Can a Car Accident Settlement Exceed Policy Limits?
A car accident settlement can exceed policy limits. However, the insurer may not pay more than the threshold outlined in the policy. Therefore, the defendant or another party may be personally liable for the settlement amounts over the policy limit.
Auto Insurance Policy Limits in Florida
Florida’s minimum coverage for auto accidents is:
Florida does not require drivers to purchase bodily injury liability insurance. If the driver has bodily injury liability coverage, however, the minimum amount they should have is $25,000. In some cases, this is more than enough to cover your injuries and related losses. In other cases, you may find that this barely makes a dent in your damages.
Unfortunately, the insurer will likely not pay more than the limit amount designated in the policy. In this case, you need to explore other options.
Collecting for Damages Above the Insurance Limits
Regardless of the limits in the insurance policy, you may still have options for covering your damages such as medical bills, lost wages, property damage, or noneconomic damages. Your lawyer may be able to help recover your losses from sources such as:
If the other driver hit you with a commercial vehicle such as an 18-wheeler, city bus, or company car, you may be able to file claims against the driver and the company to recover your damages. If there were multiple drivers in an auto accident, you may have the option of filing a claim against each driver.
The At-Fault Driver
Many Florida drivers carry auto insurance so that insurer will assume liability for your damages. In many cases, the driver cannot afford to pay for damages. However, if you have exhausted other resources for compensation, you may go after the at-fault driver in court to recover as much of your damages as possible.
An Umbrella Policy
Some drivers purchase umbrella policies. An umbrella policy can cover all damages that exceed the amount of coverage provided by the primary auto policy. For example, if you have $40,000 in damages and the driver only has $25,000 in bodily injury liability coverage, the umbrella policy will pick up the remaining balance.
Collecting from Your Auto Insurance Company
If you have an uninsured/underinsured motorist policy, you can use this coverage for any compensation you need above the other driver’s policy limits.
Your auto accident lawyer can investigate all possible sources for compensation and then advise on which legal options are available to you.
Bad Faith Cases
In a bad faith case, the at-fault party’s insurance company may deny a valid claim and refuse to negotiate a settlement to cover your damages. Rather than going after the defendant, in this case, you have the option of filing a bad faith lawsuit against the insurer. If you win your case in court, the insurer may be liable for up to 100 percent of your damages.
Your auto accident lawyer can help you with your lawsuit by doing the following:
- Establishing who was at fault for the accident
- Establishing that the accident is what led to your injuries
- Calculating the actual value of your case based on your total damages
Your lawyer can build a case based on all available evidence and then submit the evidence to the court. Your lawyer can help you get the maximum compensation possible to cover your accident-related expenses and other financial losses.
Getting Compensation Through a Lawsuit Against the At-Fault Driver
If you must file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver, you must be able to prove the driver behaved negligently, caused your accident, and caused you to suffer injuries and damages. You must also establish the value of your damages.
A lawyer can help you establish negligence and the value of your case.
Compensation to Which You May Entitled in a Florida Car Accident Claim
The compensation to which you may be entitled depends on the circumstances of your accident. However, common damages in car accident cases include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity, if your injuries keep you from working in the same position that you had before your accident
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
Understanding the Different Types of Insurance in Florida
Some drivers do not get the compensation they need after an auto accident injury because they do not understand the types of insurance and what might be available. There are several different types of coverage available in Florida, including:
Bodily Injury Liability
Bodily injury liability policies cover injuries that arise out accidents the policyholder causes. For example, a driver runs a red light and hits someone driving through the intersection. Their liability insurance would cover any injuries the other party suffered. This is the policy from which you would receive your compensation.
Property Damage Liability
Property damage liability covers damage you cause to another party’s property.
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage applies in situations where the other driver is uninsured or does not have the coverage you need for your injuries and other losses. It also applies in hit and runs. If you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, this policy can cover any compensation above the at-fault driver’s policy limits.
Find Out How Much Your Auto Accident Case is Worth
If you would like to know more about what options are available to recover your damages after your auto accident, contact the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato. We can help you get the compensation you need to cover all of your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. To find out more about our legal services, call us today at 954-633-8270 for a free case assessment. We handle cases on a contingency basis, which means you pay nothing out of pocket.