When named as a defendant in a lawsuit, the natural instinct of most people is to panic or despair. Faced with the possibility of having a judgment entered against them and the equally daunting prospect of dealing with the legal system and having to pay for an attorney even if they win, most people understandably worry about what will happen to them, their family, and their overall well-being. Even a relatively minor civil lawsuit can cost thousands of dollars to defend before a judgment or settlement is even reached. This can be debilitating to many individuals and families, especially with the economy in a continued slump. What many people do not realize is that in many instances, they may already have the means to protect themselves.
Many homeowner’s insurance and renter’s insurance policies have a general liability provision that can provide liability coverage in the event of a personal injury or general tort claim. These policies cover legal costs and liabilities up to a certain level. The coverage will often apply to any tort claim filed against the policy holder, though each policy will have different limitations and exclusions of coverage. If the insurance carrier agrees to provide coverage it can mean the difference between financial stability and financial ruin, saving the insured thousands of dollars.
One of the questions we ask every client who comes to usin these types of situations is whether they have filed a claim with their insurance carrier yet. Often people are not even aware that they may be covered; they simply assume that because their home was not damaged, or because an injury might not have occurred at their home, they are not covered. This is not always the case. At worst, the insurance carrier will review the matter and deny coverage. While that is never the answer you want to hear, it leaves you in no worse position than you were before the claim was submitted. In short, any downside to submitting a claim is minimal, while the potential benefits are considerable. For that reason alone, always remember to check with your insurance carrier if you are sued; the answer may save your family’s financial future.
For more information or to speak with us, please contact us in Ann Arbor at 734-665-4441, or in Ypsilanti at 734-483-3626. To learn more about Pear Sperling Eggan & Daniels, P.C., or any of our attorneys, please visit us at www.psedlaw.com.