It is not common for car accident settlements to exceed the applicable auto liability insurance limits, but it does happen. This is generally only possible when there is strong evidence to support serious injuries and significant losses.
There may be several options for securing additional compensation as a part of the financial recovery in a car accident case. Our personal injury law firm may be able to help you pursue fair damages based on the facts of your case.
Options for Securing Compensation Above Policy Limits
Generally, there are three ways an attorney may be able to secure compensation above policy limits for their client. Note that this does not usually include the insurer willingly agreeing to pay out more than the policy is worth.
Settling with the at-Fault Driver
It may be possible to reach a settlement that includes the insurer paying out based on their policy maximum and the at-fault driver agreeing to cover the rest of your compensation with their personal assets. This is only possible when there are assets to cover this discrepancy.
Filing a Claim Based on Your Underinsured Motorist Coverage
One of the easiest ways to secure additional compensation beyond the at-fault driver’s policy limits is to file a claim based on your own underinsured motorist insurance coverage. This coverage is optional in many states, but it often comes packaged with your liability auto insurance policy unless you specifically decline it.
Winning an Award at Trial
When a car accident case goes to trial, the jury does not concern itself with the limits of the insurance policy. As such, it may award damages beyond the coverage limits. When it issues a verdict that exceeds the policy limits, the defendant—generally the at-fault driver—could face a lien or seizure of their assets to cover the difference.
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Some Injuries Are More Likely to Secure Compensation Above Policy Limits
The most common category of losses recovered in car accident claims is compensatory damages. This means victims generally recover compensation for the expenses and losses they experienced due to the accident. Because of this, some injuries are much more likely to lead to settlements that exceed policy limits than others. This includes:
- Severe, lifelong injuries and impairments
- Spinal cord injuries that include paralysis
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Loss of an arm or leg
- Severe burns
Any injury that requires significant hospitalization, surgeries, inpatient rehabilitation, and at-home support and nursing care could quickly have costs that exceed the limits of most auto insurance policies.
On the other hand, it is improbable you will recover a payout that exceeds the policy limits in a case when you recover within a few weeks and do not require long-term inpatient care and support.
Securing a Settlement That Exceeds Policy Limits Is Often Difficult
Even if your injuries are severe, it can be challenging to prove your case is worth more than the liability insurance coverage provides and secure this payout. You may want to work with a personal injury law firm that navigates this process frequently for best results.
If your injuries were serious enough to cost more than the other driver’s insurance will provide, you are likely still recovering. Working with an attorney who can handle your insurance claims, building a case for fair compensation, and representing you throughout the process will allow you to focus on your health.
How a Car Accident Lawyer May Be Able to Help with Your Case
Our law firm offers complimentary consultations so that you can ask questions and learn more about your rights. If you choose to hire us, we can look at the circumstances specific to your claim and determine the best route that could allow you to recover the compensation you need to pay your bills.
We may put a plan in place for you that includes:
- Investigating what happened and gathering strong support for your case
- Proving the value of your expenses and losses
- Filing a claim based on the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage
- Filing an underinsured motorist claim, a lawsuit, or other paperwork
- Representing your best interests and fighting for fair and just compensation
There are time limits on when you need to file a civil suit in car accident cases. Some of them, such as Louisiana’s one-year limit (La. Civ. Code Art. 3492), are very short. Under Ala. Code § 6-2-38, Alabama gives victims two years to act. The time limit is three years in both Arkansas (Ark. Code Ann. § 16-56-105) and Mississippi (Miss. Code Ann. § 15-1-49).
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Contact Morris Bart, LLC, About Your Case Today
The Morris Bart law firm offers free consultations through each of our 16 locations across the Gulf South. We serve all areas of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi on a contingency fee basis.
You can talk to our team today to learn more about how one of our lawyers can help you explore your legal options. Call (800) 537-8185 to get started.
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