims were left out in the cold.

   In a case,  Williams v. GEICO, published last Friday, January 25, the Alaska Supreme Court established a new rule.  Instead of settling the cases which raced to the courthouse first and then closing their file, insurers are now required to attempt to resolve all claims if possible.    What does this mean for accident victims.

1.   If you are in a serious accident, you still need to be represented by a lawyer sooner rather than later.  Otherwise, your interest is not represented.

2.   If insurance is limited, it is possible that the insurer (or a court) will prorate the insurance according to each individual's losses.  In this case, you will need to present your losses for purposes of securing a maximum, albeit inadequate, recovery.

3.   You will need to carefully examine all other sources of insurance.  Most often this additional insurance will be found in Underinsured Motorist coverages applicable to the vehicle, in your own name, and in the name of other household members.

4.   You will need to determine  whether the limits of multiple insurance policies can be stacked.

You have to play your hand smartly and it gets complicated quickly.  See