Accidents can happen at any time and cause severe injury and monetary losses. In some cases, the accident will result in an insurance “policy limits demand” to the insurer covering the person or business responsible for your injury. In California, pending law changes will affect policy limit demands in Oakland and across the state. Please contact our Oakland personal injury attorneys if you need legal assistance involving policy limit demands after reviewing this article.
It is well understood in California that an insurance company should accept a reasonable policy limits demand when there is liability and damages exceed the policy. The concepts of good faith and fair dealing in insurance contracts require the insurer not to expose their client to personal liability if a claim exceeds policy limits.
California Code of Civil Procedure sections 999-999.5, which takes effect on Jan. 1, 2023, establishes critical statutory requirements for making policy limit demands in the state. The purpose of the new law is to lay out guidelines for using time-limited demands within insurance policy limits to settle civil injury lawsuits for auto, motor vehicle, commercial, and homeowner premises liability claims before filing suit.
A time-limited demand means the following, according to C.C.P 999 (b) (2): “an offer before the filing of the complaint or demand for arbitration to settle any cause of action or a claim for personal injury, property damage, bodily injury, or wrongful death made by or on behalf of a claimant to a tortfeasor with a liability insurance policy for purposes of settling the claim against the tortfeasor within the insurer’s limit of liability insurance, which by its terms must be accepted within a specified period.”
The California statute, Senate Bill 1155, sets the following requirements when a claimant makes a time-limited demand. The demand letter must have the following attributes:
When the insurance company receives the policy limit demand, it is authorized by the new law to ask for more information or clarification. Making such a request does not mean there has been a counteroffer or demand rejection. If the insurance company opts to reject the demand, the claimant must be informed in writing before the demand expires and the insurer must state its grounds for rejecting the demand.
If you were injured in an Oakland accident, you may be overwhelmed with bills and uncertainty. Perhaps you have lost months of income and have piles of medical bills on the table. What can you do regarding a policy limit demand in your case?
The Oakland personal injury attorneys Bracamontes & Vlasak, P.C., have the experience and knowledge to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact our personal injury lawyers for a complimentary consultation at (415) 835-6777. Our attorneys serve people who have been injured in Oakland, the Bay Area, and Northern California.
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