WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE VICTIM’S DAMAGES EXCEED A DRIVER’S INSURANCE COVERAGE?
Posted on Wednesday, June 26th, 2019 at 12:43 am
Traffic is something that every motorist in Sacramento County must contend with during their daily commutes. At times, traffic can be overwhelming. Unfortunately, auto accidents are bound to happen with that many people on the road at one time. Sadly, many of the crashes that occur are preventable. A driver who is distracted, speeding, driving recklessly, intoxicated, or drowsy can make mistakes that lead to collisions and significant damages.
If a driver causes an accident, that driver can be held liable for damages and losses that victims sustain because of the crash. Filing an insurance claim with the driver’s insurance provider is the first step in recovering compensation for your claim. If the driver’s insurance provider accepts liability for the claim, you can receive compensation for a variety of damages.
Examples of damages that may be related to a car accident include:
- Medical bills
- Property damage
- Loss of income
- Travel expenses to doctor’s appointments
- Personal care
- Assistance with household services (i.e. lawn maintenance, washing clothing, cleaning, etc.)
- Medications and medical equipment
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Permanent impairment and disability
- Physical, emotional, and mental pain and suffering
The value of your accident claim includes out-of-pocket financial losses and expenses as well as noneconomic damages or pain & suffering damages. It can be difficult to calculate the value of an accident claim, especially claims that involve traumatic injuries and permanent impairments. In addition to the damages to date, you may also be entitled to future damages for ongoing medical treatment and loss of income.
What Happens When the Value of My Claim Exceeds the Driver’s Liability Coverage?
The insurance company for the other driver is only liable for damages up to the policy limits of the driver’s liability insurance policy. However, that does not mean that the driver is not personally liable for the damages. You could file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver seeking a personal judgment. If you obtain a personal judgment, you can try to collect on the judgment, but if the person does not have assets that can be levied to pay the judgment, you have a worthless piece of paper.
There may be another option. If you have underinsured motorist coverage, you may receive compensation for your car accident claim from your insurance provider.
What is Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
Underinsured motorist coverage protects you if another driver causes an accident and does not have enough insurance or funds to pay your claim in full. Once you settle your claim with the insurance company for the other driver, you can file a claim against your underinsured motorist coverage for any damages that were not paid by the other company. Depending on the policy limits of your underinsured motorist coverage, you could receive full compensation for all damages.
Contact a Sacramento Auto Accident Attorney for Help
There could be other sources of compensation for your accident claim. Our legal team thoroughly investigates every aspect of your accident to identify all parties who might have some liability. We also research all potential sources of compensation to maximize the chance that you receive the highest amount possible for your personal injury claim.
If you need help with an accident claim or you have questions, schedule a free consultation with a Sacramento auto accident attorney by calling The Tiemann Law Firm at (916) 999-9000.