If you were hurt in a car accident caused by the negligence of another driver, you have the legal right to pursue compensation for your injuries by filing a claim through the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. But what if that person’s insurance limits are not enough to cover the full amount of your damages?
With the help of our South Bend car accident lawyers, you may be able to pursue the compensation you need, even if your claim exceeds the value of the at-fault driver’s coverage. Below, we discuss what your options may be.
Minimum Requirements in Indiana
Indiana is an at-fault state, which means every driver is legally required to carry liability insurance and property damage coverage to pay for injury or death and property damage caused by the accident.
The minimum required coverage in Indiana is as follows:
- $25,000 for bodily injury per person
- $50,000 for bodily injury for multiple people per accident
- $10,000 for property damage per accident
Additionally, every insurance provider must offer uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage to every driver, who then has the right to reject the coverage in writing.
Impacts of Insurance Policy Limits
Every auto insurance policy has a limit, which is the maximum amount an insurer will pay out for an insurance claim if the policyholder is being sued.
Although insurance companies are required to negotiate settlements in good faith, there is no legal requirement to offer more than the policy limits for a claim. Since insurers frequently look for ways to undervalue injury claims, it is highly unlikely that an insurance company would offer a settlement to an injury victim that exceeds the policy limit.
Options for Recovering More than the Policy Limits
Many drivers have more than the minimum coverage, but even those drivers may not have enough to cover your damages. That is why you and your attorney may need to look for other options for securing full compensation, including:
Suing the Insurance Company
If it is determined that your damages are worth more than the policy limits, yet the insurer refuses to pay the limit, you may have legal grounds to file a bad faith insurance lawsuit. If the case makes it to trial and a jury returns a verdict above the policy limits in your favor, the insurer may be on the hook for the full amount of your damages.
Suing the Driver or Owner of the Vehicle
Another option that could help you recover the full value of your damages if there is not enough insurance coverage is to file a lawsuit against the driver who hit you, or if the vehicle does not belong to the driver, the owner of the vehicle.
However, this may only be a good idea if the at-fault driver or vehicle owner has significant assets for your lawyer to pursue. Unless the at-fault party has significant assets, there would be no point in filing a lawsuit. Even if the lawsuit was successful, you may never see the compensation you were awarded.
Suing Other Liable Parties
If your accident involved more than one vehicle, was caused by a mechanical failure or if you could prove someone else’s negligence also contributed to your injuries, you may be able to seek compensation from that other party.
For example, if a driver hits you while trying to avoid a pothole in the road, you may be able to file a claim against that driver’s insurance as well as the local municipality that is responsible for roadway maintenance.
Filing a Claim Through Your Underinsured Motorist Coverage
For drivers who elected to have UIM coverage in their insurance policy, there is also the option to file a claim through their own insurance to recover economic damages, such as medical bills and property damage. This may be done without filing a lawsuit, but you cannot recover compensation for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, through a UIM claim.
Have More Questions? Call Today
If you have questions about recovering compensation after an accident, call the attorneys at Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak to discuss your claim.
We offer a free consultation with no obligation to take legal action. If you choose to work with us, we do not charge you any upfront fees and we only get paid if you do.
Our attorneys have years of experience helping injury victims recover the compensation they need for medical bills, lost wages and other damages by negotiating settlements or filing lawsuits when necessary.
Let us review your claim. Call today: (844) 678-1800