Wausau Personal Injury Lawyer: Payment of Policy Limits Terminates Duty to Defend

 In Accidents & Injuries

Find out how our personal injury attorneys can help you with your claim.

If you are sued for negligently causing injury or property damage as the result of an auto accident, your automobile insurance carrier has a duty to defend you against claims of negligence.  However, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals recently held that an insurance policy’s “pay-and-walk” provision clearly informed the insured party that insurance company’s duty to defend terminated upon payout of the policy limits.

As a Wausau personal injury lawyer, we know the value of a legal defense provided by your insurance company.  The insurance company’s “duty to defend” obligates the company to provide an attorney to defend you against claims that your negligent driving caused injury or damage to another.  If this were not the case, you would have to hire your own attorney or defend yourself.  However, a recent case clarifies that an insurer can, in its policy, provide that the company’s duty to defend ends upon payment of the policy limits — a so-called “pay-and-walk” provision.

In Young v. Welytok, 2009AP3015 (April 5, 2011), the District I Appeals Court ruled that the negligent driver’s insurance company was properly dismissed from a lawsuit against its insured after paying the plaintiff a policy limit of $100,000.  In that case, the plaintiff was hurt in an accident allegedly caused by the defendant’s teenage daughter.  Before a lawsuit was filed, the defendant’s insurance company paid the plaintiff the $100,000 policy limit in exchange for a release of further liability against the insurance company.

Subsequently, the plaintiff filed suit against the teenage driver’s parents for recovery of additional sums beyond the $100,000 he had received. The insureds argued that their insurance company had a duty to provide a defense to the claim, but the circuit court and court of appeals both concluded that a pay and walk provision allowed the insurance company to terminate any further duty to defend its insured by paying the policy limit.

Wausau Personal Injury Lawyer Commentary

At the personal injury law firm of Eaton Law, we have first-hand experience with policy-limits personal injury cases. A low policy limit will increase the likelihood that your insurer will pay the policy limits and walk away, leaving you to defend yourself if there is a “pay-and-walk” provision in your policy. To minimize the risk of losing your personal assets to a personal injury claim, or to the cost of defending a personal injury claim, be sure to review your automobile insurance policy periodically to ensure adequate coverage.

Wausau Personal Injury Lawyer Contact Info

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, contact a Wausau personal injury lawyer at our law office for a free consultation.  Call 715.843.6700 to speak with a Wausau personal injury lawyer.  Email a Wausau personal injury lawyer.  Get more information about a Wausau personal injury lawyer.

Wausau personal injury lawyer.

Wausau personal injury lawyerDo you have questions for a Wausau personal injury lawyer?  If you or a family member have been injured in a car accident, or if you have lost a loved one as the result of a car accident, a Wausau personal injury lawyer can advise you as to your rights.  Wausau personal injury lawyer serving clients in throughout Wisconsin. Call 715.843.6700 for more information about a Wausau personal injury lawyer or to speak with a Wausau personal injury lawyer.  Email Wausau personal injury lawyer.  Learn more about personal injury lawyers in general.


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