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How To Sue An Insurance Company In Small Claims Court
When suing an insurance company, there are many things to expect. Please understand that this is not necessary if your attorney has not yet filed a lawsuit on your behalf. In most cases, your attorney will try to resolve the claim directly with the insurance company before the suit is ever filed. If these efforts are unsuccessful, your attorney will usually file a lawsuit that will trigger several things that are discussed below.
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For example, once a suit is filed, the insurance company will almost always hire their own attorney to defend your lawsuit. Usually, the other attorney will send your attorney a written request to produce documents (called a “Request for Production”. Around the same time, you may be asked to answer certain questions ( called “Questions.” If this happens, your lawyer will give you a copy of these documents and ask you to gather documents and answer the questions.
Many users get very worried when they receive these requests. For example, you may not have some of the requested documents so you are not sure what to provide. Or, you are not sure how to answer the questions. With respect to the Production Request, you are not required to collect documents that are not in your possession or control. For example, let’s say you are asked to produce any medical reports within the last 10 years. However, you do not keep copies of your medical reports. Or, the records were destroyed when your home was flooded. You wouldn’t have to go to every physician you’ve seen over the past 10 years and ask for records. Again, all you have to do is give what you have in your possession and control. If you do not own or control the requested documents, you do not need to produce them. As for the interrogatories, your lawyer will usually ask you to fill out a rough draft answer yourself and then review them and help you prepare the final answers on your behalf. You should contact your attorney (or paralegal) if you have any questions or concerns when you receive these documents.
Once the lawsuit is filed, you can also expect the insurance company’s attorney to send you (and possibly your spouse) for a deposition. In lawyer terms, a deposition is simply the insurance company’s chance to ask you questions under oath before trial. This can be very scary for a client who has never been involved in this process before. Again, don’t worry too much if this happens in your case. First, your lawyer will spend some time with you explaining what to expect before the deposition takes place. this. Although your attorney cannot help you answer questions during the deposition, your attorney has the ability to counter certain questions and advise you whether or not they require you to answer them. . The most important thing to remember is that you swear, under penalty of perjury, to tell the truth before the deposition begins. The importance of telling the truth (even if you think it might hurt your case) cannot be overemphasized. You swear to tell the truth under penalty of perjury and you could be convicted of a crime for not doing so. This does not mean that you must volunteer information without being asked. Telling the truth and keeping your answers short without volunteering information (unless your attorney is asking the question) are the two most important ground rules for your deposition. Again, your attorney will discuss what to expect (and may send a letter explaining the process) before the deposition takes place.
Another thing to expect is that the insurance company (or their lawyer) will want medical reports, employment records or other documents from your doctors/employers, etc. history Or, your employer may be asked to produce your pay records if you are claiming loss of income as a result of your accident. Your attorney will usually receive a copy of these records as well. The insurance company may also check for records related to previous lawsuits, criminal activity, car accidents and emergency room treatment.
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Another thing that can happen once a lawsuit is filed is that the insurance company can hire a private investigator. The investigator can film you engaging in activity at any given time during your trial (and possibly before the suit is even filed). As long as they are licensed by the state and are not trespassing on your property, this is perfectly legal. Obviously, the insurance company will probably want to see what kind of activities you are involved in and maybe you will be truthful when asked about those activities. For example, you will be asked in your deposition if you have done any yard work since your accident. You confirm that you have not been able to do that because it causes you too much pain. However, your insurance company has a video of you mowing your yard with no apparent problems. Of course, this could seriously damage your credibility and could be considered untruthful even if you forgot. Again, answering questions honestly to the best of your ability when asked cannot be overemphasized. If a judge or jury thinks you’re a liar, they won’t be very sympathetic and may not believe you about other key aspects of your case.
In other words, the insurance company is going to spend a lot of time and effort looking for documents or information to help them defend your lawsuit. If they find any information that is inconsistent with your deposition testimony or the interrogation, this will certainly be used against you later. As noted above, it is extremely important to be truthful at all times regarding your case. And, if you have any specific concerns about responding to document requests or being subpoenaed, be sure to talk to your attorney first.
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