How Does an Insurance Policy Limit Affect My Case?

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How Does an Insurance Policy Limit Affect My Case?

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The other driver’s policy limit has a huge effect on your settlement after an accident. In some cases, you simply can’t get more money than the defendant’s policy limit. However, there’s not always just one policy to go after:

  • There are situations where more than one person (meaning more than one insurance policy) could be liable for your injuries
  • Not every driver gets the bare minimum coverage, so the culpable party may have more coverage available than you initially realize
  • If you carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, you’ll have access to that additional limit if you run out of your own PIP and the other driver’s liability coverage
  • Slip and fall injuries or non-car accident injuries often involve businesses or commercial property insurance liability policies, which can have limits in the hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars
  • The responsible driver could be covered by an umbrella policy, which potentially means a much higher policy limit than just their auto liability insurance

In some car accident cases a manufacturing defect in the vehicle or a maintenance/repair mistake could be partially to blame for the accident. If that’s the case, the manufacturer or repair shop could also be liable. Those companies would have commercial liability policies with much higher policy limits than the average driver.

If you suffer a personal injury on someone else’s residential property, your compensation limit will be based on the owner’s homeowners personal liability limit, which is generally significantly higher than an auto liability limit. There are also some situations where that homeowner personal liability coverage can extend to damages or injuries the homeowner accidently causes away from the home.

What If There Are No Other Sources of Compensation?

Your medical costs may far exceed what you can recover from your own insurance company and the other driver’s insurance company. These are difficult situations that Florida personal injury lawyers have to help clients through all too frequently.

A serious auto accident injury could result in long-term disability or require the injured person to undergo extensive surgeries. When the costs start getting into the tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars, there may simply not be enough insurance money to pay for all their medical costs or lost wages, much less the injured person’s pain and suffering.

Not every case is like that. There are situations where people injured in auto accidents work with personal injury lawyers who help them find additional responsible parties or liability policies that result in more compensation.

If you or a loved one find yourself in this situation, it may be worth your time to talk with a personal injury lawyer for a free consultation. They’ll listen to your case details and help you understand if those opportunities may be available to you.

What About Targeting the Responsible Driver’s Assets?

This is an option in some cases, but there are often limits to how effective this option can be:

  • The responsible party needs to have actual assets to cover your medical costs, property damage, lost wages and pain and suffering
  • If the other driver was uninsured or underinsured, they likely don’t have many assets you can go after

You could potentially garnish the other driver’s wages or put a lien on their property if you win a verdict against their personal assets, but the feasibility of this option really depends on whether your lawyer determines it’s a viable option worth the time and legal investment.

There are also situations where a plaintiff may be able to go after the equity in the negligent party’s home or their retirement savings – like an IRA.

Third Party Insurance Bad Faith Lawsuits by the Negligent Party

Personal injury lawsuits can get complicated, and they sometimes end with the defendant suing their own insurance company.

That’s right, you could end up being on the same side as the person who injured you.

Insurers have a duty to their policy holders known as indemnification. This essentially means they are legally required to cover their policyholders up to their policy limit.

There are situations where the responsible driver’s insurance company finds a loophole (excluded perils/acts) or claim their policy holder violated some part of the policy, negating their coverage.

The insurance company’s client can either be left holding the remainder of the verdict bill owed to you, which they likely can’t pay out of pocket, or file a bad faith lawsuit against their insurer.

To put it simply, the negligent party must sue their own insurance company to pay the damages you’re owed.

Running Into a Policy Limit?

Insurance requirements are not high in Florida and many drivers only pay for minimum coverage. If you or the person responsible for your injury doesn’t have enough coverage to pay for all your medical costs, lost wages or property damage, you can rest assured your case is not unique.

There may be paths to compensation you don’t realize exist, but you won’t know until you ask. Before you give up hope, consider contacting an auto accident or personal injury law firm.