Insurer's Duty to Defend their Insured

Posted Tuesday, May 12, 2015 by Ed Harper

A question arose recently in our office regarding a potential injury claim arising from the driving of car through a parking lot. Fact scenario: Driver who has a automobile policy of insurance is driving through a parking lot. The driver notices a pedestrian in the rear-view mirror clutching their lower leg/foot and hobbling to the curb.

The Good Samaritan driver turns car around and asks the pedestrian if they are ok. Pedestrian proceeds to respond, “no, you hit me” claiming the car drover over her foot.

The issue arises whether the driver’s insurance policy will cover the “accident”.

Some benefits of this coverage is the security knowing that the potential claim(s) will be defended and the insured’s interests will be protected. The primary requirement for an insured is the claimed loss is covered by the insurance policy. This means the event must be within the scope of the agreement and within the policy period.

The policy will likely require the insurer to defend even if the allegations of a claim are “groundless, false, or fraudulent”. State Farm v. Emerson, 102 Wn.2d 477, 485-86, 687 P.2d 1139 (1984)

Thus, one is protected from this incident in the parking lot up to the limits of the insurance policy.

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Harper Law PLLC
826 6th Street South, Suite 101, Kirkland, WA 98033-6740 US
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