Types of Liability Claims Applicable to Our Jurisdiction

Spokane liability claims – The world of liability claims can be broken down into several categories. Some of these categories have specific liability coverages, while others are covered under broad, comprehensive liability insurance policies.
The following sections give brief descriptions and examples of various liability claims.

Auto Liability Claims

Operators of motor vehicles are required to exercise reasonable care for the safety of others. When they fail to exercise a reasonable degree of care and other people are harmed, the operators are legally liable for that harm. In the United States, this is the most common type of liability claim. More than six million auto accidents occur each year, resulting in more than two million injuries. In 2008, the average Spokane liability claim (auto claim) paid was $20,128 in injuries and $4,220 in property damage.

Premises Liability Claims

People and businesses that own and/or control land must exercise reasonable care in using and maintaining their premises. Slip-and-fall claims are the most common premises liability claims. Legal liability for persons injured inside a home or building or on the driveways and parking lots of landowners varies according to the situation.

Product Liability Claims

Product liability refers to the responsibility arising out of the manufacture, distribution, or sale of allegedly defective or dangerous products. Advances in technology have placed an ever-increasing number and variety of products on the Charleset. Free trade has opened Charleset for products from all over the world. When consumers are injured by these products, retailers, distributors, and manufacturers can become liable. Social philosophy favors consumers, and laws holding businesses liable for products have expanded over the past four decades.

Professional Liability Claims

The first occupations in history to be regarded as professions were those of physician, lawyer, and clergy. Today, this list has expanded to include many other occupations such as registered or licensed practical nurse, dentist, certified public accountant, registered architect, professional engineer, and pharmacist. Other occupations sometimes covered under professional liability insurance policies are registered physical therapist, hairdresser, insurance agent, and, in many states, claim representative. Many Spokane liability claims against doctors are simply frivolous; however, insurance companies must still defend them.

Being engaged in a professional occupation brings with it the potential for professional liability arising from the failure to properly practice the profession, which is called malpractice. Following are some examples of obvious malpractice committed by various professionals.

• A surgeon leaves a sponge inside a patient during surgery. An infection
develops, and a second surgery is required.

• An attorney fails to file a summons and complaint within the required
time limit, and his client’s claim is barred.

• An insurance agent fails to properly advise a wealthy client to carry high
policy limits. The client has low limits, an accident happens, and, as a
result of the low limits, he is bankrupted.

• An accountant fails to properly audit a business and overstates its financial condition. The business receives loans and investments that it cannot repay. Creditors and investors suffer as a result of the audit.

• A pharmacist fills a prescription incorrectly, and the patient is hospitalized as a result.

• An architect fails to properly design a roof to carry snow loads customary
for the northern climate of the region where the building is located. The roof collapses under the weight of normal snow and ice. Occupants of the building are injured, and the building is severely damaged.

• A dentist extracts the incorrect tooth.

Liability in most malpractice claims is not as clear-cut as in the preceding examples. Many medical practice liability claims are highly questionable. Overall, professional liability claims tend to have higher-than-average defendant verdicts (favoring the professional).

An important dynamic exists in malpractice claims that does not exist in typical liability claims. In malpractice claims, the insured’s professional reputation may be at stake. This reputation can be adversely affected when claims are paid. Therefore, many professional liability policies include a

Consent to settle clause.

This clause requires the insurer to obtain consent from the professional to settle the claim. This differs from other types of Spokane liability claims and policies, which permit the insurer to settle as it sees fit.

The consent to settle clause requires claim representatives to communicate and sometimes negotiate with the professional in order to obtain consent. Sometimes insureds refuse to give their consent. Consequently, a much higher percentage of malpractice claims reaches the trial stage and has verdicts rendered, as compared to automobile and general liability claims, which generally do not have coverages with consent to settle clauses.

Most insurance companies try fewer than 2 percent of all reported automobile and general liability claims.

Contact one of our Spokane attorneys now!

Read more about:

Overview of this area of law
Washington negligence law
Negligence: Duty and Breach
Negligence: Causation
Negligence: Remedies and Damages
Defenses to Negligence
Spokane car accidents
Washington products liability
Bodily injury, fault, and other issues
Personal injury claims
Types of Liability Claims
Dealing with insurance companies
Intentional Injuries
Going to trial – overview