If you’re seriously injured in a car crash, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. If you win your personal injury claim, you will receive either a portion or the entire personal injury damages from the defendant’s insurer, depending on the defendant’s policy limit. If the defendant’s policy limit is not high enough to cover your damages in full, you can use other legal means to recover the debt.
Here’s some information about recovering damages caused by the car crash that exceed your policy limits.
When Your Compensation Exceeds Your Policy Limits
Personal injury compensation is meant to help you get back on your feet following an accident caused by someone else’s negligence. If the cost of the injury exceeds the defendant’s insurance policy limits, it means that your compensation award will not be enough to pay your bills, reimburse your lost income, and compensate you for pain and suffering. The good news is that you can pursue legal means to collect injury compensation that exceeds the defendant’s insurance limits.
As an award creditor, the defendant’s policy limit determines whether or not you’ll receive your compensation in full without resorting to alternative means to recover your debt. For instance, if a liability insurance limit is $100,000, it means in case of a liability lawsuit, the insurance company will only compensate for claims not exceeding this amount. In such a case, if you sustain bodily injuries worth $150,000 due to another driver’s fault, you will need an additional $50,000 to seek proper treatment.
How to Collect Excess Damages?
Some of the alternatives you can use to collect damages exceeding the defendant’s insurance policy limits include:
Seek Compensation from Additional Defendants
Here, in case more than one party caused the car accident that resulted in your injuries, you can sue all of them for compensation. This way, you will likely collect compensation from each defendant’s insurance company. Assuming you have three defendants, each with a $50,000 limit on their liability policies, collecting damages up to their limits will cover the $150,000 needed for your treatment and compensation.
Consider an Umbrella Policy
Umbrella insurance provides liability coverage exceeding the limits on other policies. If your defendant has umbrella insurance, it means that you can probably get additional compensation if the limits on the primary liability coverage do not meet your needs.
Sue the Defendant Personally
Instead of filing a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, you can opt to go after the driver personally. If the defendant has assets or is affluent, you stand a chance of collecting damages exceeding their policy limits. For instance, you can get the court to allow you to seize their property to pay your debt.
Bad Faith Lawsuit
Though rare, the insurance company can either refuse to compensate you even if your claim falls within the defendant’s policy limits or delay compensating you. In other situations, the insurer can refuse to investigate the car accident or deny your claim baselessly. These are examples of bad faith lawsuits, in which case the authorities may hold the insurance company liable. In any bad faith lawsuit, you are likely to receive compensation exceeding your policy limits.
It is worth noting that you can collect injury compensation exceeding insurance policy limits using the tips discussed in this article. To learn more about car insurance, contact our experts at Atlas Insurance in Sarasota, FL. We can help customize your coverage based on your unique needs.