Auto Accidents Newsletters
Automobile insurance policies may have a clause that requires an insured to disclosure information to his or her insurance company that would allow the insurance company to determine if there is a valid defense to a claim against the insured. This disclosure obligation, which could be part of an insurance policy’s cooperation and assistance provision, requires the insured to make a truthful disclosure of all information reasonably requested by the insurance company.
When an automobile accident occurs, there can be many causes. Some causes can make a car distributor or manufacturer liable for the injuries and damages in an automobile accident case. For instance, a manufacturer can be liable for damages caused by its failure to exercise reasonable care in the design of an automobile.
Limit of liability clauses, otherwise called limits of liability clauses, generally provide that an insurer’s total liability to a particular claimant arising out of a specific occurrence will be limited to an amount set forth in the policy, despite the specified limits of any other coverage or coverage on any other vehicle.
A plaintiff in an automotive products liability action is generally required to prove that a motor vehicle as sold contained a defect in its design, in the way in which it was manufactured or assembled, or in the failure to warn of a risk inherent in its operation that created an unreasonable risk of death, personal injury, or property damage when the vehicle was used for its intended purpose and that the defect caused an accident or similar incident, such as a vehicle fire, that resulted in the loss or damage for which the plaintiff seeks to recover damages. Because proof of the existence of such conditions does not involve passing judgment on the conduct of the manufacturer, but merely on the status of the vehicle as sold, the plaintiff in such a case can ordinarily recover only his or her actual damages, which can include economic losses and damages for non-economic losses based on the jury’s determination of the dollar value of the pain and suffering resulting from the accident. Sometimes, though, the manufacturer’s conduct in dealing with the alleged vehicle defect becomes an issue in the case, and the plaintiff may then attempt to recover punitive damages in addition to the actual damages suffered.
An automobile insurance policy can contain a clause that requires an insured to obtain the consent of the insurance company before settling a lawsuit with an uninsured motorist. Some states require the consent-to-settle clause by statute. In the absence of a statutory requirement, many courts have upheld consent-to-settle clauses. Those states that do not enforce such clauses often cite public policy. They fear that an insurance company will be able to avoid paying its share of uninsured motorist coverage by failing to consent to a settlement. Other courts find that such clauses can reduce settlements by creating another step for the insured take.