Why aren’t we suing Allstate, GEICO, State Farm or USAA?
One of the more frequent questions that we get from clients who have been involved in car crashes in Fairfax and who have received poor settlement offers from an insurance company is why we’re not suing the company. When you file a lawsuit in Virginia for a car accident, you have to name the other driver.
Your lawsuit, then, is styled “John Plaintiff v. Barbara Defendant” instead of “John Smith v. Allstate.” This confuses a lot of people. Allstate provides insurance coverage for the claim (they hire the defense attorney, pay all of their client’s litigation costs, and pay any settlement or verdict within the policy limits), but Allstate is never named in the suit.
In fact, the judge or jury that hears your case will never know that Allstate was involved in the case at all. This is because of a rule in Virginia that prohibits the mentioning of insurance (auto, health or disability) in personal injury cases. The rule is designed to keep the jury from becoming prejudiced and rendering a lower verdict than they otherwise would (in an effort to keep their own insurance rates down) or a higher verdict than they might (knowing that the verdict would be paid by an insurance company and not by the Defendant himself).