This blog post by personal injury and wrongful death lawyer Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, a Gwinnett County law practice based in Lawrenceville, Georgia, addresses how a plaintiff obtains the defendant's insurance coverage information to begin negotiations.
Automobile Insurance Companies
The easiest cases to begin negotiations with an insurance company for an at-fault party are car accident and trucking accident cases. Why? There is typically a Georgia motor vehicle accident report and the other side's insurance policy number is listed in the report. It is a simple matter of contacting that insurance company and then sending a letter of representation which demands the policy information. Such a letter typically will cite O.C.G.A. § 33-3-28(a)(1), which requires the insurance company to provide, upon request of the plaintiff, within 60 days of the request, and under oath, the following:
- disclosure of each known policy of insurance issued by it, including excess or umbrella insurance,
- the name of the insurer,
- the name of each insured, and
- the limits of coverage.
Homeowners Insurance Companies
When an injured person has a claim against a homeowner, the process can be somewhat more complicated. When a person is injured because of the negligence of a homeowner, sometimes there may be no official report written by law enforcement such as there is in car accident cases. Even when an incident involves a police response, the homeowners insurance information is not something that gets reported like in car accident cases where the information has to be provided.
A Georgia personal injury attorney will often send a letter to the homeowner demanding the insurance information similar to what is sent to auto insurance companies above. Georgia law requires under O.C.G.A. § 33-3-28(a)(2), that an insured person or company shall "within 30 days of receiving a written request from a claimant or the claimant's attorney. . .disclose to the claimant or his attorney the name of each known insurer which may be liable to the claimant upon such claim." The statute, however, does not provide a remedy to the claimant if the homeowner does not comply. The practical effect is that often the only way to get that information if a homeowner does not comply and you do not know the insurer is to file a lawsuit. That often results in the homeowner's insurance company getting involved quickly and responding to the statutory requirement of a plaintiff obtaining the information through discovery.
Other Tortfeasors/Liable Parties
When a business or some other liable party is at fault, the process is similar to the process with homeowners claims. However, larger businesses will often have in-house counsel or will at least obtain counsel upon receiving a demand for insurance information pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 33-3-28(a)(2). There is also typically a registered agent to send such a demand to and the understanding of the need to comply with the law. If there is no response then the result is often an earlier than usual filing of a lawsuit much like with homeowners insurance cases.
If your or a loved one have been injured by the negligence of another in Georgia, please contact Gwinnett County based personal injury and wrongful death lawyer Richard Armond at (678) 661-9585 for a free consultation.
Attorney Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, handles serious personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia. He is licensed to practice law by the State Bar of Georgia and is based in Lawrenceville, one mile down the road from the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center. Call him today for a free consultation at (678) 661-9585. The information above is for informational purposes only as of the date of publication and should not be relied upon as legal advice, nor does the reading of it form an attorney-client relationship. Always consult directly with an attorney for legal advice.