When there are serious accidents and serious injuries caused by a negligent person there often time is not enough insurance coverage for the injured party or their relatives in a wrongful death claim. What can you do?
I recently wrote an article about the liability of an employer when the employee injured someone in the course and scope of their employment. The case was City of Houston v. Lal, No. 01-19-00625-CV, 2020 WL 937026 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] February 27, 2020), where a police officer who was off duty but “on call,” and who was distracted from driving when he reached to answer a phone call that might have been a call to duty, was acting in the scope of his employment at the time of accident, therefore his employer the city of Houston was liable to the injured party. The fact that the police officer was “on call” probably increase the possible recovery by up to 10 times because many drivers only have personal car policies with coverage of $25,000.0 or $30,000.00 while the city of Houston could be liable for up to $250,000.00. This case reminded me that there are probably hundreds if not thousands of injured persons who never find out that the person who hit them was actually in the course and scope of their employment or were “on call”, because their lawyers never properly investigate the claim.
Unfortunately, many care wreck lawyers are not very diligent in finding this additional source of money for their clients. When there are too many clients it is difficult, if not impossible, to research diligently each case to determine what other parties or insurance is available to the injured client. There are many cases where someone is killed in an automobile accident and the negligent party only has $30,000.00 in coverage for their personal automobile. The injured persons lawyer talks the client into taking the $30,000.00 to settle the claim by telling them that this is all the money available. Unfortunately, in many of these case the other negligent driver was “on call” for his employer and there could have been millions available to cover the damages of the injured person and/or their family if only someone had taken the time to investigate the claim better. You must understand that it is not the insurance company on the other side’s responsibility or duty to find additional insurance to cover your claim. It is your lawyers duty to do that and you should make sure you have a lawyer who will represent you diligently.