What if a Car Accident Claim Exceeds Policy Limits?

car accident claim exceeds the policy limit

Depending on the seriousness of your crash, there’s a possibility that your car accident claim will exceed the defendant’s policy limits. In some cases, your only option will be to settle for the available coverage. However, your Atlanta car accident attorney may be able to find another way for you to recover damages.

In this blog, we’ll explain what your options are if your demand is greater than the other driver’s insurance coverage. We’ll also discuss what your attorney can do to help you.

All Drivers in Georgia Are Required to Carry Auto Insurance

Everybody who drives in the State of Georgia is legally required to carry auto insurance. At a minimum, all motorists must maintain the following amounts of insurance:

  • $25,000 per person for bodily injury
  • $50,000 per accident for injuries
  • $25,000 for property damage

The problem with this system is that some drivers only carry the bare minimum. What this means is that too many accident victims are left seeking other coverage options after a car crash.

The Insurance Company Will Not Pay More Than the Policy Limits

An insurance company will not agree to settle a claim for more than their driver’s policy limits. Even if you win a lawsuit, the insurance company won’t pay more than the policy limits outside of rare exceptions. If your total damages are $300,000 and the defendant only has $100,000 in insurance, the insurance company won’t pay the remaining $200,000.

However, you can sue the at-fault driver for more than the policy limits.

insurance will only pay up to the coverage limit for a car accident

What Happens When Your Car Accident Claim Exceeds Insurance Limits?

The good news is that you do have options if your claim exceeds the other driver’s insurance coverage. You can look to your own policy’s uninsured or underinsured to make up for some of your damages. It all depends on whether you have this coverage and how much it’s for.

Your other option is to sue the driver personally for these damages. Either way, it’s a good idea to talk to a car accident lawyer as soon as possible after a crash to better understand your options.

Underinsured Motorist Coverage

If you have additional coverage, you can file a claim with your insurance carrier. Many insurance agents recommend that you carry uninsured or underinsured motorists’ coverage of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident.

Most car accident settlements average about $50,000. Unfortunately, many people carry the minimum amount of coverage – $25,000. If you have sufficient UM coverage, you shouldn’t have a problem.

Your Accident Attorney in Atlanta Can Sue The Other Driver

If you don’t have UM insurance, your only option is to sue the other driver. You will have to sue them for the difference between what the insurance company pays and your full demand.

The big problem will be collecting damages from the defendant. If the defendant doesn’t have enough money or assets to compensate you, you and your attorney may walk away with a judgment that isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

You Will Have to Secure a Judgment Against the Defendant First

If you have a judgment against the defendant, your Atlanta car accident attorney can help you collect your judgment. In Georgia, you can attempt to collect your judgment through a wage garnishment or a bank levy.

There is a detailed and quite lengthy process to do this. There’s also the chance that you won’t recover more than a few dollars this way. This is why it’s in everybody’s best interest to try to settle your claim for the defendant’s policy limits, as long as it’s a fair amount and covers your out-of-pocket losses.

An Experienced Accident Lawyer Can Help Get You the Compensation You Deserve

There are times when your damages exceed the other driver’s insurance policy limits. That doesn’t mean you don’t have options. Your Atlanta accident lawyer can help you file additional insurance claims if need be. They can also help you pursue the defendant’s personal assets.

All you need to do is call our office today at 770-HELP-NOW and schedule your free, initial consultation. Sit down with an attorney who understands how insurance works and is willing to do what it takes to get you the maximum compensation.

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