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Can I Recover More Than The Insurance Policy Limits?

February 10, 2021Personal Injury

If you are injured by another party’s negligence, the fact that the liable party has insurance coverage does not guarantee the policy limits will be enough to fully cover your losses. Your personal injury claim may exceed the allowable coverage, and leave you wondering how you are going to pay your remaining medical bills and lost wages. In most cases, the injuries or property damage must be severe and life-changing for the judgment to exceed the policy. However, there may be options for you to collect additional compensation. 

Seeking Compensation from an Umbrella Policy

In certain instances, there may be multiple insurance policies in play, since some defendants purchase excess insurance or an “umbrella policy.” Umbrella insurance is a type of personal liability insurance that acts as coverage above and beyond the limits that an individual’s regular auto, homeowners, or watercraft insurance will pay. Other members of the individual’s family or household are also covered under umbrella insurance. 

For example, let’s say a trucking company that has a primary policy that covers $100,000 bodily injury, and a $50,000 umbrella policy. The primary policy would pay up to $100,000, and if the total bodily injury damages exceed that amount, the umbrella policy would pay for up to $50,000 more. 

A personal injury lawyer can help you gain a clear understanding of all possible insurance policies that may provide additional compensation in your case.

Suing More Than One Defendant

There may be more than one party that can be held legally and financially responsible for your injury. When that is the case, the multiple defendants can be found “jointly and severally” liable for the full amount of damages. That means, for instance, if there are two defendants and each has a policy limit of $50,000, both policies can be combined to satisfy a $100,000 judgment.

Two common scenarios in which there may be multiple at-fault parties, include:

  • Vicarious Liability Cases: In this case, the defendant must have been acting on behalf of a third-party. A common example of this is when a hospital is vicariously liable for a doctor’s negligence in a medical malpractice suit. 
  • Multi-Car Pileup: More than two vehicles are involved in an accident that injured the victim. In theory, each driver who contributed to the accident can be held liable for damages.

After an investigation is completed into your case by your lawyer, they will determine if there are multiple parties that can be held responsible for your losses. 

Proving the Insurance Company Acted in Bad Faith

Insurance companies owe policyholders a duty to honor their contracts and provide appropriate levels of compensation. Unfortunately, many insurance companies undervalue, severely delay payment, or unlawfully deny claims, even though they are not legally allowed to commit these acts of bad faith under Missouri law.

If an insurance company refuses to enter into a reasonable settlement agreement that abides by the policy limits, filing a bad faith insurance lawsuit could potentially result in a settlement larger than the policy limit. 

Your attorney can review your case, including all documentation and correspondence with the insurer, to evaluate if they are violating their contractual obligations. 

Collecting from a Defendant Personally

If the individual or company responsible for your injury has an insurance policy with limits that do not fully cover your damages, you have the option to exercise your right to sue them personally. 

In this case, the at-fault party’s personal assets, such as cash, investments, or real estate, can be used as compensation. However, these cases are not always successful since the liable party may not have enough assets or income to pay your damages. 

A personal injury lawyer can help you determine if a personal lawsuit is worth your time and expense. 

Speak to a Trusted St. Louis Personal Injury Lawyer Today

To ensure you receive the full and fair amount of compensation that you deserve, contact Goldblatt + Singer and start with a free consultation. 

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