After an accident, it’s natural to assume that the other party’s insurance company will cover whatever damages you’ve sustained. That’s fair, right?
Unfortunately, policy limits can cap how much compensation you can recover. This is true for various types of claims, including medical malpractice, slip and fall injuries and car accidents. For example, if the defendant’s insurance policy has a maximum limit of $50,000, and you’ve sustained $100,000 in injuries, how can you get the amount needed to cover your damages?
The insurance company will not pay the difference between the defendant’s coverage limits and the value of your injuries, but there are other avenues to explore.
This brief article will discuss your options.
1. Sue Multiple Defendants
Suing multiple defendants is possible if there is more than one party at fault for your injury. These defendants are said to be “jointly and severally liable,” meaning that together, they are liable for 100% of the damages you’ve sustained.
For example, in a car accident case, a collision could have been caused by someone running a red light and colliding with someone who was texting and driving. If the person who was texting and driving was found at fault and had limited insurance, you could potentially recover from both his policy and the person who ran the red light.
Other examples of multiple defendants include:
– A product liability case where a manufacturer made a defective product, and you bought it from a retailer. Both the manufacturer and the retailer could be liable. If there was a distributor in the “stream of commerce,” the distributor could also be liable.
– A medical malpractice case can involve multiple defendants if a doctor was medically negligent, and the negligence could be extended to a hospital as well.
– Vicarious liability occurs when a defendant acts negligently while performing their employment duties. Under the principle of “respondeat superior,” an employer may be liable for negligent acts committed by their employee.
2. Recover from an Umbrella Insurance Policy
Some individuals, businesses, and corporations carry multiple insurance policies, including an umbrella policy. An umbrella policy is meant to cover claims in excess of the insurance policy attached by the personal injury claim.
Umbrella policies offer security and additional protection to businesses (and high net worth individuals) who want to protect their assets in the event that an incident goes beyond their traditional insurance coverage. When a defendant has an umbrella policy, this can be excellent news for your ability to recover beyond a conventional policy limit.
3. Collect Directly from the Defendant
Another option to collect funds beyond the maximum policy coverage is to sue the defendant directly and recover from his assets. This route can be more challenging because an under-insured individual or business may not have enough assets to satisfy your claim, and they might file for bankruptcy court protection rather than turn over their personal assets.
Contact Us to Discuss Your Case
When you encounter a situation where you’re up against the defendant’s policy limits, it can feel hopeless. The good news is that a personal injury attorney can be your advocate and help you navigate these other options for recovering adequate compensation. Contact Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers at 800-PERKINS for a free, no-obligation consultation.