Victims who have suffered injuries in an auto accident due to someone else’s negligence have the legal right to seek compensation for their injuries by filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. However, what if the defendant’s insurance limits are insufficient to cover the full extent of damages? Will the plaintiff be able to recover compensation more than the policy limits? At Yerushalmi law firm, we receive numerous calls where victims and their families ask us similar questions after insurance companies tell them there is no more coverage available.
Well, the answer is, even if your claim surpasses the amount of the at-fault driver’s policy, you may be able to obtain the compensation you want with the help of an experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyer.
Understanding Policy Limits in California
The highest amount an insurance company will pay for a covered claim is known as the policy limit. In California, all drivers are obliged to have vehicle insurance, and the minimum liability insurance requirements are:
- $15,000 for injury/death to one person.
- $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person.
- $5,000 for property damage.
Here’s an example to help you understand better how an insurance policy limit works. Let’s say you got injured in a car accident caused by another motorist’s negligence and filed a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Their insurance has a policy limit of $50,000 for bodily injury, and your losses totaled $60,000. In that case, the maximum amount that the insurer is legally obligated to cover for your injuries is $50,000, and they will not reimburse the other expenses that exceed that amount. Now the question is, how can you collect the excess damages, and who pays for it?
Ways to Collect Excess damages
Innocent accident victims are not bound by the negligent party’s policy limits and have the right to seek compensation above those limits. An experienced car accident lawyer can assist victims in recovering compensation more than the policy limits and suggest one or more of the following four strategies to recover fair compensation.
- Collecting under an umbrella policy: Many drivers have umbrella policies that provide supplementary or extra liability coverage in addition to their car insurance. Plaintiffs can recover excess damages against this coverage.
- Option to sue additional defendants: Sometimes, more than one party can be liable for an accident. The injured victim may be able to claim damages from all the defendants. Defendants may be held jointly accountable for damages, with the compensation being born out of each insurance policy.
- Bad Faith Lawsuit Against the Insurance Policy: Insurance companies are expected to deal with a victim in good faith. In some cases, victims can sue them for policy limitations and more if they refuse to settle for a fair price.
- Collecting from the defendant beyond insurance coverage: Collecting from the defendant beyond insurance coverage is possible only if the defendant has significant assets to pursue a personal injury claim.
Navigating insurance settlements and personal injury claims is a challenging task that needs the expertise and experience of an acknowledged car accident lawyer. Once you file a claim with the insurance company, a team of their attorneys and adjusters will immediately begin assessing your damage claim. You must contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to level the playing field and strategize the best course of action for you to win the compensation you deserve.
If you have suffered injuries in an accident in Los Angeles, Yerushalmi Law Firm’s skilled attorneys can ensure that you pursue the best course of action when working to collect damages beyond the policy limits. Call us for a free consultation today at (310) 777-7717