Most people question the intent of the person who injured them. Some assume that the person intended to harm them by behaving intentionally. Others assume that the person was negligent. And others still assume that there was no bad intent at all. Whether a person behaved negligently or intentionally, however, can determine whether there is any insurance coverage for your case. This will determine whether you will recover from your personal injury.
Intentional Acts Are Usually Excluded From Coverage
In most auto and homeowners insurance policies, intentional acts are not included in the coverage clause. There is also usually an exclusion for intentional acts that harm others. Let me briefly explain what that means.
Insurance policies cover certain events that create liability for you. So if you injure another, the insurance company will pay on your behalf. So for an auto insurance policy, that would cover all accidental injuries that arise out of your use of a vehicle. That is called the coverage clause.
For every coverage clause, there are numerous exclusions that say, while this is generally covered, this specific thing we will not cover. Those exclusions could be for workers’ compensation injuries, or for personal injury that arises out of the use of a vehicle provided for your regular use. Pay attention to these things in your policy because they say what is not covered.
Insurance companies deny coverage when the personal injury arises as the natural and probable consequence of a person’s intentional act. First, an intentional act is not an accident. Second, the intentional acts exclusion will typically kick out any remaining coverage.
Recovering Without Insurance Coverage Is Difficult
If you’ve been injured by the intentional act of another, then that person is liable to you for damages. However, that person may not have the resources to pay your damages. This is the difficulty in assigning blame to another for an intentional act. If it was intentional, all the more reason that the person should pay for the damages. That notwithstanding, insurance companies are not in the business of insuring intentional conduct.
Instead, you will have to look for the assets of the person who injured you. If the person has real estate, bank accounts, etc. then you can try and collect your judgment. In most situations, though, the defendant is broke and what we call judgment proof. If that is the case, then most lawyers will not take your case.
Negligence Is Covered By Insurance
Contract intentional conduct with negligent conduct. Insurance policies almost always cover negligence. Indeed, negligence makes up the vast majority of personal injury cases. This is likely because personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. Unless there is money to recover lawyer would receive no compensation for doing the work. Alternatively, there are some lawyers who will do that type of case for an hourly fee if the client is willing to pay. Most people don’t have that kind of cash reserve to win a paper victory. As a result, government lawyers try these cases in the criminal courts with little to no compensation to the victim.
It is important to know how to classify the defendant’s behavior both in pre-litigation and in litigation. Preparing these personal injury cases properly helps keep these exclusions from becoming an issue. Here is an example of one such case.
If you’ve been injured through no fault of your own, give us a call or send us a message for your free case strategy session.