Personal Injury Tracking for Paralegals: Insurance Coverage/What To Get From Your ClientElaine Jensen
November 30, 2016 — 1,498 views
It is critical to determine any and all potential insurance coverage that could be applicable in your client’s personal injury claim.
First, determine what applicable insurance coverages your client has through their own insurer(s) such as: health insurance, disability insurance; uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (auto cases) and medical payments coverage (auto cases). When setting up the meeting, you should ask your client to bring insurance cards and/or policies if they have access to them, so that you can obtain copies of that documentation when they come in for the meeting. Additionally, if your client has received any correspondence from any of their insurance providers in relation to this specific claim, they should bring that with them as well. Insurance cards, policies or correspondence with the insurers should provide you with all of the information you will need to identify just what coverages the client has available.
If, at the accident occurred, your client was in the course of his/her employment, you will need to identify the employer’s name, address and worker’s compensation insurer.
Next, you will need to determine what liability coverage is available to your client. In an auto accident case, the liability carrier is often listed on the accident report, or your client may have already received correspondence from the liability carrier. If so, you can simply correspond with that insurance carrier to inquire as to the coverage available. In the claim stage, the liability carrier may or may not advise as to the amount of coverage. It is not uncommon that the insurer wants to get an idea of what the claimed damages will be before advising of the coverages available.
If there is no liability insurer listed on the accident report or there is no accident, and your client has not been contacted by the liability carrier, you may need to contact the responsible party and inquire as to their applicable liability carrier. This can generally be done with a simple letter identifying who you are and who you represent, and asking the responsible party first if they have insurance and second, to forward the information to their insurance company. In most situations you will either be advised that there is no insurance or will be contacted by the appropriate insurer. In extreme cases, you may be required to file a lawsuit naming the responsible party in order to obtain the insurance information. This only occurs very rarely, but there are instances where it is unavoidable.
Axley Brynelson, LLP