Accidents are far more frequent than you might think, and that is why you must familiarize yourself with the personal injury law in your vicinity and the things that you need to do should you suffer from damages or losses as a result of the negligence of others. One of the things many people are unaware of is that there are limits to what they can claim from the insurance company in case of an accident or injury. Insurance providers put limits to the policies they provide to their clients, so they only pay for what they owe the defendant according to the policy limits.
This limitation can restrict personal injury victims in terms of receiving the rightful compensation they deserve for their incurred losses. If you want to learn how you can obtain your due compensation, even if it exceeds the limits of the other party’s insurance policy, you’ve come to the right place. This article explains the legal definition of insurance policy limits and how victims of negligence can file injury claims for damages that exceed these limits.
Understanding Insurance Policy Limits
Liability insurance policies always have certain limits in place. These limits refer to the amount of money paid out in the occurrence of an accident caused by the policyholder leading to the injury of other parties or damages to their belongings or properties. To put it simply, if a policyholder purchases a liability insurance policy with a limit of $40000, their insurance company commits to only pay up to $40000 of damages incurred. If the accident sustained $80000 worth of damages, victims will only be able to receive $40000 from the at-fault insurance provider. The remaining damage costs are referred to as excess damages and can be rewarded through filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. This is why negligence victims are urged to seek help from professional personal injury attorneys immediately after their accidents in order to receive the best legal advice and obtain the rightful compensation.
Collecting Compensation for Excess Damages
If you suffer from an accident due to the negligence of another party and the damages exceed their policy limits, you might think that there is no way to recover compensation for the excess damages. However, a specialized lawyer based in your city or state will be able to provide expert guidance to help you claim your rights in accordance with the local laws in your area. If you live in South Carolina, a Rock Hill personal injury lawyer will be able to advise you on the different options you have to claim your lawful compensation. Even if your damages go beyond the defendant’s insurance policy limits, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against more than one party, receive your reimbursement under an umbrella policy, or recover your compensation personally from the responsible party.
Suing More Than One Defendant
Many negligence cases are caused by the lack of compliance to owed duties of more than one party. In such cases, all defendants are legally and financially responsible for the damages that took place as a result of their negligence. Different defendants are found to be “jointly and severally” liable for the costs of the damages, and this is good for the victims’ case because each defendant’s policy would cover part of the damages that incurred.
For example, if two defendants were held liable and each had an insurance policy limit of $40000, both defendants can cover an $80000 judgment, which can make up for the majority of the damages. There wouldn’t always be more than one defendant to hold liable for your losses but similar situations include medical malpractice, product liability, and vicarious liability cases.
Umbrella Insurance Policies
Most large businesses and corporate entities have more than one insurance policy in place. For this reason, you need to get a better understanding of all the different types of insurance policies that may be used by the defendant. Even if you’re going against one at-fault party, they might have an umbrella policy in place which goes over their insurance coverage. Umbrella policies are designed to cover excess damages costing more than the original liability policy limits. If you file an injury claim against a defendant to recover $150000 worth of damages and their policy can only cover $100000, they might have an umbrella policy that covers more than $50000 in case their liability damages exceed limits. In that case, you can retrieve excess damages under that umbrella policy that the defendant has in place.
Suing the Defendant Personally
In most cases, if your damages exceed the limits of the defendant’s policy, your best chance is to obtain the excess damages funds from the defendant personally. This can be done by going to court and getting a wage garnishment order against the defendant or placing a lien on their properties. However, if the defendant does not have enough money or assets to pay your damages, collecting your compensation may be difficult.
Personal injury cases are complicated, and they take different forms and follow different laws depending on the situation. It’s important to seek legal advice as soon as you can if you ever find yourself in such a tragic situation. Personal injury lawyers specialize in injury law and are able to guide you smoothly every step of the way to build a strong case and recover your rightful compensation.