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How Often Do Auto Accident Settlements Exceed the Policy Limits?

In order to operate a motor vehicle, you have to have car insurance. If someone strikes you with his or her car, there could be a lot of expenses. In addition to replacing or repairing your vehicle, you may sustain serious injuries. If the accident was not your fault, you should not have to cover these expenses.

If the other person does not have enough money to cover your injuries, and he or she does not have any car insurance, then you may have to cover these expenses out of pocket. That is why everyone is required to have car insurance in order to drive safely. It is the job of the insurance policy to cover expenses related to a motor vehicle accident.

On the other hand, what happens if the limit of the car insurance policy is not enough to cover your expenses? Will a car accident injury settlement exceed the limits of the insurance policy?

man on phone after accident

How Do Insurance Policy Limits Work?

In general, auto insurance policies have two separate types of insurance. They include:

  1. Property damage insurance coverage
  2. Personal injury insurance coverage

The first of these insurance limits is designed to cover the cost of property damage. If you have to repair your motor vehicle, property damage insurance pays for this. If you have to replace your vehicle, property damage insurance should cover this as well.

The second of these insurance limits is designed to pay for any injuries you may sustain in a motor vehicle accident. The insurance company is not responsible for any liability above the limits of these insurance coverages.

Everyone is required to have minimum coverage when it comes to property damage and personal injury coverage. In some cases, policies may have additional coverage; however, this is not universal. For example, if the other person has 50/100 coverage, the limit of property damage coverage is $50,000 and the limit of personal injury coverage is $100,000. If your expenses are greater than these amounts, you may have to pay for this out of pocket. If you sustain $60,000 in property damage and $60,000 in injury expenses, you will recover the complete amount of your injury expenses; however, you will only receive $50,000 for property expenses because that is the limit of the policy.

What If the Coverage Is Not Enough?

If the accident is not your fault and the insurance policy is not enough to cover your expenses, you may feel like this is unfair. You are correct. If you would like to collect additional damages, there are several options available. You can sue beyond policy limits; however, you may have to look at other avenues if you would like to obtain more compensation. A few options you have include:

  • An Umbrella Policy: If the defendant has an umbrella policy, you may be able to collect additional damages through this route. Umbrella policies usually kick in after other policies have already paid out their maximum. Individuals are highly unlikely to have umbrella policies; however, corporate defendants often have umbrella policies. If you are hit by a truck driver, you may be able to draw on this umbrella policy.
  • Multiple Defendants: If more than one person is responsible for the accident you have sustained, you may be able to access multiple insurance policies. As an example, if you are struck by a delivery driver, you may be able to access insurance policies from not only the driver but also the trucking company. If there are multiple insurance policies available, you can recover additional compensation.
  • Bad Faith: Finally, if the insurance company acts in bad faith by denying a claim that should have been approved, you may be able to access greater damages. This is something that has to be explored by legal professionals using adequate discovery motions.

There are multiple options available if you would like to recover compensation above the policy limit.

A Personal Judgment Against the Defendant

Ultimately, if you would like to access compensation above and beyond the limit of the insurance policy, you may have to ask for a personal judgment against the defendant. Keep in mind that the defendant is responsible for your property damage and injury. The only reason why the insurance company is paying you anything at all is because the company has a contract with the defendant to cover damages up to a certain point.

Even after the insurance policy has been completely paid out, your medical bills may still exceed the limit of that insurance policy. In order to recover additional damages from the defendant, you will need to file a lawsuit against him or her. Even though you can sue above the limits of the insurance policy, you may not be able to recover those damages. Unless the other person has a significant amount of money, you may have trouble collecting damages even if a judgement is filed against the individual. Unless the individual has the money, you may not be able to recover anything above the limit of the policy.

That is why you need to work with an experienced lawyer.

Work With an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer in Florida

Before you file a lawsuit against the other driver, you need to make sure you have access to all insurance information. There is a law that says the insurance company has to provide information about all coverages. Insurance companies may try to trick someone who is the victim of a car accident by not giving them what the law requires. That is why you should work with a trained attorney. Make sure your rights are defended by Vasilaros Wagner following a car accident.

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