Is it necessary to go to court?Written by Maui Reyes
In United States, personal injury claims are given a statute limitation of two (2) years before claim is outlawed. Within this period, one must obtain a lawyer and file a case before going to trial in court.
Most people find this quite a hassle. Hiring a lawyer takes not only a lot of money, but also demands a considerable amount of time and energy to set up meetings and, of course, show up in court. Because of this, many clients resort to “settlements”, or dealing with case before going to trial.
Of course, this doesn’t mean settlement happens “outside of court”. This only means that cases are settled “before going to trial”, meaning case has already been filed. 99% of cases filed in court often reach a settlement before trial.
Settling before going to court can be tricky. Oftentimes people make wrong move and get a lower settlement price, or lose more money because they refused to settle. Settlement usually happens when a date is set—a courtroom and judge are already scheduled, and case is ready to go to court. This is when defendants usually consider to settle, in case they feel they are risking more if trial pushes through.
What to do when an insurance company breaches its contractWritten by Maui Reyes
With so much paperwork given to you by insurance companies, most people tend to overlook exactly what their contracts are about.
It is part of insurance law that any ambiguity or uncertainty in choice of wording in a contract will be resolved in favor of policy holder, and not insurance company. This often works in favor of policyholder when it comes to pointing fingers in court, but not all time.
Most policyholders tend to have their own interpretation of contract. Unfortunately, judge doesn’t care about policyholder’s understanding of wording. In court, “plain meaning” is what judge looks at. “Plain meaning” is how an ordinary citizen or common reader understands text, and not how policyholder, insurance company, or lawyer interprets it.
While courts do not necessarily interpret a contract at expense of policyholder experiencing a loss, it does not give leeway for “misunderstandings” of plain text by policyholder.
Which is why contracts must be free of any ambiguities for both insurance company and policyholder. Whenever exclusions or limitations are stated, they must be stated very clearly. Oftentimes, insurance companies fail to fully explain these limitations to their clients, resulting in them successfully denying certain coverage when there is a loss. It is insurer’s policy to explain contract to client, especially if he is not aware of his rights or if he does not know if he is getting what is due fully his. However, insurer is not required to tell him adequacy of insurance amount he selected. Keep in mind that when a contract contains provisions that are in favor of company, court will deem this unconscionable, and may refuse to enforce such provision.