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Umbrella insurance and being falsely accused
Old 05-04-2009, 02:17 AM   #1
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Umbrella insurance and being falsely accused

Here is something I never knew the answer to.

I had a neighbor across the street from me that pretty much lived to sue people. When she finally died she was suing supposedly 8 people. I have a neighbor now that calls the police on people and just last year had one of my other neighbors investigated on total lies of injuring her dog.

I read stories in our local paper and hear stories of people on the news that are sued or are on criminal charges for something that is most likely or DEFINITELY a total lie. And some claim to be completely broke after the ordeal just from I guess the legal fees.

I know that with an umbrella policy supposedly you are not covered for intentional acts. Like for instance if you deliberately run your car into someone's house.

What I would like to know is if someone accuses you of hurting them or their dog or their property and you end up in criminal trouble or civilly sued. Is there any insurance like an umbrella policy that would pay for your legal fees to either defend you against a criminal or civil suit?



Jim
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Old 05-04-2009, 02:38 AM   #2
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Don't have an answer to your question, but seriously WOW. You have some pretty F*ed up neighbors.
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Old 05-04-2009, 02:56 AM   #3
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dshibb

Yes I do!

In fact the one that made the false dog injuring claim is indicted by a federal grand jury.....although she is still here.

Seeing this stuff up close lets you know that you can do nothing wrong and still be in a heap of trouble if someone tries to get you in trouble or sue you.

My fear is that I work so hard to save up some money and then some criminal like my neighbor claims I did something that I could go broke just defending myself.

I have never been sued or sued anyone in my life and I have never been in any trouble with the law. But like everyone else all I have to do is run into the wrong person and that can change instantly.


Jim
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Old 05-04-2009, 06:21 AM   #4
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I don't know of any insurance like this, but perhaps it exists.

If somebody wanted insurance against this sort of stuff, the insurance company would have to assume that the client had a particular reason to be (abnormally) concerned about it. Since the insurance company can't know all the minute factors (your neigbors are crazy, your daughter is dating a crazy, etc) and since they want to make a profit, the premiums for any such policy would be very high. If you are really concerned, you might want to take the, say $20,000, that the insurance company would charge you for 10 years of such coverage and use the money to get some movers to pack up you and your stuff to a sane neighborhood.

Seriously, I think you've described two separate situations. In any case where there is criminal activity alleged, the standard of proof is pretty high and so if you are innocent I would imagine the defense would be straightforward. If the issue is a civil matter, then the umbrella policy will provide protection (via a legal defense) if the allegation is that you caused harm through negligence (e.g. not deliberately). If the allegation is that you deliberately caused harm, then wouldn't there also usually be a corresponding criminal case, too (with the high standard of proof)? And if you defended yourself successfully against that, it would take a lot of the wind out of the sails of the civil case (though it could still proceed and you might lose-- as OJ did)

As should be clear from the above, I'm not a lawyer. But I suspect insuring for this potential loss would be very expensive (as is most insurance), and you'd be better served to minimize the potential for this kind of trouble. Call the movers.
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Old 05-04-2009, 07:20 AM   #5
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Stories like the one you related is the reason I choose to carry an umbrella policy. I figure that the cost of the policy is small compared to the risk of some nutcase coming after me for some frivolous reason and taking my nest egg, or having to bear the cost of legal defense. Or, there might be cases in which I'm liable due to something beyond my control, or a liability that exceeds my other coverage.
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Old 05-04-2009, 07:28 AM   #6
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Samclem's points about civil/criminal complaints are quite valid, and he makes a good case for just moving (and getting the umbrella policy to boot).

We, too, have a crazy person in our neighborhood, but fortunately for us, an even crazier person moved in last year and is keeping him occupied.
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Old 05-04-2009, 07:43 AM   #7
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Yesterday DH bumped someone in front of him in the line at the McDonald's drive-through. The guy stuck his head out the window and yelled "Hey man you gonna buy me lunch for bumpin' me?" Then he said, "Gimme $2". DH said "Yeah, I'll give you $2" (sarcasm, of course) Then the passenger gets out of the car and pretends like he is calling the police.

