When you are injured in an auto accident caused by a negligent driver, one of your biggest challenges could be getting paid the compensation you deserve even when the driver’s insurance company admits liability for your injuries. This is because the insurance company only has to pay out the limits of the driver’s policy limits. Unfortunately, this could be insufficient to fully compensate you. However, you do have other options for receiving the total amount you are owed.
Why Insurance Policy Limits Are So Important
The payment you receive from the negligent driver’s insurance company is paid under his liability insurance coverage. The insurance company is only responsible for paying a maximum of the amount of insurance coverage the person purchased even if the amount you deserve is much greater than this. For example, if the driver’s liability coverage is $50,000 and your claim is worth $150,000, you would still only receive a maximum of $50,000 from his insurance company.
In Georgia, people are only required to have automobile liability insurance of $25,000 per injured person, with a maximum of $50,000 for two or more persons, in any accident. This coverage includes the payment of the victim’s medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Sadly, many motorists only purchase the minimum automobile insurance required. Given the high cost of medical treatments and the time you could be off work recovering, $25,000 in coverage could be far less than the amount you are really owed.
Can You Collect Your Compensation From Other Sources?
Because of the possibility of not being fully paid by one liable party, you always want to pursue claims against all responsible parties and all the insurance policies available to pay you. Here are some other potential sources of payment:
Suing additional parties. In some automobile accidents, not only the negligent driver could bear responsibility for your injuries. More than one driver could have been negligent. A manufacturer defect in the other driver’s or your vehicle could have caused your injuries or a defect in the road could have contributed to your crash. By pursuing these claims as well, you increase the number of parties and insurance policies to turn to for payment.
Pursuing umbrella policies. Even if the driver was the only negligent party, there may be additional insurance policies or additional coverage under his auto insurance policy. Some people will have an umbrella policy—additional liability coverage to protect them from major claims and lawsuits. This type of policy would be available when the driver’s liability exceeds his original liability coverage. These policies are most common for companies and businesses and may be an option for payment if the driver who hit you was driving a company car. However, some individuals purchase these policies also, so you will want to investigate all insurance policies the negligent driver has.
Suing the other driver. If there is insufficient insurance coverage to fully compensate you, you may have to sue the negligent driver for the amount he owes above his insurance coverage. While obtaining a judgment against him may be easy if his liability is clear, collecting the amount owed could be very challenging. Many negligent drivers do not have huge sums of money or a lot of assets to take to pay the amount owed in a lump sum. Even if they have wages and some assets, it could take you years to collect the amount owed from them.
Claiming against an underinsured policy. If you purchased underinsured insurance coverage under your own automobile policy, you will be glad you did if the other driver has insufficient insurance coverage. Underinsured coverage is designed to pay you when the negligent driver’s liability coverage does not fully compensate you. However, these claims can sometimes be as difficult to settle as those with the negligent driver’s insurance company, so you definitely want an experienced car accident attorney to negotiate your settlement for you.
Were you or a family member hurt in a car wreck caused by another driver? David Brauns understands the importance of pursuing claims with all possible insurance companies and parties to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. Call us today at (404) 998-5252 schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with David.