A Statement to an Insurer Can Be Obtained Through Discovery - Iwamoto
Personal Injury News Items
Insurers often refuse to produce statements made to them by their insureds
on the basis that they are "attorney-client" privileged or "made in
anticipation of litigation". This position is contrary to existing case
law, but the insurers nonetheless often refuse to abide by controlling precedent.
In the case of Iwamoto v. Hirata, 49 Haw.
514, 516, 422 P.2d 99, 100 (1966) the Hawaii Supreme Court upheld a motion
to compel the production of an insured's statement made to the insurance
carrier "soon after the accident" and considerably before plaintiff had
counsel and filed suit. Statements taken under such circumstances have been
consistently found to have 'good cause' for their production. Standard
discovery requests - and the right questions of an insured in a deposition -
may be sufficient to set up a Motion to Compel and for Sanctions. In this
and many other ways, claimants must vigilantly seek to counteract insurance
company secrecy and wrongful practices.
Game Truck Georgia was recently hit with a $4.7 million judgment for injuries arising out of a game of "bubble soccer". But this was after they had pleaded with their insurer to settle those same claims for a pretrial offer of $1 million - which was within their policy limits. Their insurer, Atlantic Specialty Insurance, declined those offers and forced the case to trial. Now the attorneys for Game Truck Georgia are chasing their own insurance company for its bad faith refusal to settle - a refusal which led to the insolvency and desctruction of their business.
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