In 2013, a New Jersey attorney was shot and killed in front of his young wife during an attempted carjacking at an upscale mall in Short Hills, NJ, about 10 miles outside of Newark. The victim was shot in the parking deck of the mall and later died from the injuries. Four defendants were arrested and charged with his murder a week later.
The victim’s widow, also an attorney, brought suit against the mall owners, the mall manager and the mall security company. She alleged negligence in the shooting death of her husband.
Last year, the insurance companies for the defendants engaged in a legal battle over their respective policies and which policies applied to which defendants. The problem arose because at least one insurance policy covered multiple parties. The first level insurance company covered all the parties up to $2 million, per occurrence, for damages resulting from a personal injury case.
More: https://laffeybuccikent.com/new-jersey-store-liability-for-crime-against-customers-what-you-have-to-prove/ [Negligence is the bedrock of crime victim injury lawsuits in New Jersey. What are the elements of the case and what does a victim-plaintiff have to prove to succeed? Learn about the legal concepts of duty, breach and causation in business liability cases for crimes committed against customers.]
In November 2016, an Essex County Superior Court judge ruled that the insurance company was to be released from the lawsuit after offering the policy limits of $2 million. However, the release applied as to the security company only, rather than the other insureds (the other defendants left in the case, i.e., the mall owners and mall manager). The Court held that since the remaining defendants had other sources of insurance, the first level carrier (and the security company) could be released from the underlying lawsuit.
How Insurance Works in Mall Assault/Victim Lawsuits
Large businesses, like malls and other large businesses like chain grocery stores or large retailers, are often covered under multiple insurance policies. These policies apply in the event negligent conduct of the business causes physical injury or loss to another.
Multiple Insurance Policies in a Commercial or Business Setting
There is often a primary policy and an excess policy. The primary policy is the first level of coverage. The excess policy is the second level of coverage. Depending on the type of business, there may be multiple primary policies and multiple excess policies. This is all applicable to the actual business owner or the company which owns the business.
Now, add in additional parties like a security company, management company, etc., and the number of applicable insurance policies grows exponentially. Also, some insurance policies will cover multiple parties. Like in the case here, at least one policy covered the owners, the mall manager and the mall security company. Clearly, the coverage levels can get very complex.
In serious injury cases, like death cases, insurance companies will often battle it out to figure out who is on the hook for what. This can often delay the resolution of a case, especially if appeals occur, and they often do.
Related: https://laffeybuccikent.com/crime-victims-legal-rights-compensated-assault-pennsylvania-new-jersey-lawyer/ [What rights to compensation does a crime victim have after an assault in Pennsylvania or New Jersey? The civil court system provides the ability to seek financial compensation for physical injuries and mental trauma for victims of criminal assaults in bars, restaurants, etc.]
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