You cannot Join Liability Insurer into Your Lawsuit

I have been damaged.  Can I sue the party that caused the damage (the insured) and its liability insurance carrier? No!  Florida’s non-joinder statute prevents a damaged party from suing a liability insurer (the damaged party is not insured under) until the damaged party settles or obtains a judgment against the insured.  As a court recently expressed, the purpose of Florida’s non-joinder statute is to prevent a party having insurance having any impact on how the jury decides the case. See Geico Ins. Co. v. Lepine, 40 Fla. L. Weekly D2090a (Fla.2d DCA 2015).  

For instance, in Lepine, a plaintiff sued a liability insurer (per an automobile liability policy) and the insured.   The appellate court found this improper as the non-joinder statute prevents a party from joining a liability insurer since it taints the jury’s verdict by informing the jury of the availability of insurance proceeds.  You cannot join an insurer until you obtain a judgment against or a settlement with the insured.

Please contact David Adelstein at dadelstein@gmail.com or (954) 361-4720 if you have questions or would like more information regarding this article. You can follow David Adelstein on Twitter @DavidAdelstein1.

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