What to do When Your Car Accident Claim Exceeds Insurance Policy Limits

car accident claim

Collecting Injury Compensation that Exceeds Insurance Policy Limits

It’s relatively well known that an accident victim who suffered injuries and damages as a result of someone else’s negligence is capable of receiving financial compensation for their losses, but the role of insurance companies and the legal parameters pertaining to how exactly they provide a victim’s rightful compensation is much less publicly known.

If you’re planning on filing a personal injury claim against the at-fault party who caused your accident to occur, you need to fully understand that insurance companies will typically only pay out what they owe in terms of the defendant party’s policy limits. On this page we’re going to discuss the legalities of policy limits, and more importantly how you’ll be able to collect much more compensation that exceeds any negligent party’s insurance limits. 

Our firm has helped countless accident victims throughout the process of receiving their full and rightful compensation, which almost always covers so much more than what any insurance company is initially willing to provide.

So if you or a loved one was involved in an accident and you’re worried about how you’ll be able to collect the compensation you need that goes beyond your negligent party’s insurance policy, contact us today for a free consultation so we can go over the details of your accident, the relevant insurance limits, and our legal strategies that will help you obtain what’s rightfully owed to you. 

How Policy Limits Complicate Your Rightful Compensation

When someone buys any type of liability insurance policy, there will inevitably be a policy limit that signifies the maximum monetary amount the insurance provider will be ultimately responsible for in the case that the policyholder causes an accident with subsequent damages to other victims.

An example would be someone purchasing an insurance policy including a $50,000 limit, which would then mean the insurance company would pay only up to $50,000 in a personal injury litigation situation. So if the accident victim sustained upwards of $100,000 in subsequent damages, they’ll be able to obtain $50,000 from the defendant’s insurance provider but will have to get the remaining $50,000 rewarded to them through the course of a personal injury lawsuit.

This is where our expertise comes in to support you and your need for further compensation, because in these types of complicated legal situations you’ll need an experienced, high-profile attorney who will shake the nerves of insurance companies and negligent parties. 

Your Legal Options When Collecting Excess Damages

There are a few different ways that an accident victim can go about collecting their rightful compensation that goes beyond a negligent party’s insurance policy limits, including the following:

  • Pursue a personal injury lawsuit going against more than one defendant
  • Recovering your rightful compensation under an umbrella insurance policy
  • Personally collecting your rightful compensation from the negligent defendant

In the following sections we’ll go over the details pertaining to these three legal strategy options.

Pursuing a Personal Injury Lawsuit Against Additional Defendants

There are many instances in which multiple defendants are legally responsible for an accident’s overall occurrence, and in these situations the defendants will typically be found to be “jointly and severally” liable for the plaintiff’s full damages. An example of this would be two defendants having $50,000 policy limits, and each of their policies contributing to a victim’s $100,000 of damages.

Having multiple responsible parties within a car accident lawsuit of course doesn’t always happen, but the following are some other common examples of when multiple defendants may be possible:

  • Medical malpractice (both a doctor and hospital)
  • Product liability (manufacturer and distributor of a defective product)
  • Vicarious liability cases (an employee “on the clock” and their employer)

Recovering Compensation Under an Umbrella Policy

This legal situation would pertain even to a single defendant, who just so happens to have multiple insurance policies covering them. An umbrella policy is especially at play when the defendant is a large business or corporate entity, because this type of extra insurance coverage will help defendants exceed their existing insurance coverage limits.

Although these types of insurance policies are more common with corporate and other commercial defendants, there are many individuals who have this type of insurance coverage. This is why it’s crucial that you come to us to help you do the necessary research in terms of what insurance policies are available to your case. 

Suing the Defendant Personally

There are many instances in which personally suing the defendant is the only legal recourse towards obtaining damages beyond an at-fault party’s policy limits. The main issue that arises with this legal strategy is the simple fact that the at-fault party simply may not have the assets to pay you for your full and rightful compensation.

This is where you’ll need legal expertise on your side, because there are many options in terms of holding the negligent party accountable for what they caused to you or your loved one. 

In this type of situation, we’ll help you utilize the fullest extent of the law to get a judge to order wage garnishments or even place a lien on the properties owned by the defendant. This will ultimately depend upon the defendant actually having assets or property, and if they don’t have adequate assets it can be rather difficult in obtaining your rightful compensation beyond the defendant’s policy limits. 

Insurance Bad Faith

California law will always require insurance companies to settle an injury claim that falls within their policy limits, and if they refuse to do so for any purposes then they could potentially be held responsible for an accident victim’s full damages. This is somewhat rare, but it does sometimes occur. 

The following are some insurance bad faith examples that can put insurance companies in a position in which they’ll be liable for more compensation beyond their policy limits:

  • They refuse to investigate a crash in a timely and appropriate manner
  • They don’t make payments in a timely manner
  • They fail to provide any kind of reasonable explanation for denying any specific claim within a prompt time frame

In this situation, plaintiffs will potentially be able to receive more compensation beyond the insurance company’s policy limits within a bad-faith lawsuit. 

Contact a California Car Accident Specialist

Although it can sometimes be difficult to sue a negligent party beyond their policy limits, every case is unique and deserves to be fully investigated in terms of a plaintiff’s legal options towards their full and rightful compensation.

We here at Megeredchian Law are here to investigate your accident and potential defendants to the fullest possible extent, so if you or a family member is pursuing compensation in a car accident claim it’s crucial that you contact us for a free consultation.

Once we hear more about your accident and the potential defendants, we’ll be able to initiate your very best legal strategy towards obtaining the compensation you need to cover all of your sustained and future damages.

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