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Can Your Auto Accident Claim Exceed Insurance Policy Limits?

As we noted in a previous article, uninsured motorists claims can be a headache for everyone involved, especially the person filing a claim on his or her own policy for damages they didn’t cause. At the other end of personal injury, auto accident-related claims are matters involving serious injury wherein damages exceed the amount of the policy. For instance, if the at-fault party has a minimum $25,000 policy (as is the mandatory minimum a driver must carry in Tennessee) and the injured client has medical bills totaling $30,000, what are the available options to the victim?  

Available Options

  • Sue the at-fault party for damages above and beyond their insurance policy – In theory, this is a good idea, but practically speaking, it rarely works out. Most consumers tend to take out a policy that is affordable and in line with their current financial standing. The more income and personal assets an individual has, then the more likely he orshe will have a higher insurance policy. If someone has a minimum $25,000 insurance policy, then they probably don’t have the personal assets or the ability to pay off any judgement that a victim may get above that available in their insurance policy.
  • Ask for the insurance company to pay above what is outlined in the policy – If I were granted three wishes, this would be one of my first. As a personal injury attorney, I would love to be able to get additional money for my client above the insurance policy, but it rarely happens. An insurance policy between a consumer and the insurance company is a binding contract and only holds the insurance company liable for the amount stated in the policy. The only instances where the insurance company may be held liable for additional damages is if they negotiate or act in bad faith, which we have previously outlined.
  • File a claim under the client’s underinsured motorists’ policy – I know we talk about it too often, but we urge everyone to carry as much uninsured/underinsured coverage as they can possibly afford. Too many drivers are operating vehicles with little to no insurance, which leaves a client with only one option– to file under his or her own uninsured or underinsured policy for more serious claims. As we noted in a previous article, having enough underinsured/uninsured coverage is a protection you cannot afford to go without. We recommend clients have at least a $100,000 per person/$300,000 per accident coverage. In addition, an umbrella policy will cover additional damages usually found in disability and death claims.  

While most auto accident injury claims do not exceed the available insurance, it is those rare cases where an individual is relieved to know there is enough coverage to fully compensate a victim for damages, either through the negligent driver’s adequate policy or the victim’s own underinsured/uninsured policy.  

Call The Chiozza Law Firm

If you have a question about your insurance policy, please don’t hesitate to contact an experienced personal injury attorney at The Chiozza Law Firm for a free, no obligation, confidential case evaluation. We will be happy to review your insurance policy and advise you of all your legal rights and options. Let The Chiozza Law Firm handle the stress and headache of dealing with an insurance company for you, leaving you time for the most important things in your life.

On a lighter note, we want to wish everyone a safe and relaxing Memorial Day 2019. We will be closed on Memorial Day and will reopen on Tuesday, May 28. It has become customary every year that we remind everyone each Holiday weekend that there is always an increase in alcohol and drug related accidents and arrests. Use extreme caution when traveling to social gatherings, especially in the evening. Nothing is worth the life changing consequences that the at-fault party will face in an alcohol or drug related accident.

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Posted by Brian Chiozza at 2:41 PM
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