In a suit brought by an injured party against a tortfeasor's liability insurer is commonly referred to as a direct action against insurer. As a general rule an injured party does not have standing to file suit against the insurer of the party causing the injury absent an unsatisfied judgment against the insured. A direct action by the injured party is permitted if one of the following exceptions to the general rule obtains:
A judgment had been previously granted obtained against the insured for the damages covered under the liability policy and that judgment remains unsatisfied or the liability of the insured tortfeasor has otherwise been fixed.
A provision contained in the applicable liability insurance policy permits direct action against the insurer before the liability of the insured has been fixed.
Where direct action is permitted by statute as the case of common carriers or contract motor carriers.
A claim to recover bad faith penalties under OCGA section 33-4-7 for failure of a liability insurer to fairly and properly adjust the claim for property damage to a motor vehicle.
A claim against any insurer issuing a liability action insurance policy purchased by school board required by statute insured injured schoolchildren while riding a school bus or insurer and the general public when injured by the negligent operation school bus driver. OCGA 20-2-1090 mandated school boards purchased insurance in the nature of accident insurance that protect schoolchildren against injuries resulting from accident or collision in which a school bus is involved. OCGA 20-2-1092 authorizes but does not mandate, school boards to purchase liability insurance to protect the general public against bodily injury or property damage caused by the negligent operation school bus. See Crestmoor v. Harper 90 Ga. App. 128 (1954) . That case affirmed) direct action against insurer issuing the policy required by the statute for injured schoolchildren riding in an insured school bus or by the general public injured by the negligent operation by school bus driver. Contact a Paulding County Attorney today if you have any questions.