Insurance Law - Things to consider when you are being sued for more than your insurance coverage
Commercial & Insurance Law
I was sued for more than $1M because of a car accident? What
does this mean and what do I do?
Samfiru Tumarkin LLP www.stlawyers.ca
I am often asked these questions. I receive phone calls from people panicking because their
insurance company wrote them that they had been sued for more than their “third party liability
limits” and should consult with a lawyer regarding the excess amount. So in a fearful and stuttering
voice they ask me: “What does this mean? What am I going to do? What should I do?” The answer
depends on the context of each situation. In general, it means that you could theoretically be on
the hook for money if the claim is eventually deemed to be worth more than $1M. In other words, if
the case ends up at trial, and a Court ultimately decides that the value of the claim is, for example,
$1,5M, you would be personally responsible for $500,000. This is a frightening prospect for anyone
and you should be concerned. But wait, it’s not the end of the world.
If you called me with this problem, I would immediately schedule an appointment to review the
letter, the Statement of Claim, the police report or self-reporting collision report, and any other
document in your possession that relates to the accident. At the meeting, I will review all of these
documents and provide you with my initial opinion as to whether the threat to you is real or not.
I will immediately assess whether you are in real danger or just theoretical danger. In many cases
I find that the amounts claimed are nowhere near the true value of the claim. I then work with the
insurance company and the defence lawyers appointed by the insurer to limit or eliminate the threat
to you of an over-the-limits claim. Depending on the circumstances, I am able to achieve this without
significant costs to you. When I cannot, I work alongside the defence lawyers appointed by the
insurer to assess and minimize your exposure.
Remember: Your insurer is not your friend. The adjuster assigned to your case simply tries to save
money for the insurance company. That is the reality; it is their job, and they do it well, often at your
expense. You paid good money for an insurance policy that would give you peace of mind. If your
insurer fails to protect you, we will make sure that they do.
For More Information,
Sivan Tumarkin of Samfiru Tumarkin LLP (Toronto, Ontario)
416-216-5910 / firstname.lastname@example.org / www.stlawyers.ca