Why is the Insurance Company Not Named as the Defendant in the Lawsuit?

I had a good question today by a reader that inquired as to why he had to file suit against the person that harmed him without putting down the insurance company that he had been dealing with.  That is an excellent question and presents so many layers of legal analysis that I am merely going to skim the top and provide a somewhat basic version.

It's because insurance companies lobby big money to be the "man behind the curtain" without ever truly having the target on their backs.  In a trial you can not mention "insurance" for either party regardless of type, ie health insurance, homeowner's insurance, and automobile insurance. Those are considered collateral sources and are not to be given weight by an impartial jury. Yes, yes, we all know about "insurance" even if we were in that magical jury box but it can not be talked about in court by either attorney, plaintiff, or defendant

We all know that when you are harmed/injured in a wreck by the negligence, omission, and/or ignorance of another, that person's liability insurance will have to assess the personal injuries and property damage that arise out of all wrecks. OR the "uninsured" policy of your automobile insurance will cover the property damage and personal injuries because the at fault person is without insurance.  Yes, that means your insurance company defends the at fault party against you.

Often times after you leave the scene of the wreck, or incident, in question you never speak with the responsible party. However, you are contacted by the responsible party's insurance company that then gives you the cold shoulder or acts like you did something wrong.  (I appreciate them doing that because it makes my life so much easier).

OR in a really ironic turn of events, your insurance company then defends the at fault party against you because they really don't want you to just walk away with those premiums you have paid for the past couple years.  You have to earn them by fighting your own insurance company for compensation for your injuries and property damage! Hilarious, I know.

Seek legal advice anytime insurance companies are involved. You don't have to retain legal counsel but it doesn't cost you anything to hear what the law really is in a personal injury case vs. what insurance adjusters reading from a computer to save their company money say it is.

I'm just sayin....



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Kyle Thompson - January 20, 2010 9:31 AM


I think you left out a point that your readers need to understand.

The insurance company for an at-fault driver has no relationship or obligation to the injured party. Their contract, or policy, is with the at-fault driver, and the policy says (in a nutshell) that the insurance company will pay all amounts for which the insured becomes legally liable. The insurance company didn't cause the accident, and the insurance company is not responsible for the injuries or damages.

What often happens is that rather than wait for a verdict to determine the amount the insurance must pay on behalf of the at-fault driver, the company will try to negotiate a resolution prior to suit. That does not create any obligation on the part of the company to the injured driver, however.

When the at-fault driver is uninsured, the injured party's own insurance steps in through the uninsured coverage. However, they are essentially in the same position - they are required to pay only what the uninsured driver is required to pay.

Keep up the good work. See you in court.


In an effort of not being one sided, Mr. Thompson, a defense attorney for insurance companies, helps provide further insight from a different perspective.

Thanks Kyle,


Phil B - August 26, 2010 5:29 PM


I found your site by helping my daughter, she was hit in April of 2010 totaled her 95 Z71 Chevy by a drunk driver here in Myrtle Beach we settled the property damage issue and she took the proceeds and a loan to purchase a 2005 Avalanche used but in excellent condition. This August the 2005 Avalanche is hit [right passenger side] by another careless driver the girl was cited and found at fault. They both have progressive insurance.

Now comes progressive and denies portions of the damage to her 2005 Avalanche, progressive made accusations that she had wrecked the vehicle and damaged the bumper same side as all the other damage prior to the accident 08/10/2010 and refuses to repair it.

Ask the appraiser for an estimate to fix the bumper and he is reluctant to give me hard numbers and states he can give me a ball park figure. It is his job from my understanding to give me accurate numbers not a ball park and states if I want the bumper repaired she would have to file a separate claim and pay a $500 deductible. Also is argumentative regarding a noticeable dent in the right side passenger door same side as rest of the damage?

Second we spoke with the appraisers supervisor he reiterates the same assessments, I email pictures of the bumper with paint scuff marks that where similar in nature to marks in other locations, contends that the marks where reflections.

After much delay sixteen days as of this writing we were informed they would no longer provide a rental which was returned yesterday August 25, 2010. then spoke with [Appraiser], Appraisers supervisor with no avail and same contentious attitude basically remarking people are trying to defraud progressive all the time, Trust is a two way street, when we picked the truck up from the body shop un-repaired someone had buffed the paint marks out of the bumper, (I refer you to the reflection remarks) I took pictures of the bumper and it had been cleaned and shiny opposed to the other side of the bumper with further review of the pictures I discover scuff marks on front passenger tire, that line up exactly with the bumper it is like they are asserting we are making this stuff up, which is due in part to incompetent appraisers.

Unwilling to address related damage issues such as tire damages, rear axle damage, brake damages, wheel alignment, engine light alerts, etc.

Information we provided to Progressive with no avail:
1. Affidavit from my mechanic who changed the oil one week prior to the accident stating the bumper had no damage at that time.
2. Pictures of the truck when it was purchased 2 months ago
3. Daughter made a deposit at the bank 2 hours prior to the accident I viewed the video with the branch security and did not see any damage to the bumper which information I provided to progressive and they wanted us to subpoena video over a $500 bumper unreal!
4. Phone number and name of the tow truck driver who stated he saw damages to the bumper upon arrival
5. Numerous pictures showing damages, scuff marks on passenger front tire, dents, paint marks etc.

So thank you for your information on your site I have been reading through and have found it to be very informative, I do have one question do you have a link to a blank form of the PROPERTY DAMAGE ARBITRATION CLAIM, and maybe an example of the form to assist in filling it out?

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