Having the legal resources you need is critical to achieving the outcome you want and preventing losses in a civil case.
Insurance providers must represent their clients in legal complaints. The “duty to defend” is typically included in the terms of the insurance policy, and it gives you additional protection in Georgia courts.
Knowing what happens when your insurance company represents you is the first step to protecting your legal rights.
Understanding the Duty to Defend
Insurance companies must protect their clients. But this isn’t limited to the compensation they may receive when they’ve been injured in an accident.
Your insurance provider may be required to defend you in a court of law should you find yourself on the receiving end of any legal action from another party.
Often referred to as a “duty to defend”, this obligation requires the insurance company to provide legal representation to defend you against a lawsuit under certain circumstances.
The insurer must cover costs related to legal proceedings and any award granted to plaintiffs. But this only applies in cases that qualify under the terms of the insurance policy.
If the circumstances related to a complaint don’t fall under the terms of coverage, then the insurance company isn’t obligated to provide legal representation.
When The Insurance Company Has a Duty to Defend You in Court
An insurance policy’s duty to defend clause favors the insured. If there’s a chance that the case falls under the terms of coverage, then the insurance company must provide legal counsel.
If a complaint indicates that the plaintiff has no chance of being awarded compensation, then your insurer may not be required to protect you as the defendant.
But if any part of the complaint indicates an implication of coverage, then the duty to defend is triggered. Your insurance provider must review your policy and the legal complaint to determine whether they must fulfill their duty to defend you.
If you argue that the facts related to your case fall under the terms of coverage, then the insurance company must investigate your claim.
If your insurer does not carry out this investigation and refuses to provide legal counsel, then they may be held liable for breach of this duty.
Protecting Your Legal Rights in Georgia Courts
In order to receive legal representation from your insurer, expenses related to any legal proceedings must be approved by them.
You must also consider the possibility that your defense may be rejected by the courts. In this case, your insurer won’t be required to cover legal costs for claims not included in the terms of your policy.
Consulting with a legal professional helps you determine if your insurer is obligated to represent you in court.
You also need to consider the “duty to indemnify”, which states that your insurance provider is responsible for any damages awarded to the plaintiff if you’re found liable.
Your insurer may compel you to settle your case to avoid these costs. So knowing your rights and coverage is critical to the outcome of your case.
Insurance companies may have an in-house attorney who will be assigned to your case. But they may also use a third-party legal counsel to defend you in court.
The duty to defend obligates insurance companies to provide the legal counsel their clients need when facing legal actions. But determining whether your case falls under the terms of coverage can be a difficult process.
Understanding the responsibilities of your insurance provider and the terms of your policy helps you get the legal protection you need in Georgia courts.