What if Your Damages Exceed the Insurance Policy Limits?
January 13, 2022
Many people purchase more than the minimum required car insurance coverage. They want to be financially protected in case they cause a crash that results in a severe or life-threatening injury. They do not want the victim filing a claim against them and going after their financial assets.
However, when a crash causes a severe, life-changing injury, the victim’s damages could easily exceed the policy limits of the at-fault driver’s insurance policy.
The question then becomes: How do I obtain compensation for damages that exceed policy limits?
There are options for recovering compensation above the at-fault driver’s policy limits. It is important to discuss the situation with an experienced attorney.
At Phillips Law Group, we are dedicated to recovering full compensation for your damages. We have obtained hundreds of millions on behalf of our clients, many of whom were injured in motor vehicle crashes.
Schedule a free initial consultation today to learn more. Call 1-800-706-3000 .
Using Your Own Insurance to Cover the Difference
Some crashes are going to exceed the limits of the at-fault driver’s liability insurance. That is why Arizona allows drivers to purchase underinsured motorist coverage, which is meant to cover the difference between the full value of your claim and the value of the at-fault driver’s liability insurance.
Technically this coverage is not required as you are allowed to reject the coverage in writing when you purchase your car insurance policy. However, car insurers are required to offer it, which means most drivers in Arizona who have purchased insurance have this coverage.
This is often one of the first options for recovering compensation that exceeds the limits of liability insurance. If you buy underinsured motorist coverage, the minimum allowable coverage is $25,000 per person and up to $50,000 per accident. However, you may be able to buy more.
Other Types of First-Party Coverage
Your lawyer may be able to help you obtain compensation from other types of coverage in your own insurance policy. Common coverages that help include medical payments coverage or collision coverage.
These coverages are entirely optional and insurance companies may not offer them when you purchase your policy. You may need to ask your insurer about them. However, you may be glad you have these coverages if you get into a crash.
It is important to consider what type and how much coverage you can afford. If you can afford extra coverage, you may want to buy it just in case. You never know when another driver could crash into your car. You cannot control the behavior of other drivers, so it is important to be prepared for the unexpected.
Filing a Claim Against a Third Party Besides the Other Driver
There are rare situations when a third party besides the at-fault driver bears some amount of fault for what happened. For example, dangerous road conditions or a defective product may have played a role in the crash. The government entity responsible for maintaining the road or the maker of the defective product may bear liability for your damages.
Your attorney may be able to file a claim against a government entity or product manufacturer. For example, maybe your accident was partially the result of a tire blowout, and the tire was defective. It is possible for accidents to be caused by mechanical failures, such as a problem with the brakes or the engine. In these situations, the manufacturer of the vehicle or the part may bear liability for the crash.
If there were too many potholes on the stretch of road where the crash happened, or the road had fallen into disrepair for some other reason, a government entity may bear fault for the crash victim’s damages.
Restaurants, Bars or Nightclubs
If you were hit by a drunk driver, you may be able to file a claim against more than one party. Liable parties could include the bar, restaurant or night club that served him or her alcohol before this person got behind the wheel. Your attorney would need to prove the establishment served alcohol to someone who was obviously intoxicated or under the legal drinking age and that alcohol consumption was the proximate cause of your injuries. This is outlined in Arizona’s dram shop law.
What About Stacking Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
You may have heard about some states allowing victims to stack underinsured motorist coverage. What this means is you can use coverage from another motor vehicle insurance policy to cover an accident. For example, you might be able to use your auto insurance coverage and your motorcycle insurance coverage.
Unfortunately, you cannot stack coverage like this in Arizona. That means you are limited to using the underinsured motorist coverage in your own insurance policy.
Umbrella Insurance Policies
There are times when the at-fault party has an umbrella policy that is meant to kick in when the at-fault party’s primary liability insurance is exhausted. For example, a truck driver may be covered by the trucking company’s umbrella policy.
As there can be numerous insurance policies that may apply to a crash, it is vital to seek help from an experienced lawyer who has dealt with many insurance companies.
Contact Phillips Law Group for Legal Help
If you have legal questions following a crash, give us a call today to schedule a free legal consultation. There are no upfront fees or legal obligations with our services. That means no risk to you in contacting us to find out how we may be able to assist you during this difficult time.
You cannot count on the insurance company to offer full compensation for your damages, particularly if you are pursuing a claim on your own. Simply hiring an attorney to represent you often triggers a better offer from the insurance company.
Give us a call today to learn more. Ph: 1-800-706-3000 .
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