What Happens When Car Accident Claims Exceed Insurance Limits?
Posted on Saturday, April 29th, 2023 at 5:19 pm
In most car accident cases, the insurance companies cover the cost of any injuries, property damage, and other losses related to the crash. But most insurance policies have built-in limits, so what happens when an accident claim exceeds those limits?
The good news for those injured in an accident is that there are ways to recover compensation if your claim exceeds the limits of an insurance policy. The Beaumont, TX car accident lawyers at Portner Bond, PLLC have handled many cases where someone’s injuries exceeded the limits of an insurance policy, and below, you’ll find more information on how we can help in these situations.
How Auto Insurance Policy Limits Work
Auto insurance policies typically include two types of coverage: bodily injury coverage and property damage coverage. Bodily injury coverage usually has two separate limits: a per-person limit and a per-accident limit. The per-person limit is the maximum amount the insurance company will pay for injuries sustained by a single person in an accident, while the per-accident limit is the maximum amount the insurance company will pay for all injuries suffered in a single accident.
For example, suppose the at-fault driver in a crash has a bodily injury coverage limit of $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident, and two people sustained injuries in the accident. In that case, the insurance company will pay up to $50,000 to each person but no more than $100,000 total for all injuries sustained in the accident.
Why Do Car Auto Insurance Policies Have Limits?
Texas auto insurance policies have limits to protect insurance companies from having to pay out excessive amounts in claims. If insurance companies did not have limits on their policies, they could face financial ruin if a single accident resulted in a large number of claims that exceeded the company’s assets. Additionally, insurance policy limits help to keep insurance premiums more affordable for policyholders.
What Happens When a Car Accident Claim Exceeds an Insurance Policy’s Limits?
If your car accident claim exceeds the insurance policy limits of the at-fault driver, you may be left with unpaid medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. However, there are several options for recovering additional compensation.
One option is to look to other sources of insurance, such as an umbrella policy or filing claims against multiple defendants. An umbrella policy is an additional liability policy that kicks in after other policies have paid out their maximum amounts. If the at-fault driver has an umbrella policy, you may be able to collect additional damages from that policy. Similarly, if more than one person is responsible for the accident, you may be able to recover compensation through multiple insurance policies.
Another option is to pursue a personal judgment against the at-fault driver. Although insurance companies pay damages only because they have a contract with the defendant to do so, the defendant is ultimately responsible for the accident. If your damages are greater than the defendant’s insurance policy limits, you may be entitled to a judgment for more than the policy limits. You could potentially recover the remaining compensation by garnishing the defendant’s wages or putting a lien on their property.
You can also try filing a claim with your own insurance policy under your uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. This coverage is optional in most states, but it may be packaged with your liability auto insurance policy unless you specifically declined it. If you file a claim under your uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, your insurance company may pay for damages exceeding the other driver’s policy limits.
Finally, you might have a case for a bad faith claim if an insurance company denies your claim even though it knows it is valid. You can also file a bad faith lawsuit against an insurer if they won’t agree to a reasonable settlement.
How Our Beaumont, TX, Car Accident Attorneys Can Help
We understand how frustrating it is when car accident claims exceed insurance policy limits and can help you pursue full compensation for your injuries. Our Texas car accident lawyers can help with your case by:
- Identifying all possible sources of compensation
- Negotiating with insurance companies on your behalf
- Filing claims against multiple defendants, if necessary
- Filing lawsuits against defendants to help you recover additional compensation
- Handling a bad faith claim against an insurance company
Our Beaumont personal injury attorneys have more than 70 years of combined experience and know what it takes to win these challenging cases. If you’re having trouble recovering full compensation for your injuries after a collision, call us today at (409) 838-4444 or visit our contact page for a free consultation.