Auto accident settlements from insurance companies do not often exceed the policy limits held by the insured driver. However, if you are in a severe enough accident that your expenses surpass what an insurance company can pay, you are not without recourse.
Identifying other negligent parties and pursuing a personal injury lawsuit against the driver are other options for receiving the compensation you need.
How Insurance Limits Work?
Insurance policy limits are just that: limits to how much the company is willing to pay for costs associated with an accident. That means that your settlement from the insurance company is unlikely to exceed the amount on the negligent driver’s policy.
To ensure that drivers don’t set unrealistically low policy limits that cannot adequately cover injuries and property damage, states require minimum protection. As highlighted by the Office of Commissioner of Insurance and Safety Fire (OCI), Georgia requires each driver to carry coverage for:
- $25,000 per person and $50,000 per incident in bodily injury liability
- $25,000 per incident in property damage liability
If Your Costs Do Exceed Policy Limits
In the event your injuries and other expenses are so high that the other driver’s coverage is insufficient, you won’t be able to receive more via the insurance company. They are, after all, only required to pay what the policy dictates. Instead, you may need to pursue other options for additional damages, such as:
- Umbrella insurance policy
- Personal injury lawsuit
Umbrella insurance policies are actually designed for allowing someone at fault for an accident to receive additional coverage for higher expenses. Some umbrella policies are part of company insurance, and the driver who hit you may be covered through their company.
You can also pursue the driver directly with a personal injury lawsuit. They will then have to pay for your expenses out of their own pocket. However, keep in mind that some people may not have the funds or assets to cover these additional expenses.
For a free legal consultation, call 404-214-2001
Identifying Other Negligent Parties
Other factors may have contributed to your accident, meaning other parties can be held liable for your injuries. Car accidents are complicated, and we can help sort out the variables, investigating whether any of the following had a role in your crash:
- Other drivers
- Car designers
- Auto manufacturers
- Maintenance workers
- Cities, counties, or the state
For example, your injuries could have been worsened by faulty airbags or a tire defect. We can investigate all aspects of your vehicle to see if there were any faults on the part of a third party that could have contributed to your crash. That would then make them liable, potentially providing you more compensation.
Other drivers on the road could have also played a role. In multi-car crashes, negligence could be shared by several parties. If you have severe injuries and high costs that realistically can’t be fully paid by the negligent driver and their insurance, it’s important to pursue alternatives.
Challenges in Pursuing a City, County, or State Government
Many governments have legislation in place to protect themselves from liability, and Georgia is no exception. Pursuing a case, then, can be more challenging, as your accident may need to meet certain criteria.
You also may have a short deadline. In Georgia, they are typically:
However, if you choose to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, OCGA §9-3-33 enforces the deadline at two years.
If you suspect a city, county, or state government had a part in your crash and could be held liable for damages, we can determine your eligibility and window for filing.
Bad Faith Claims
Some insurance companies operate in bad faith, which means they reject or devalue a claim without grounds. This decision may not be just a frustrating part of negotiating a settlement but could actually be in violation of OCGA §33-6-34. Among the practices that could be considered bad faith by an insurance company are:
- Not attempting to provide a fair settlement when liability is clear
- Lowballing offers that compel people to file suits to receive amounts due to them
- Denying claims without investigating
There are more examples of bad faith behaviors in the law, and if you suspect you have been the victim of any of them, filing a claim may help you receive damages.
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When in Doubt, Call Kaine Law
At Kaine Law, we don’t want you to be in the dark about how your case will proceed. While auto accident settlements do not typically exceed the policy limits of the negligent driver, we can nonetheless explore other avenues for obtaining damages so that you receive the help you need.
Get in touch with our team today for a free consultation.