Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Wednesday, January 2, 2002


Page 3


Northridge Quake Victims File Hundreds of Suits on Last Day Of State-Mandated Deadline


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Northridge earthquake victims beat the state deadline Monday and filed more than 100 lawsuits in the downtown Los Angeles Superior Court courthouse alone, with hundreds more expected throughout the county.  

Monday was the last day for earthquake insurance policyholders unsatisfied with the outcome of insurance claims submitted before Jan. 1, 2001 to file lawsuits against their insurance companies.

Senate Bill 1899 signed into law and upheld by the state supreme court last year allows some individuals who had earthquake insurance a new opportunity to have a court review the facts of their loss and make a determination as to a proper damage recovery. 

It lifts the typical one-year statute of limitations that homeowners have to sue insurers over the handling of their claims and says that insurance companies can be sued for their failure to cover damages that their adjusters mistakenly overlooked. The major criterion is that a cause of action can only be renewed or revived if the only reason the lawsuit was not previously possible was because the one year period to bring the lawsuit had expired. 

Northridge quake victims can reopen previous claims unless a final judgment was made in court before Jan. 1, 2001, or unless their claims were already settled out of court with their insurance companies.


Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company