If you are injured in a crash, you may be eligible to make a claim against the driver responsible for the accident and any resulting injuries and damages. This is because Wisconsin follows a traditional fault-based system. In an ideal situation, this would mean getting fully compensated for all your losses. The trouble is, sometimes the amount of compensation you may be eligible to receive exceeds the at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits.
While it may be possible to collect more compensation than the policy limits, it is not an easy task, especially without an experienced attorney by your side. Below, Sigman Janssen discusses what you need to know about insurance policy limits and the value of your claim.
Understanding Insurance Policy Limits
When a driver purchases liability insurance, there is always a policy limit. This limit refers to the maximum amount of compensation an insurance company will pay out if the policyholder is being sued. Insurance policy limits apply to cases settled out of court and to compensation awarded in a verdict.
For instance, say you are in a car accident and the at-fault driver’s insurance has a policy limit for $25,000 in bodily injury coverage. This is the maximum amount his or her insurer is legally obligated to cover for your injuries and damages. This may include medical bills, loss of income, and other out-of-pocket costs.
Should your damages total more than the limit – in this case over $25,000 – the remaining balance would not be covered by that insurer.
Suing for More Than the Policy Limit
Unfortunately, you cannot make an insurance company pay beyond its policy limit. You do, however, have the right to sue the at-fault driver for more than the value of his or her insurance policy. This would mean directly filing a lawsuit directly against the driver who caused the accident and not the insurer.
The issue is that many drivers typically do not have the funds to cover your damages. Even if you win the case, you may not be able to collect the full amount awarded. Lawsuits can be expensive and lengthy.
In most cases, your lawyer will pursue compensation for you through negotiations with the insurance company. This might limit you if your damages exceed the policy limits, but it may be the best way unless your lawyer decides that a lawsuit would be necessary.
Other Ways to Pursue Financial Compensation
There are multiple ways you and your lawyer can work to recover compensation beyond an insurance company’s policy limits. This includes the following:
Under an Umbrella Policy
Umbrella policies help provide additional coverage over and beyond the amount of primary auto insurance coverage the at-fault driver may have. The umbrella policy would kick in when a driver faces liability for damages that exceed the specific amount in his or her auto insurance coverage.
Your lawyer can help determine if there are any umbrella policies that apply to your situation in order to help you recover damages.
Filing a Lawsuit Against Multiple Parties
Should multiple liable parties be involved in an accident, you may be able sue each party to cover the percentage of the damages they caused.
Get the Legal Answers You Need Today
Being able to collect more than a policy limit is sometimes possible if your injuries and damages require more compensation. A licensed Appleton car accident lawyer from our firm is prepared to review your situation, discuss your legal options and guide you throughout the legal process from start to finish.
Request a free, no-obligation consultation to see how we may be able to help. There is no obligation involved to retain our services, but if you do, we charge no fees unless you obtain compensation.
Need legal help? Call (877) 888-5201 today.