Auto accidents can have significant physical, emotional, and financial consequences. If you’ve been injured in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
However, insurance policies have coverage limits, and it is essential to understand whether auto accident settlements frequently exceed those policy limits. This is especially true when working with a car accident lawyer in Connecticut to get your settlement.
This article will explore the factors influencing the likelihood of an auto accident settlement exceeding policy limits.
Understanding Insurance Policy Limits
Insurance policies typically have coverage limits that dictate the maximum amount the insurance company will pay for a claim.
These limits are specified in the policy and can vary depending on the type of coverage and the insurance company involved. For example, a liability insurance policy may have separate limits for bodily injury per person, bodily injury per accident, and property damage.
Factors Affecting Settlement Amounts
Several factors can influence the settlement amount in an auto accident case. These factors include
1. Severity of Injuries: The severity of injuries sustained in the accident is a significant factor in determining the settlement amount.
More severe injuries often require extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation and may result in long-term disabilities. Consequently, the damages claimed in such cases are typically higher, especially when a victim works with a Middletown car accident lawyer.
2. Medical Expenses and Future Costs: The total medical expenses incurred due to the accident, including hospital bills, surgeries, medications, and ongoing treatments, are considered when determining the settlement amount.
Future medical costs like long-term care or rehabilitation may also be factored in.
3. Lost Wages and Loss of Earning Capacity: If the accident resulted in the victim being unable to work temporarily or permanently, the lost wages or loss of earning capacity will be considered when calculating the settlement amount.
This includes the current lost income and the potential future income that may have been earned if not for the accident.
4. Pain and Suffering: Pain and suffering damages account for the physical and emotional distress experienced due to the accident.
These damages are subjective and vary from case to case. Factors such as the duration and intensity of pain, the impact on daily life, and the emotional trauma endured are considered when determining the settlement amount.
When Settlements Exceed Policy Limits
Sometimes, auto accident settlements may exceed the at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits. This can occur when:
1. Multiple Parties are Involved: If multiple parties were injured in the accident and have valid claims, the insurance policy limits may be exhausted when compensating all injured parties.
In such situations, the insurance company is typically responsible for paying each claimant a proportionate share of the policy limits. A New Haven car accident lawyer can help victims receive their fair share of a settlement.
2. Catastrophic Injuries or Wrongful Death: Accidents resulting in catastrophic or wrongful death tend to have higher settlement amounts.
In these cases, the damages can surpass the policy limits, leaving the injured party or the victim’s family with a potential shortfall in compensation.
3. Inadequate Coverage: Unfortunately, some drivers carry insufficient insurance coverage due to negligence or to minimize premium costs.
Suppose the at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits are too low to compensate for the damages suffered fully. In that case, the injured party may seek additional compensation through their own underinsured motorist coverage or by personally filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Seeking Additional Compensation
When an auto accident settlement exceeds policy limits, there are several avenues to explore to seek additional compensation:
- Underinsured Motorist Coverage: If you have underinsured motorist coverage as part of your auto insurance policy, you may be able to file a claim to cover the shortfall between the at-fault driver’s policy limits and the actual damages incurred.
- Filing a Lawsuit: In some cases, it may be necessary to personally file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver to pursue additional compensation beyond the policy limits. This can involve seeking damages directly from the driver’s assets. A car accident lawyer can assist you with this process.
- Negotiating with the Insurance Company: In certain situations, it may be possible to negotiate with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to obtain a settlement amount that exceeds the policy limits.
This can be a complex process that may require the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney.
While auto accident settlements generally adhere to the insurance policy limits, there are circumstances in which the settlement amount can exceed those limits. The severity of injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering contribute to the overall settlement amount.
If a settlement surpasses policy limits, exploring options such as underinsured motorist coverage or pursuing a lawsuit may provide avenues for additional compensation.
Consulting with an experienced Vernon car accident lawyer can help you navigate these complex situations and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses.