Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Can I wait a few months to pursue a personal injury claim?”
Anyone who has been watching the news recently has surely seen the legal trouble swirling around the famed comedian Bill Cosby. Cosby is currently facing a multitude of legal challenges, both criminal and civil, related to alleged sexual assault. Though Cosby is already a very wealthy man, the cost associated with nearly a dozen claims could still prove ruinous. Cosby, however, has a surprising way of avoiding much of that expense which may well save him from financial destruction: homeowner’s insurance.
Most people would never think of homeowner’s insurance covering you in the event of a legal battle related to sexual assault, but that is exactly what Cosby is attempting to force his insurer to do and, so far, Cosby has been winning. In fact, AIG (Cosby’s insurer) is currently footing the bills for three of the five defamation cases he is currently facing, saving Cosby tens of thousands of dollars.
Cosby has argued that his homeowner’s insurance should be responsible for covering not only the costs of his legal defense, but also any final judgments that should result, up to the policy limits. So far, judges handling these cases have agreed with Cosby, ordering AIG to pay.
For it’s part, AIG intends to continue fighting the demand to pay Cosby’s legal bills. AIG argues that the homeowner’s insurance specifically excludes responsibility for sexual misconduct and that they ought not be responsible for covering personal injury expenses arising out of any alleged sexual misconduct. However, the judges so far have ruled that these personal injury claims are about defamation, not sexual misconduct, as the women claim they were injured by Cosby’s words, not his actions.
Is Bill Cosby the only person to stumble upon this lucrative loophole? No. In fact, wealthy people have used their homeowner’s insurance policies to cover costs associated with personal injury claims for years. Though most ordinary people have homeowner’s insurance to cover property damage and claims of bodily injury, wealthy individuals often buy extra protection with personal injury clauses, also known as umbrella policies, that provide coverage for a range of issues.
These umbrella policies have been used repeatedly to cover costs in several high profile cases. O.J. Simpson used his to pay for his defense in the civil suit against him, Bill Clinton relied on his policy to pay for his defense against defamation claims from Paula Jones and Roger Clemens did the same when he was sued for defamation by a former trainer.
Currently Cosby is relying on policies for homes in Massachusetts and California. Each has limited liability coverage up to $1 million and an additional liability policy with coverage up to $35 million. Critics decry the existence of these umbrella policies, saying they exist to allow wealthy individuals to harm others and then avoid taking financial responsibility for the harm they caused.
If you or someone close to you has been injured, contact an experienced personal injury attorney today who can help you receive the compensation to which you may be entitled. Contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC for a free consultation, call at 704-370-2828 or click here for additional resources.
About the Author
Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.
A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.
In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.
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