When you have been hurt in an accident, one of the biggest obstacles you may come upon against in your effort to recover damages is an insurance policy limit. Many drivers only purchase the minimum amount of auto insurance required by Illinois law, which includes $20,000 for property damage and $25,000 for one person’s personal injuries or death. Unfortunately, it is easy to exceed $25,000 in medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering if you are hurt in a collision. It’s even possible to suffer damages beyond higher policy limits if you are now disabled. If you know or believe that the recovery necessary to compensate you for your injuries is beyond the at-fault motorist’s insurance policy limits, you need to look into your options to recover more.
An insurance company will only settle with you up to the policy limit because the other motorist, the company’s client, has not paid for insurance coverage beyond this amount. However, if the other motorist was working for a business at the time of the accident, the company may have an umbrella policy for you to recover under. It is far more common for businesses to have additional protection under umbrella policies than individual drivers, but you and your attorney should check for this option.
If your injuries exceed the policy limit and you need to recover more, you may have the option to take the insurance company or at-fault driver to court. If the insurance company is willing to settle with you up to the policy amount, you can accept this amount and then file a lawsuit against the driver personally for the rest of the recovery. However, it’s important to note that if the driver has little to no assets, you may win damages from someone who cannot afford to pay you.
If the insurance company refuses to settle, you may take it and the driver to court in order to recover. During a personal injury case, it is possible to win a jury verdict far greater than the policy limit. If the award is more than the policy, the insurer will pay up to the policy limit and you will need to recover the rest directly from the other driver.
Also, depending on why the insurer refused to settle, you may have a claim of bad faith that could result in obtaining your necessary settlement and additional damages from the insurance company.
Insurance companies have the right to protect themselves and their customers, so they will question whether their insured was truly at fault and whether you suffer from the injuries you claim. They may even deny your claim at first, causing you to have to spend more time and effort on an appeal. Instead of fighting with the insurance company yourself, you should obtain legal representation from an attorney experienced with personal injury claims and insurance issues like those at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. A skilled attorney will help you support your claim and negotiate a settlement.