Nothing came of it. TG they didn't have a gun and go ballistic on DH. Yeah, I'm glad we have liability insurance for the nutso's.
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Old 05-04-2009, 08:00 AM   #8
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What a timely post...regarding umbrella insurance. I have one already in place for house, boat, autos, snowmobile. Extra cost was $250 per year for $1M policy on top of existing individual coverages.
I just turned down a potential contractor for a small job involving bringing in some rough fill dirt and grading it.
The main reason was when I asked him which company he had for his liability insurance, his response was "My family has been in business for 35 years. We have insurance." I asked again for the company name. Still no name given.
The second reason is he wanted to do the job today when all we did was have a short conversation about him coming over to look the job over and give me a written estimate.
The third reason was he wanted to deal with cash only.
Hmmmmm...in a hurry, cash only, not willing to do an estimate, not willing to supply proof of insurance or insurer's company name. That required a RLH (Run Like Hell) response from me.
I doublechecked with a local contractor, who is also a friend. The first words out of his mouth were "that family has ripped me off and a lot of people I know."
Follow your antenna regarding your perceived risk. Mine certainly worked for me.
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Old 05-04-2009, 02:58 PM   #9
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I have an umbrella policy to cover whatever - real claims, fraudulent claims, malicious claims. The danger is costly civil suits. I would expect false claims of criminal acts are hard to convince the police to buy -- unless you are set-up by a bad cop . But SamClem is right, you are in the wrong neighborhood. Time to move.
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Old 05-04-2009, 03:12 PM   #10
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You cannot insure to protect against your own intentional acts. The law of torts, at common law, is broken down into two broad categories of theories of liability - intentional and unintentional/negligent. "Intentional" is acting for the purpose of doing something or with substantial certainty that a particular result would occur. Negligence covers the majority of the rest - those cases where you (1) have a duty of care, (2) you breach that duty, (3) your breach of duty results in damages, and (4) those damages are "caused" by your breach of duty - notice no requirement for intention here for negligence. Strict liability is a third type of liability.

Insurance for intentional acts would reward those doing wrong (or at least let them act with impunity from civil claims) and would also suffer from severe adverse selection in the insurance pool.
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Old 05-04-2009, 04:30 PM   #11
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They should have liability insurance that deals with intentional liabilities like this. You get accused of an intentional tort and pay the cost of the legal defense. If you lose your out the damages and the defense, you win the liability policy reimburses your defense as you were wrongfully accused.
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Old 05-04-2009, 04:30 PM   #12
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Doesn't your homeowner's policy cover some of that?




As to the other question about umbrella policy... remember Bill Clinton? His policy had to pay to defend him against Paula Jones (at least that is what was reported)... but that was a civil matter... I am not sure about criminal charges.
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Old 05-04-2009, 05:36 PM   #13
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It is becomming a sad fact that living in america, the more you have, the harder others will work at taking it from you. I find I have to keep working harder and harder, to ensure I am protected as much as I can be, from people looking to cash in at my expense.

I think the thing that keeps most people calm and generally civil to each other, is that usually both parties have something to loose, should things get out of hand. Once you start owning a home, car, etc, then things can start being taken away from you should you do something wrong, or just foolish. That is why I would think twice about moving into a neighborhood with too many renters, vs. owners living there.

People who own nothing of any value frighten me the most. Because these folks have nothing to loose, and everything to gain by comming after you. I always wanted to see laws created that if it can be proven that a suit is completely frivolous, that the person is now liable for damages inflicted etc. Why is it that someone I do not even know can accuse me of unspeakable acts, and when proven completely baseless, they get to just walk away unscathed, while the rest of my life others may look at me stragely, for just being accused? I have not yet been in such a situation, and I hope that I never have to find out....
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Old 05-04-2009, 05:46 PM   #14
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I don't know squat about how all this works, but isn't there a way to counter-sue the accuser when you get sued? So your neighbor has to pay all your legal fees when she loses? That would make her think twice before suing you for the second time.
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Old 05-04-2009, 06:21 PM   #15
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Another reason to move outside the country to a less litigious place.
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Old 05-04-2009, 09:31 PM   #16
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The root of the problem is on the back of your local phone book.
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Old 05-04-2009, 09:40 PM   #17
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Another reason to move outside the country to a less litigious place.
I am starting to see many reasons to move outside the country! Soon as I get my Spanish up to speed I'm starting on Tagalog.

Ha
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Old 05-04-2009, 11:14 PM   #18
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Another reason to move outside the country to a less litigious place.
There are pros and cons to our well developed system of jurisprudence. Lots of suits but also lots of legal stability.
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Old 05-05-2009, 08:50 AM   #19
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I don't know squat about how all this works, but isn't there a way to counter-sue the accuser when you get sued? So your neighbor has to pay all your legal fees when she loses? That would make her think twice before suing you for the second time.
You can counter sue... but for what? "I am suing them because they are suing me".? You have to have some cause... even if slim...

From what I hear, you would probably not get any compensation for legal fees... it is rare that the courts make the people pay... now, in the UK, it is very common which is why there are less lawsuits... because for all lawsuits loser pays... even if you sue some big corporation, you have to pay their high priced lawyers if you lose... so not as much 'fishing' for suits...
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Old 05-05-2009, 09:05 AM   #20
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There are pros and cons to our well developed system of jurisprudence. Lots of suits but also lots of legal stability.

I guess that depends on your perspective, counselor!
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