How Insurance Policy Limits Affect Accident Settlements
In most accident cases an insurance company will be responsible for the settlement negotiated by the plaintiff’s attorney or awarded by a jury. Accident cases may involve a car accident, slip and fall, boating accident, playground accident or any number of other situations.
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident through no fault of your own, you may wish to seek the services of a personal injury lawyer who can talk to you about your rights. If you have a case then he or she will fight for justice and a settlement on your behalf. You pay nothing up front.
How do insurance policy limits affect accident settlements?
It may come as a surprise to injured parties that insurance companies have policy limits that affect the amount that can be claimed. A policy limit is a maximum amount set by the insurance company that an individual who they insure can be held liable for in the event of an incident that was their fault. This maximum amount applies regardless of the extent or severity of the injuries.
The sad truth is that there are many cases where the defendant’s insurance policy limit is not high enough to cover the client’s needs – whether that is the cost of long-term medical expenses, pain and suffering or other damages. A good personal injury attorney will look for a few different options to increase the settlement above the defendant’s insurance policy when necessary.
Additional settlement options
Health insurance coverage: If the victim has health insurance coverage it can typically be used to pay medical expenses. In many cases, however, the health insurance company sets an agreement for reimbursement from the recovery amount before the difference is paid out to the plaintiff.
Medical providers: in cases where victims have excessive medical bills related to the accident and health insurance and policy limits do not cover those bills, it is sometimes possible for a personal injury attorney to negotiate low payment plans and/or discounted service rates on their client’s behalf.
Underinsured motorist coverage: some people have underinsured motorist coverage as part of their car insurance policy. An underinsured motorist is a person whose car insurance liability limit is very low or who has no car insurance. A person injured in a car accident may be able to recover against their underinsured motorist coverage once the defendant’s insurance policy limits have been reached.
Personal insurance protection (or personal injury protection or PIP): PIP is another optional extension of car insurance. It covers medical expenses and, in many cases, lost wages. One of its advantages is that it will pay out a claim regardless of who is at fault in the accident, giving it the nick-name “no-fault” coverage.
Talk with your insurance company about purchasing insurance coverage policies with reasonably high liability limits so that your policy will be able to pay out a satisfactory settlement without having to go after your personal assets. This is important for car insurance and homeowners insurance policies in particular.
If you or a loved one is dealing with an accident or injury, you have enough on your plate. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!