What If the Other Driver Does Not Have Enough Coverage for My Injuries?
An Experienced Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You Get Coverage
Insurance packages vary from one to the other. Some may not even have insurance coverage for bodily injuries. Believe it or not, most motorists insure their properties but not their bodies, probably because they are already paying for a separate health insurance.
In any case, bodily injury liability coverage is a protection not only for you when you are injured but also when you injure someone and you are at-fault. This gives you a guarantee that the insurance company will pay your injury claim if you are guilty of negligence. It also includes payment for a car accident lawyer or legal defense lawyer if the other party sues you.
What is painful, though, is that a motorist can be at-fault, hurt you, and then tell you that he does not have enough insurance protection to pay for your hospital bills. He may have a policy but it is inadequate. What can you do in this situation?
Before we go into our recommendations, we first want to say that you should get uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM). This is a type of insurance that protects you should an uninsured driver hit you and has no adequate insurance policy. This insurance will cover the following:
- Lost wages due to hospitalization or injury
- Cost of medical care
- Loss of earning capacity should you be disabled
- Funeral expenses
Remember, insurance rates and coverage varies from one company to another so choose wisely. Now, let us move on to the things you should do if the at-fault driver who hit you has insurance but it is not enough.
Make a Claim Against Your Insurance
What you need to do is to ask your insurance company to cover the balance of the underinsured driver. Most of the time, your insurance company will match the coverage limit of the underinsured. However, this will only apply if you purchased UIM. What makes this complicated is that you can only take the excess or difference between your UIM and the at-fault driver’s coverage.
Let us say that the total cost of the medical expenses is $50,000. The at-fault driver only has $40,000. Now there is a difference of $10,000. Who is going to pay for that?
If your UIM coverage is higher than the driver’s limit, which is $40,000, you can make a claim. Let us say your UIM is $100,000, you have an excess of $60,000 from which you can draw a claim. You can settle for $40,000 from the driver and another $10,000 from your $60,000 for medical expenses. Why do you only have $60,000 only? It is because $60,000 is your only excess UIM against his limit, which is $40,000.
Sue the At-Fault Driver
An experienced car accident lawyer should know the best way to go about this problem so it is best to consult one. If you do not have UIM, or if it is not enough, any financial liability that resulted from your body injury will come out of your pocket.
Even if you have the money to pay for your medical expenses, it is wise to sue the at-fault driver and be compensated for his negligence. Taking legal action is your only course of action because you cannot expect the other driver to pay up unless he is legally obligated to.
This, though, does not apply in the entire country. There are states in which you cannot file a lawsuit. In a no-fault state, you and your insurance company are solely responsible for your own expenses. It does not matter who caused it or who erred. There is a small possibility, though, that you can sue, but only if you suffered serious injuries or if your medical expenses are higher than what your insurance company can pay. Again, this varies from state to state.
In most states, you can sue. The problem is there is no guarantee that you can collect. If a driver is found guilty and was sentenced to pay for the costs, you have to ask yourself, where is he going to get the money? If you think about it, most underinsured motorists have no assets.
Sue Your Insurance Company
Insurance companies do not always work in good faith. Sometimes, insurance companies will not give you the best deals or they will not deal with the situation appropriately. In a situation like this, your best option is to hire a car accident lawyer who can take your case to a court of law. If your lawyer can prove that your insurance company acted in bad faith, they may pay more than what your insurance claim is worth. In some cases, insurance companies had to pay for punitive damages that can amount to more than $100,000.
Car Accident Resources