A common question most accident victims ask is, “is it possible to settle my case for more than the at-fault’s insurance policy limits?” Generally, the answer is no. However, in some cases, depending on the specific facts surrounding the case, it is possible to get an insurance company to pay more than their policy limits.
Understanding Insurance Policy Limits
When you buy liability insurance, there is essentially always a policy limit in place. This limit refers to the maximum amount of monetary compensation your insurance company will pay out on a claim. For instance, if you buy a car insurance policy that has a $15,000 limit, your carrier is going to pay out only $15,000 – even if there are $50,000 in damages. The excess $35,000 will have to come from somewhere else.
Is It Possible to Collect Excess Damages?
In some cases, it may be possible to collect damages in excess of insurance policy limits. These common methods include:
- Filing a lawsuit against additional defendants – sometimes, more than one party can be held legally and financially responsible for the accident.
- Recovering under an umbrella insurance policy – in some cases, the liable party may have multiple insurance policies.
- Trying to collect from the defendant personally – if there is no other party or insurance policy to go after, your only option may be to collect directly from the party who caused the accident.
Whichever method that works in your case, will depend on the specific facts of your case.
Bad Faith of the Insurer
If you have damages in excess of the at-fault’s insurance policy, that party may have some protection against personal liability. If the liable party’s insurance carrier had the opportunity to settle the claim for an amount within the policy limits and they fail to do so, then the carrier may be held liable for the full amount of damages that result from a jury verdict. Often, bad faith on the part of the insurance company is required for this rule to kick in.
You may be entitled to compensation for your accident. If you or a loved has been injured in an accident, you should discuss your legal options with an experienced accident attorney. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates have achieved over $135 million for their clients so far. For more information or to schedule a FREE consultation with one of the attorneys, call 949-727-9300.
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