One of the more frequent questions/concerns I hear from clients who have been injured in a crash or other personal injury incident is “Who pays the damages?”. Oftentimes, in a personal injury lawsuit, clients are concerned about whether or not the person who caused the injuries (“the Defendant”) will have to personally pay out of pocket for the damages he or she caused or whether or not the lawsuit will bankrupt that person. It is a legitimate concern, but in almost all cases, we are able to assure them there is insurance to cover the complete loss.
Almost all cases involving personal injury will involve insurance coverage to cover the loss. For instance, in a car crash, there will most likely be car insurance, as North Dakota law requires insurance on all vehicles operated in the State. In a premises liability (i.e. slip and fall) case, there will most likely be insurance covering the property that applies. Therefore, there is insurance (or multiple insurance policies) that cover the loss, usually up to a certain limit (called the “policy limit”).
Insurance After A Lawsuit
Even in cases where the lawsuit is served and filed with the Court, insurance applies and is covering the attorney’s fees, costs of the suit, and any damages from the lawsuit for the person(s)/company you brought suit against. This is often confusing for the general public because in North Dakota we are not allowed to name the insurance company as a defendant. Additionally, as discussed in a prior blog article, if the case ends up at trial, in almost all cases we are not allowed to mention to the jury that the defendant(s) have insurance to cover the loss.
This often concerns clients who are afraid that the loss could bankrupt or financially ruin the other person/company when they didn’t intend for it to happen. However, rest assured while the lawsuit is against the person/company for their negligence, in most cases, there will be insurance in the background who is responsible to pay for the damages caused. After all, the purpose of insurance is to cover for damages you have negligently caused.
While the insurance company or insurance coverage is not mentioned in the lawsuit, rest assured, there is likely insurance money available to pay for all damages in the case. The insurance company, which was paid a premium from the other party, has a duty to make good on their promise to pay the fees/costs of the lawsuit, as well as the damages up to the policy limit of the insurance policy. This is why people get insurance, to protect themselves in situations where they negligently cause injury to others.
Each case is different, and this article only provides general information about how insurance usually applies in a personal injury case. The information contained in this article and on this website is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem you may have related to a personal injury case.
If you have a personal injury case in North Dakota, do not hesitate to reach out to our Personal Injury Team. You can contact us via phone at 701-297-2890, or send us an email through the contact form below.