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The Real Defendant in a PI Case

Imagine you are driving your car. It is raining and you suddenly need to stop your car, so you slam on your brakes but fail to stop in time and rear end the car in front of you. The passengers inside the car you hit are seriously injured. It is a tragedy, but one that occurs everyday. You accept responsibility for the collision; after all you were at fault. You certainly did not mean to hurt anyone and you sincerely pray for a speedy recovery for the injured passengers.  You have car insurance for these situations, you assume they will take care of it and do the right thing.

Months later you receive a Summons to appear for a civil lawsuit filed against you. The injured passengers are asking you to pay their medical bills. “Why didn’t your car insurance pay them?” you wonder. A few months later you find yourself in court. The injured party is asking for $50,000 to pay their medical bills, and to compensate them for their injuries and lost wages. You carry $100,000 of car insurance specifically for this reason. Why hasn’t your insurance company just paid for the damages you caused? After all, you don’t disagree with the injured parties position, you were at fault. You certainly don’t object to compensating the passenger for his injuries and the adverse affects on his health. This is exactly why you pay your insurance payment each month!

 

In Indiana, the jury is not allowed to know that the party denying the injured persons their benefits is in fact an insurance company and not the named defendant. The insurance company has complete discretion to deny payment of a claim, and drag you into a stressful, time-consuming lawsuit. Most of us carry insurance, and are required by law to keep a car insurance policy if we drive a car. We assume that the policies we spend money on every month will take care of the damages from our mistakes. In reality, insurance companies have very little regard for anything other than their bottom line. They take your money each month, then use their vast resources to fight against paying out any claims, going so far as making you testify in front of a jury about the rain, the injured person’s previous lawsuit, anything so that the innocent people you hit with your car will be forced to pay their medical bills from their pocket.