Your insurance company will cover damages you incur from a car accident, from personal injury to property damage, as well as other damages. Auto repairs tend to be one of the easier types of claims, and insurance companies will normally readily pay for these damages.
However, if your insurance covers your auto repairs, are you still eligible to recover other damages from the other driver’s policy or your own?
We have asked attorney, Alaina Sullivan, about this type of situation. Here is what she had to say:
Under a typical liability policy, you have a certain threshold for how much your insurance will cover. This threshold is also known as the maximum recovery amount.
The amount you are limited to depends on how much you pay for the coverage you receive. If you pay for minimum cover, you will receive just that: minimum coverage.
Keep this in mind when choosing your insurance policy. You may want to avoid paying a high monthly premium, but you may also end up hurting yourself in the end should the unthinkable happen and you are involved in a serious car accident.
It may benefit you more if you pay more on the front end to cover yourself for these unexpected events.
Recovering Excess Damages
However, you are not completely barred from recovering damages in excess of your policy limits. If you have an umbrella insurance policy, you have protection which will allow you to recover more than what your liability policy will offer.
Depending on the accident, you may also be able to bring a lawsuit against the other driver for negligence or even bring a lawsuit against other defendants if more than one individual is involved in the accident.
It depends on your situation, and it is important you speak with a personal injury attorney to choose how you want to proceed.
When to Collect from Additional Defendants
You cannot do this in every personal injury claim, but it is possible. Sometimes you will have more than one person who is responsible for your injuries. These people may be “jointly and severally” liable for the entire amount of damages you are facing.
You can attempt to collect against each person’s liability insurance and collect the limit on their policies. That is one way to go about ensuring your injuries are covered.
Perhaps the driver was being negligent but also a glitch in the car’s software also contributed to the accident.
You could see coverage through the driver’s policy but also pursue compensation from the car manufacturer for damages sustained because of their negligence.
This example is a way of going after multiple defendants in one case.
Umbrella Insurance Policies
Not every driver has an umbrella insurance policy, but for those that do, any damages that go over the liability coverage they have can be covered by their umbrella policy.
These types of policies simply protect you from the driver who was hurt, should you be at fault in an accident, from going after you personally if his or her damages are not covered by your liability insurance coverage alone.
Collecting Personally from the Defendant
If you reach the other driver’s liability coverage limit and he or she does not have an umbrella policy or his or her umbrella policy fails to cover your damages, you can seek compensation from the defendant personally.
If you are successful, however, keep in mind that you can only get compensation if the defendant can pay you. You might be seeking damages from someone who has limited income and therefore limited cash on hand to pay for your damages.
If that is the case, you can attempt to get a lien on any assets they have, but again, if assets are limited, your claim may not be met.
Contact an Attorney Today
You may have questions about your case, and you may want to assess if it's a viable case.
The best way to do that is to contact a personal injury attorney. When you contact a personal injury attorney about your case, you can be sure that you have someone on your side fighting to get the best compensation for your pain and suffering, medical bills and automotive damage.