Here’s a common concern an individual who’s injured in a work accident in Philadelphia might have about proceeding with a lawsuit: “I don’t want to sue the business because I don’t want to put them out of business with a large verdict or settlement.” The truth is, this scenario is pretty unlikely. That’s because most work injury lawsuits will be “covered” under the at-fault party’s commercial insurance policy. In other words, any financial compensation that an injured worker obtains will probably come from an insurance company which provided a commercial or general liability policy to the insured business.
In this article, our Philadelphia work injury lawyers discuss how commercial insurance applies to work accident lawsuits and explain how these types of claims work.
Financial Compensation for Work Injuries – The Role of Commercial Insurance
Most businesses are either required by state/local law or have contractual obligations to obtain commercial general liability insurance. For example, a business seeking to lease a building is required by the landlord to get a commercial liability policy. If it’s not mandated by law or by contract, businesses will purchase a policy to protect itself from legal claims that stem from operating the business.
These types of insurance policies cover acts of negligence on the part of the business; that’s why they are known as general liability policies. A grocery store, for example, will purchase a commercial insurance policy that protects the business owner if someone sues the business for a fall accident that happens in the store due to the negligence of a store employee. The same goes for most businesses, such as those in the construction industry or the industrial/manufacturing industry.
How the Insurance Claim Process Works for a Work Injury in Philadelphia
The insurance claims process for a work injury claim in Philadelphia works much like a claim for any other type of insurance, like car insurance or homeowners insurance. The defendant business is the one that gets sued in the lawsuit; however, the insurance company is contractually obligated to pay on the policy, if the business was negligent. The insurance company will not be named as a party in the lawsuit.
To get the claim started, the injured worker puts the at-fault party on notice of the claim by filing a lawsuit, although in many cases, this will occur before the lawsuit actually gets filed. The injured worker’s lawyer may notify the business of the legal claim before filing the lawsuit. The purpose of this is to get the insurance claim started and discuss possible settlement prior to filing the lawsuit.
It’s important to note that in some cases, the at-fault business doesn’t have insurance. If this is discovered, the lawyer will discuss with the client whether it’s beneficial to proceed anyway. However, the reality is that if the at-fault business has no insurance coverage, a work injury lawsuit will not produce any financial compensation. Since litigation costs can be quite high due to court filing costs, expert retainers, etc., a lack of insurance on the part of the negligent parties will probably sink the case.
After the insurance company is notified of the claim, either before the lawsuit is filed or after, the company will do two things: 1. hire a defense lawyer or law firm to defend the business, and 2. assign a claims adjuster to review the claim.
The claims adjuster is the individual who ultimately makes the decision on what to pay and when, if a settlement is reached. If the case cannot be settled, the case will proceed to trial where a judge or jury will decide the case. If the case is decided in the injured worker’s favor, the insurance company will be on the hook for the judgment (the amount awarded). However in most cases, the insurance company will only be required to pay on the policy, up to the amount of coverage on the specific policy. The coverage amount varies from industry to industry and policy to policy. Some policies contain coverage amounts of anywhere between $1,000,000 and $10,000,000.
In most Philadelphia work accident cases, there are additional coverage or policies available. Usually, more than 1 party is liable for a work accident and therefore, multiple insurance policies will apply. This is especially true in construction accident cases or complex industrial accidents like those that occur in factories or warehouses.
Many businesses will purchase more than 1 policy. A second policy is known as umbrella coverage. It kicks in when the first policy is exhausted. We typically see umbrella policies in large scale operations, like commercial or major residential construction projects. Contractors or subcontractors on the site will have more than 1 policy.
Get more info on Philadelphia work injury law.
Philadelphia Work Injury Law Firm – Over $150 Million Recovered in Work Injury Cases Alone
Our law firm focuses on work injury lawsuits including falls, construction accidents, etc. Our firm’s founders are rated as “Top Personal Injury Lawyers” in the Philadelphia area by Super Lawyers magazine. The lawyers at the firm have over 50 years of combined legal experience and have recovered over $150 million in work injury cases alone. For a free consultation with our work injury lawyers, call (866) 641-0806.
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