Your auto insurance has a liability limit of $100,000. You get in an accident and the other party sues for $500,000, but is willing to settle out of court for $100,000.
Your insurance company refuses to settle and goes to court, hoping for a lower verdict. In doing so, it puts you personally at risk of an excess verdict — a verdict in excess of the $100,000 policy limit. If the jury decides to award the other party $3 million, you are personally liable for all but $100,000 of the verdict.
FAILURE OF DUTY TO DEFEND: EXCESS VERDICTS AND INSURANCE BAD FAITH
When an insurance company has an opportunity to settle a coverage dispute within a policy’s coverage limits, but fails to do so, it puts the personal assets of its policyholder at risk. This is a form of insurance bad faith that stems from the insurance company putting its own interests ahead of the interests of its policyholder.
An excess verdict can wipe out your personal assets — home, car, retirement savings, and everything else — because your insurance company believed it had nothing to lose by putting its own interests ahead of yours.
An insurer’s failure to defend a policyholder who is sued by a third party can also result in an excess verdict — and financial ruin for the policyholder.
If your insurance company has refused to settle a claim or failure to defend a lawsuit resulted in an excess verdict, contact the California insurance bad faith attorneys of Shernoff Bidart Echeverria LLP today.
We show insurance companies they have plenty to lose when they act in bad faith. Our lawyers have won verdicts and settlements worth millions of dollars against insurance companies who take advantage of individual and commercial policyholders.
We are the firm other attorneys turn to when faced with a particularly large or complex insurance bad faith case.