Understanding The Relationship Between the Defendant, And Its Insurance Company
If you are in an accident and attend any kind of hearing or deposition in your case, you may notice that it isn’t just the defendant that is present. There is also an adjuster there. In fact, you may hear your own personal injury attorney talking about the defendant, the insurance company and the adjuster—often, seemingly, interchangeably.
So what’s going on? What exactly is the role of the insurance adjuster, and his or her relationship to the defendant and your case?
Liability Insurance and What it Does
To understand, you first have to understand the nature of liability insurance (this all is applicable in almost any type of insurance, but since in personal injury cases it’s mostly liability insurance that comes into play, we’ll explain in context of that).
Liability insurance agrees to pay any damages that their insured may have caused. So, when someone hits you in their car or when a doctor injures you or when a store or property is dangerous, it is the liability insurance that covers (pays) any money that the other side owes to you.
But insurance isn’t going to pay for what their insured did without having a say in the case and in its defense. So, liability insurance not only pays damages that its insured causes or owes, but it also pays for and provides the attorney for the insured.
The Attorney With Multiple Roles
That means that the insurance company’s attorney represents the party being sued—the defendant—but is hired by and paid by the insurance company, even if the insurance company itself is not a named defendant in the case.
The attorney for the defendant has to balance the needs of both his or her actual client—the named defendant—along with the insurance company, which is actually the one directing the litigation.
So, for example, it is the insurance company that will determine what motions to file, whether to challenge one of your experts, or what settlement dollar figure to offer to you to resolve the case.
The Insurance Adjuster
Because the insurance company is the one paying the damages to you if awarded, and the one paying the lawyer, the insurance company is often present at all procedures, all the way through trial, through the insurance adjuster.
The insurance adjuster is the one who evaluates the case, and communicates with the Defendant’s lawyer, on behalf of the insurance company, and is the one who directs the insurance company’s lawyer.
Making this even more complex, this trio—insurance adjuster, attorney and actual defendant—is if there is one defendant. In cases with 2 or 3 or more defendants, you can multiply this number. The amount of decision makers, parties, and individuals involved in decision-making in the case for the defendant can get extraordinarily complex.
Call the West Palm Beach personal injury attorneys at Pike & Lustig today to understand what will happen in your injury case.