Articles Posted in Insurance Issues

California insurance companies may try to avoid defending personal injury claims against an insured by arguing that the conduct does not fall under the insured’s policy. This can greatly reduce a plaintiff’s chance of recovering for their injuries, because many defendants do not have adequate resources to fairly compensate plaintiffs for their injuries.

The California Supreme Court recently decided a case in which an insurance company argued that it was not required to defend a negligent hiring claim against an insured arising from an alleged sexual assault.

The Facts of the Case

A woman alleged that a construction company negligently hired, retained, and supervised an employee that she claimed had sexually abused her. She alleged that one of the construction company’s employees sexually abused her when she was a 13-year-old student while the employee was working on a construction project at her school. The construction company’s insurer argued that it was not required to defend the construction company in that suit. The insurer’s commercial general liability policy provided coverage for bodily injury that was caused by an “occurrence,” which the policy defined as an “accident.” The insurer reasoned that because in this case the employee intentionally injured the woman, the incident was not an accident, and thus was not covered under the policy.

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Of all of the types of California car accidents, hit-and-run accidents routinely generate the most questions among accident victims. To start, fleeing the scene after being involved in a car accident is against the law. Depending on certain circumstances, a hit-and-run accident can be graded either as a misdemeanor or as a felony. However, regardless of the grading, a criminal prosecution likely will not result in any victims of a hit-and-run accident being provided with compensation for their injuries.

To receive compensation for injuries sustained in a California hit-and-run accident, a motorist may file a claim with the hit-and-run driver’s insurance policy, if he was located by authorities. However, if the driver was not located, an injured motorist can file a claim with their own insurance policy under the underinsured/uninsured motorist clause. It is important for motorists to read their insurance policy closely because there are strict time limits imposed by the policy language that, if ignored, may result in the insurance company denying a claim.

Another important point for California accident victims to understand is that insurance companies routinely deny coverage or offer reduced compensation to accident victims in hopes of settling the case for as little compensation as possible. In these situations, it is imperative that an accident victim consult with a dedicated California personal injury attorney to discuss their case and devise a plan of action to ensure that they receive the compensation they are entitled to obtain.

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When someone is injured in a California car accident, the initial focus is on recovering from the physical and emotional injuries caused by the accident. However, once those heal, the financial stress of the accident begins to set in. Often, an accident victim has missed work and has mounting medical expenses that must be paid.

In the vast majority of car accident cases, one of the parties involved has car insurance that can provide compensation for a victim’s injuries. Indeed, under California law, all motorists are required to carry a certain amount of liability insurance to cover the costs of an injury that the driver causes. This mandatory coverage, however, does not necessarily cover the costs incurred by the insured if the at-fault driver does not have insurance. For that type of protection, uninsured motorist protection must be purchased.

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Protection

As noted above, the bare-bones insurance requirement in California does not mandate that a driver insures against an accident caused by an underinsured or uninsured motorist. However, all insurance companies are required to offer this type of insurance. Uninsured motorist insurance protects drivers and passengers in the event that the at-fault driver does not have insurance coverage or has inadequate coverage limits to fully compensate an accident victim for their injuries.

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