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Personal Injury

Insurance changes the tone of litigation

Having an insurance policy behind a defendant in a civil lawsuit increases the likelihood of a happy ending for litigants, Toronto personal injury lawyer J.-C. Rioux writes in Lawyers Weekly.

In the article, Rioux describes a scenario he’s encountered often in his career: an individual that was in a car accident is served with legal papers years later, and doesn’t know what to do.

“The answer is painfully obvious to people who do insurance litigation,” writes Rioux, partner with Brauti Thorning Zibarras. “Give the statement of claim to your motor vehicle liability insurer. They will appoint a lawyer to defend you, they will pay the lawyer’s fees, and if there’s a settlement or judgment, they will pay that too, at least up to the policy limits, and very few claims are worth more than the policy limits.”

If there’s a policy of insurance behind the defendant, writes Rioux, “then there is a very good likelihood that if your client wins, they will get paid. If you’re acting for a defendant, finding a policy of insurance usually prevents the outcome of the litigation process from being economically ruinous for your client.”

The presence of insurance changes the tone of litigation, the report says.

“So how do you find the insurance? Fortunately, it’s everywhere,” writes Rioux. “If you have a mortgage on your house, the bank requires that you keep the property insured. Ordinary homeowner’s insurance policies can solve all kinds of awkward situations. Tree roots grow through a foundation wall, two young men horse around at a party and someone breaks a leg, or someone slips and falls on an icy walk and the homeowner’s policy creates a happy ending. The defendant isn’t economically ruined and the plaintiff gets paid.”

Often, the article says, finding an insurance policy that will answer a claim is the key to a positive result for a client.

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