What you need to know about the other driver’s insurance company – Section A
Every insurance policy in New Brunswick contains a “Section A” that entitles the policy holder to defense against a legal action if they were the cause of an accident. The at-fault driver’s insurance company’s main job is to defend them against a lawsuit – or prevent one from being initiated. Nothing in the contract requires Section A to help the injured party. With that in mind, here are a few things to think about with regard to Section A.
- Contact – The Section A adjuster may try to contact you soon after the accident for a statement. He or she may want to come to your home and make a recording. It is strongly advised that you consult a lawyer before agreeing to this type of interview. A lawyer will probably advise against it unless he or she is present. If you have decided to hire a lawyer, he or she will deal with Section A from that point forward; you have no need to personally speak with the Section A adjuster again.
- The company could be the same – It can get confusing when both drivers coincidentally have the same insurance company. Rest assured that Section A and Section B (no fault benefits) will be dealt with by different adjusters who do not communicate with one another. Often, different claims are even opened under the same policy, but the information remains separate.
- Settlements are final – Contrary to Section B coverage, for which you will receive many different payments over a period of time, Section A will pay you only once. This means that once you accept a settlement and sign a release, you cannot initiate a lawsuit or make any further claims against the at-fault driver. However, if you have accepted an offer, all hope is not necessarily lost. There are exceptions, which a lawyer can identify for you.
- Lowballing – If the Section A adjuster makes a settlement offer, it will almost certainly be on the very low end of what you are entitled to receive. All too often an injured person will accept an offer that seems generous, when in reality it is a fraction of the money they will need to cover their injuries and losses in the future.
- Time limits – When it comes to car accidents, you have 2 years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit or settle your claim with Section A. This time limit is longer for a person who is under the age of 19. Part of the reason the limit is so long is to give you a chance to heal and see how your injuries will affect your life. Do not be tempted by an offer of a chunk of money a few months after the accident. That said, you should still be mindful of the time. Do not make the Section A adjuster’s job easy by waiting until the day before the 2 years expires to settle or hire a lawyer. Your right to sue can be lost completely.
- Defenses – Do not be put off if the Section A adjuster claims that they are not responsible because the at-fault driver was driving the vehicle without permission of the owner or some other reason. Just because the Section A adjuster says it, does not mean it is set in stone. Don’t let this type of statement bully you into giving up. Part of a lawyer’s job is to fight this kind of position.
Once you hire a lawyer, the litigation process will normally revolve around Section A and the at-fault driver. While the litigation process will be covered by various future articles, this should give you an idea of what to expect in the early stages of a Section A claim. If you remember one thing, let it be this: The primary concern of Section A is NEVER your best interest.