Q Can a plaintiff injured in a car wreck sue the other party’s insurance company for the injuries and damages caused by the collision?
IN IDAHO, A THIRD PARTY HAS NO RIGHT TO SUE THE RESPONSIBLE PARTY’S INSURANCE COMPANY ABSENT AN ASSIGNMENT
The Idaho Supreme Court has rendered a ruling that holds that a lawsuit filed by a third party cannot be maintained against another party's insurance company for bad faith. See generally Yoakum v. Hartford Fire Ins. Co., 129 Idaho 171, 923 P.2d 416, 421 (1996). However, that does not prevent the third party from entering a contract with the responsible party (tortfeasor) from being able to assign the cause of action to the injured party to prevent the injuried party from being able to execute on any judgment equal to or greater than the policy limits of the insurance policy. See generally Truck Ins. Exchange v. Bishara, 128 Idaho 550, 916 P.2d 1275 (1996)(third party obtained an assignment by tortfeasor of action for bad faith against carrier). As such, absent an assignment by the responsible party of a cause of action for bad faith against the responsible party’s insurance carrier, Idaho enjoins a third party from being able to sue the tortfeasor’s insurer directly. Yoakum, 128 Idaho at 550, 916 P.2d at 1275.
In a recent decision in our sister state of Washington, the Washington Court of Appeals recently affirmed a party’s right to assign a bad faith claim. See, e.g., Miller v. Kenny, 2014 Wash.App., LEXIS 1030 (Wash.App April 28, 2014).
In order to protect a your legal rights and remedies to obtain compensation to a claim for personal injuries including the possibility of obtaining compensation in excess of policy limits, you should consult with an experienced auto accident and bad faith trial attorney. Boise Personal Injury and Bad Faith Trial Attorney Alan Morton has over 31 years of experience helping people recover for injuries and damages from insurance companies and their insureds. You may contact Mr. Morton by calling 208.344.5555 or toll free at 888.716.8021 or by completing an online contact form.