Some car accidents are serious. Those who survive serious accidents are left with huge medical bills, months of lost income, and even permanent disability.
These can have significant associated costs that can easily exceed an insurance policy’s settlement limits.
How often do auto accident settlements exceed the policy limits? Rarely. It is highly unlikely that you will get more than the applicable policy limits.
Texas Auto Insurance Policy Limits
- $30,000 for bodily injury to a single person,
- $60,000 for bodily injury in any one accident, and
- $25,000 for property damage.
Your insurance agent may call this 30/60/25 coverage. While this is the minimum, many drivers carry higher insurance limits.
How often do auto accident settlements exceed the policy limits? Auto accident settlements rarely exceed policy limits.
An insurance company is not required to pay more than the limits of the policy.
If your claim is significantly greater than the policy limits, the insurance company will likely settle the claim for the amount of the policy limit. But that could still leave you with significant unpaid expenses.
What Happens If Accident Damage Exceeds Your Car Insurance?
If your car accident claim surpasses the insurance limits, you might be personally liable for the remaining amount. This means you could be responsible for paying the excess sum out of your own pocket, potentially leading to significant financial strain.
If you settle with an at-fault driver’s insurance company, you must release the at-fault person from further liability. There are other options to pursue when damages exceed policy limits.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage is a type of coverage you carry on your own insurance policy.
This insurance provides coverage if the at-fault driver is uninsured or if they are insured but the coverage is insufficient.
It also pays for injuries caused by drivers who leave the accident scene and can’t be located.
If the at-fault driver’s insurance has settled for the policy maximum, you can try to recover additional damages by filing a claim under your own uninsured/uninsured motorist policy.
If the defendant has an umbrella policy, you may be able to collect more damages from that policy. Umbrella policies come into play after other policies have paid out policy limits.
Other Liable Parties
Sometimes more than one party is responsible for your damages. When this occurs, you may pursue damages from multiple defendants and recover from multiple insurance policies.
A skilled attorney can help you identify all parties who may be liable.
If the driver who hit you was on the job at the time of the collision, you may be able to hold their employer vicariously liable.
When the person was acting on behalf of the company at the time of the accident, the claim would fall under the doctrine of respondeat superior.
For example, if you were hit by a delivery driver on duty, both the delivery driver and the trucking company may be liable.
Product manufacturers and distributors
If a defective product or auto part in a car caused or contributed to your injuries, a manufacturer or distributor may be liable.
You may have a product liability claim against the manufacturer or distributor of the product.
When a road defect is responsible for your accident, it is possible that you may pursue a claim against a government entity.
The state or local government may be held liable for a car accident traced back to a dangerous road condition, hazard, or defect.
The government has a responsibility to ensure the reasonable safety of its public roads.
Suing the at-Fault Party
Suing the at-fault party and obtaining a judgment is a possibility. But it is unlikely to get you more compensation.
When a claim exceeds policy limits, most people are judgment proof. This means that even if you get a judgment against someone, they may not have any assets you can collect.
In Texas, certain assets are exempt from seizure for civil judgments. When you’ve been injured in a car accident, hiring an experienced car accident attorney is critical. A skilled auto accident attorney can explain all possible options.
Contact a Waco, Texas Car Accident Lawyer Today
If your car accident claims are near policy limits, seek legal counsel. Don’t negotiate a settlement without consulting a skilled Waco car accident lawyer.
This is your best chance of obtaining the most compensation. Waco car accident attorneys at The Zimmerman Law Firm, P.C. can walk you through the entire process.
We can negotiate hospital liens, Medicare or Medicaid liens, health insurance reimbursement claims, and other expenses.
The Zimmerman Law Firm, P.C. provides a highly personalized approach to your legal representation. We will stand by your side throughout the process.
The car accident attorney you meet at your consultation will handle your case from start to finish. Please call us today or contact us online to get started.