Insurance Policy Limits and How They Impact Your Injury Claim
Posted by PKSD Law Firm on August 2, 2022 in Car Accidents
Car insurance helps to protect you if someone else causes a crash and injures you in the process. Like most states, Wisconsin requires all drivers to carry at least the minimum amount of coverage. However, who pays if your damages exceed the at-fault driver’s policy limits?
If another person caused your crash, you should not have to pay for the damages. At PKSD, we are dedicated to protecting the legal rights of injured victims. Our Milwaukee-based car accident lawyers always fight for maximum compensation.
If your crash damages exceed policy limits, you may have other legal options available to you. Call today to learn more.
What Are Insurance Policy Limits?
Like other states, Wisconsin has minimum insurance requirements. If you have a car, you must meet these requirements to operate your vehicle legally. Insurance policies are important because they protect drivers from having to shell out money for the damages they cause. They also protect the victims injured because of another driver’s negligence.
However, every policy has set limits. Policyholders determine these limits, which are based on the amount of coverage purchased. The limits also legally set the maximum amount the insurance company must pay if an accident occurs.
How Do Policy Limits Apply to an Injured Victim’s Claim?
Here is an example of how insurance limits may apply to a claim. Say that a driver only buys Wisconsin’s minimum bodily injury coverage of $50,000. This same driver causes you to crash, and you suffer $75,000 in damages as a result. That is $25,000 more than the at-fault driver’s policy limits. Despite your damages, the insurance company does not have to pay you more than the at-fault driver’s $50,000 policy.
How Do I Find Out What the At-Fault Driver’s Policy Limits Are?
You could ask the other driver to reveal his or her policy limits. However, the liable insurance company may have told their policyholder not to disclose this information. The insurance company has no obligation to give you those details.
As the claim proceeds, however, the litigation process will reveal the limits in time. Your attorney may also request the limits in a demand letter.
Can I Sue the At-Fault Driver for My Remaining Damages?
Legally, you are within your rights to sue the at-fault driver personally for the remaining losses he or she caused. However, if the insured driver only carries the minimum insurance limits, they probably do not have many assets.
Why You May Not Want to Sue the At-Fault Driver
Lawsuits are expensive for all involved. Pursuing an at-fault party personally costs you valuable time and money. Even if you are awarded anything by the jury, collecting those funds could be difficult, if not impossible. Wisconsin has laws that exempt certain types of property from being seized. For instance, the insured’s primary home and vehicle are both exempt.
This option is something you should discuss further with your attorney. At PKSD, you can discuss your situation with one of our qualified attorneys. There is no risk or cost for this free and confidential initial review of your case.
What if My Damages Exceed Policy Limits of the At-Fault Driver?
If your losses exceed the at-fault driver’s insurance limits, you may still have options for recovering compensation, including:
Other Liable Parties Involved in the Crash
If there are multiple parties who were liable for the crash, you may be able to recover compensation from more than one policy. However it is important to point out that each party is only responsible for his or her percentage of damages.
An Available Umbrella Policy
If the at-fault driver has an umbrella policy, you may be able to recover some additional compensation from this source. However, this coverage is only an option if your damages exceed the driver’s auto insurance policy.
Multiple Car Insurance Policies for the At-Fault Driver
Sometimes an at-fault driver may own multiple vehicles and therefore, multiple insurance policies. Since Wisconsin is a state that allows stacking, you may be able to recover additional compensation in this way.
Using Your Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Wisconsin requires all drivers to purchase the minimum amount of uninsured motorist coverage. Even if you only have the minimum limits, you may be able to recover some of your excess damages under your own policy.
Call PKSD to Discuss Your Legal Options
After any accident caused by another’s negligence, we strongly recommend that you seek legal help as soon as possible.
The attorneys at PKSD have extensive experience and are dedicated to helping the injured. If your damages exceed the available insurance, we are prepared to investigate all sources of available compensation. Find out what your legal options are at no cost or obligation to you.
If you pursue a claim and choose our firm to represent you, there are no upfront costs to pay. We only get paid if we win your case through a settlement or jury-awarded verdict.
Experienced Lawyers. Millions Recovered. 877-877-2228