When a person is injured, many questions come up. If the injury is through no fault of the injured, then we must make an effort to find out who is or could be responsible for the injuries. Many times, there are several different entities or people that could be responsible for the harm. An experienced attorney will be able to search high and low to “hook” any available insurance coverage.
For example, a person who is injured by a delivery truck driver should hold several people responsible. One should be the truck driver and the other should be the company the driver works for or the company he was transporting the load for. That is the bare minimum. Others may have some liability as well but a thorough investigation needs to be performed.
The person or entity that is legally responsible for an injury is called “a tortfeasor.” The tortfeasor is legally liable or responsible to the injured party for any and all damages caused. The tortfeasor usually has some sort of insurance to cover or “indemnify” them for the damages caused. Therefore, the insurance will pay for any damages and pay for any lawyers to defend the tortfeasor. The simplest example is a car accident. The insurance company will pay for any damages they are legally required to pay as a result of the insurance contract or policy they have with the tortfeasor. The tortfeasor pays the insurance company premiums (cash payments) each month in exchange for the insurance company defending or indemnifying the tortfeasor for any crashes the tortfeasor is responsible for. If the insurance contract does not cover the situation in which the injury occurred, then the insurance company is not legally required to pay and the tortfeasor will have to cover the damages out of their own pocket.
Most injuries are covered by either homeowners’ insurance or auto insurance. It is important for your attorney to quickly make a decision on whether homeowners’ or auto coverage applies so he or she can put the tortfeasor and the correct insurance company on notice. There are many instances where insurance will not cover the tortfeasor—“exclusions” is what these are termed in an insurance policy. This can be an issue because there are roadblocks to collecting a judgment against individuals. It is far better to attempt to collect against an insurance company. If an insurance company is telling you their client is not responsible or no insurance coverage applies, you should contact an attorney who is well-versed in insurance law immediately.