Woodland Hills personal injury lawyer Barry P. Goldberg is asked this question all the time—why won ’ t the insurance company for the driver that hit me disclose the available policy limits information ? The insurers ’ continued refusal to cooperate and disclose is often viewed as “ fly-by-night ” by car accident victims. ironically, the insurers ’ firm refusal drives likely clients to lawyers in order to find out this relatively simpleton and frequently time benign information. recently, I handled a sheath in which State Farm, the nation ’ mho largest car insurance company, refused to follow the law in this area.
Consider that most drivers in California maintain the absolute minimum measure of indemnity. The limits for the minimum are barely adequate in about 50 % of all accidents. That means it is very crucial to determine whether the at fault driver has those low limits right away. A careful accident victim will consider equally soon as potential 1 ) whether his Underinsured Motorist limits will apply ; or 2 ) whether aesculapian treatment and property damage repair should be minimized. It is standard practice in California for the insurance company to send a written request to its insured ask for license to disclose limits information.
sometimes insureds award permission—sometimes they do not. Whether to grant such permission is a hot topic and interview we see on social media sites with big frequency. My advice is always the same—disclose the data. It may avoid a lawsuit against you.
The insurers traditionally have analyzed the issue completely top down. The insurers argue that if a claimant learns that the at blame driver has large limits, he will unnecessarily incur extensive and unnecessary aesculapian care in order to take advantage of the opportunity to obtain a larger colonization. Back in the 1980 ’ second, the fight over disclosure of policy limits was heatedly contested and litigated resulting a final decision that everyone ( almost ) abides by. See, Griffith v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. ( 1991 ) 230 Cal.App.3d 59.
As will be discussed more amply below, it is my opinion that Griffith unilaterally brokered a feasible solution that is based on fairly dubious reasoning. here is the abruptly drumhead of the Griffith hold. Prior to the charge of an actual lawsuit, an injury victim is not entitled to the adverse driver ’ s insurance information—–unless, the adverse driver agrees to provide the information. After a lawsuit is filed, the insurance company must disclose the data and consent from its insured is not needed. The court reasoned that the cover ’ s privacy rights outweighed the victim ’ mho right to know up and until the clock time of filing a lawsuit :
“ similarly, once a lawsuit has been filed, and therefore the likely claimant has demonstrated a unplayful claim is being asserted against the see, courts have recognized that an adverse party has a “ ‘ ascertainable sake ’ in [ the other party ’ s ] indebtedness insurance which arises with the ‘ very pendency’ of the action against the assure ; that therefore, the universe and policy limits of the [ insured ’ south ] liability insurance are relevant to the discipline matter involved in the personal injury action…. ” ( Pettie v. Superior Court, above, 178 Cal.App.2d at p. 683, 3 Cal.Rptr. 267, stress added ; Laddon v. Superior Court, above, 167 Cal.App.2d 391, 334 P.2d 638. ) The courts have acknowledged that the disclosure of the information will facilitate the settlement of the pending controversy. ( Pettie v. Superior Court, above, 178 Cal.App.2d at p. 689, 3 Cal.Rptr. 267. ) however, this right to know arises upon the pendency of the suit. ” ( Griffith at pp. 69-70. )
I would argue that the “ very pendency” of a real claim should be the trigger particularly in a state absolutely loaded with “ underinsured ” motorists.
Ironically, the case determining the absolute correct of claimant ’ south to obtain such information from the adverse insurance company involves State Farm. My holocene experience with State Farm is that caller broad, State Farm will not voluntarily disclose policy limits information even after a lawsuit is filed contrary to Griffith vs. State Farm!
In truth, an insurance company ’ mho failure to voluntarily disclose policy limits information rarely impacts the way we handle our cases. If an insure refuses to allow its insurance company to disclose policy limits, we write a letter telling the insurance company to inform its see that if they do not disclose, we will immediately file become and the insurance company is obligated by law ( Griffith ) to disclose the data with or without their consent. Guess what ? They constantly disclose !
As for State Farm, I will seek a judicial determination that its conduct is adverse to law at the first opportunity that it is presented ! If you have questions about the adverse driver ’ mho policy limits, I advise that you consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer that will not take “ no ” for an answer ! About the generator

Barry Goldberg

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