After an accident, the insurance claims process begins. When filing a claim, car insurance policy limits are an important factor. Policy limits are the maximum amount of money that your insurer will pay out for any individual covered by the policy and any single accident.
So, what happens when a car accident claim exceeds its policy limit? In this case, the insurance company is only obligated to pay up to the limits of the policy. If you need extra care, repairs, or other compensation beyond the policy limits, you may have to look at other avenues.
If you’ve found yourself in a situation where the policy limit is not enough to cover your accident-related expenses, there are a few options. One potential course of action is to pursue legal recourse. In this article, we’ll explore some of your options to help you better understand what can be done if a car accident claim exceeds the policy limits.
What is an Insurance Policy Limit?
An insurance policy limit is the maximum amount of money that your insurance company will pay out for any individual covered by the policy and any single accident. Typically, each policy has limits on property damage liability and bodily injury liability, which can range from a few thousand dollars up to millions.
The size of your policy limits depends on factors such as the type of coverage you have, the limits set by your insurer, and the amount of money you are willing to spend on insurance. In addition, some states may require a minimum level of coverage for auto insurance policies.
It is important to understand that policy limits are in place to protect both you and your insurance company from financial hardship. They ensure that the insurance company does not pay out more money than it can afford to lose and that the policyholder is not liable for costs beyond the policy limits.
Where can I find my policy limits?
Your policy limits can usually be found on your car insurance declarations page or your policy documents. If you are unable to locate them, you should contact your insurance company and ask for a copy of the policy.
How Often Do Auto Accident Settlements Exceed the Policy Limits?
It is not uncommon for auto accident settlements to exceed the policy limits. This can happen when an individual’s damages are greater than what the insurance company is willing or able to pay. In these cases, it may be necessary to pursue legal action in order to receive adequate compensation for your losses.
What To Do If Your Car Accident Claim Exceeds Policy Limits
In the event that your car accident damages exceed the policy limits, you may have to seek other options. Attempting to negotiate with your insurance company will likely result in them refusing to pay more than the policy limits.
In some cases, your insurance company may be willing to settle for an amount that is higher than the policy limits (this is known as a “consent to settle” agreement). In other cases, you may have to sue the at-fault driver in court and seek a judgment for the damages.
No matter which route you choose, you’re going to need an experienced lawyer to help you navigate the process. A lawyer can help you understand what options are available and guide you in pursuing a legal remedy for your damages. The typical process will look something like this:
1. Seek legal counsel
Once you decide to hire an accident lawyer, they will need to review the details surrounding your accident and advise you on your legal options. You can speed up the process by coming to your meeting prepared with as much information as possible.
This includes copies of the police report, medical records, and photos or videos of the accident scene and your vehicle. Your lawyer can use this evidence to craft a strong legal strategy to pursue a fair settlement.
2. Contact & negotiate with the at-fault driver’s insurer
Your lawyer will contact the at-fault driver’s insurer and negotiate a settlement on your behalf. They will also provide evidence that shows why you are entitled to more money than what is covered by the policy limits.
Your lawyer may need to go back and forth with the insurance company several times before they come to an agreement. This process can be difficult and time-consuming, so it is important to have an experienced lawyer on your side who understands the nuances of insurance law.
3. Tap into other insurance coverages
You want to find a lawyer who is going to leave no stone unturned. If you are unable to reach a settlement through the at-fault driver’s insurer, there may be other coverages that can help pay for your damages.
This could include personal injury protection (PIP) coverage or uninsured motorist coverage if the at-fault driver is uninsured. Your lawyer will know which coverages to look for and how to go about getting you the money you deserve.
4. File a personal injury lawsuit
If all else fails (which is, unfortunately, a common outcome), you may have to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. This should be seen as a last resort, but it is sometimes necessary in order to hold wrongdoers accountable and ensure that justice is served.
Your lawyer will handle all of the legal paperwork and present your case in court. They will also ensure that you are adequately compensated for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.
What Damages Can I Sue the Other Driver For?
There are two types of damages that you can sue the at-fault driver for: economic damages and non-economic damages.
- Economic damages are those that have a direct monetary value, such as medical bills, lost wages, and property damage.
- Non-economic damages are those that are more subjective in nature and have no set dollar amount. These include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
The amount of money you can seek in a personal injury lawsuit depends on the facts surrounding your case. Your lawyer will be able to provide you with an estimate of what you should expect to receive if you win your case.
No matter where you are in dealing with the aftermath of an accident, it is important to remember that you are not alone in your fight for justice. With the help of an experienced lawyer, you can seek a legal remedy for your damages and ensure that the at-fault driver is held accountable for their actions.
Get Help from an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer Serving Southern California
It’s not uncommon for car accident claims to exceed policy limits. To ensure you’re covered in the event of an accident, it is important to understand your policy limits as well as other insurance options such as uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Knowing what to do if a car accident claim exceeds its policy limit will help you be prepared in case the worst happens.
If you have been involved in a car accident, an experienced car accident lawyer from The JLF Firm can help guide you through the process of filing a claim and securing the maximum compensation for your damages. Contact us today for a free consultation about your case. We serve Riverside, San Bernardino, and the surrounding areas. Contact us at 888-552-2414 to get started. We look forward to helping you with your case!
Car Insurance Claim FAQs
Can a lawyer assist in filing my initial insurance claim?
Yes, in fact, contacting a lawyer right away is the best way to ensure that your initial insurance claim is handled properly. An experienced lawyer will be able to review your policy and advise you of the best course of action for filing an insurance claim.
What if I haven’t purchased insurance coverage?
If you do not have insurance, your lawyer may be able to assist you in finding other forms of compensation or potential coverages that could make up for the damages caused by a car accident.
When can I expect a settlement?
The timeline for a car accident settlement varies depending on the complexity of the case. However, if the damages exceed policy limits or other complications arise, settlements may take longer to reach. Your lawyer will be able to provide you with more accurate timelines.