A direct-action lawsuit is a legal claim in which an injured party directly sues the insurance company of the at-fault party. In states that permit direct-action lawsuits, this process allows the injured party to sue the insurer directly instead of the party that caused the accident.
While Georgia law generally bars injured victims from suing insurance companies, commercial truck accidents are an exception to the rule. Our Georgia truck accident lawyers may consider a direct-action lawsuit in certain situations. Here’s what you need to know about these special lawsuits:
What Is a Direct-Action Lawsuit?
A direct-action lawsuit is a legal claim filed directly against an insurance company rather than the policyholder.
Typically, in personal injury cases, the injured party pursues compensation from the negligent party’s insurance company. If the insurer refuses to offer a fair settlement, the injured party typically files a civil lawsuit against the negligent party.
In some cases, the at-fault driver or their employer may not have enough assets to fully compensate you for your losses. However, their insurance company may have high policy limits that could cover your damages. A direct-action lawsuit allows you to pursue recovery directly from the insurer up to the policy limits.
When Can This Kind of Lawsuit Be Filed?
These lawsuits are permissible in certain truck accident cases where the negligent policyholder has little or no assets for an injury victim to recover. Certain conditions generally must be met for an insurer to be sued directly:
- The policyholder must be deemed liable for the accident and your damages.
- The policyholder must lack sufficient assets to compensate you fully.
- State law must allow these lawsuits against insurers.
- The insurance policy itself cannot prohibit direct actions.
An experienced personal injury attorney can advise if suing the insurance company is warranted in your case based on these criteria.
Georgia Law Regarding Suing a Motor Carrier’s Insurance Company
Georgia’s direct action statute is outlined in O.C.G.A. § 40-2-140 and § 40-1-112. According to the first statute, any individual with a “cause of action” holds the right to include both the motor carrier (trucking company) and their insurance company in the same legal proceeding.
The second statute provides that any person who has a legal cause can initiate a lawsuit directly against both the motor carrier and their insurer.
This implies the ability to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible truck driver, the trucking company, and the insurer specified on the truck’s registration.
Advantages of Direct-Action Lawsuits
Direct-action lawsuits present distinct advantages that can significantly impact the efficiency and outcome of a personal injury case. By understanding these advantages, plaintiffs can better navigate the legal landscape and pursue compensation more effectively.
Streamlined Legal Process
One of the primary advantages of a direct-action lawsuit is the streamlined legal process it offers. Instead of pursuing the at-fault party and their insurance separately, a direct-action lawsuit allows the injured party to target the insurer directly. This can lead to a more efficient resolution of the case.
Direct-action lawsuits hold the insurance company directly accountable for the negligence of their policyholder. This approach can be particularly beneficial when dealing with complex cases or when the at-fault party’s insurance company attempts to evade responsibility.
By bypassing the need to establish liability against the insured, direct-action lawsuits can lead to faster settlements. This option is especially advantageous for plaintiffs seeking timely compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.
While direct-action lawsuits offer numerous benefits, they are not without challenges. Insurance companies may vigorously defend against such claims, employing various tactics to minimize payouts.
Potentially Large Payout
In general, naming an insurance company as a defendant in a truck accident case tends to significantly influence jury decisions, often leading to higher compensation awards for the injured plaintiff.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
Suing an insurance company requires in-depth legal knowledge. An experienced car and truck accident attorney can help navigate the complexities of this legal approach.
Here’s how they can help:
- Investigate the accident and confirm policy details.
- Determine if a lawsuit meets state legal requirements.
- Submit evidence establishing liability and damages.
- Negotiate with insurers for a fair settlement.
- Fight for you in court if needed.
- Ensure you recover the maximum damages you are rightfully owed.
If a truck driver caused your injuries, consult a personal injury lawyer about your legal options. With the right legal representation, you can hold insurance companies accountable while avoiding drawn-out legal processes.
Contact John Foy & Associates for a Free Consultation
At John Foy & Associates, we understand the complexities of personal injury law, including the intricacies of direct-action lawsuits. With over two decades of experience, our team of dedicated attorneys is committed to ensuring our clients receive the compensation they deserve.
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident and want to explore the option of suing the insurance company directly, our experienced truck accident lawyers are here to help. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss the details of your case and your legal options.