My husband was severely injured in a head on collision about a year ago and has not been receiving paychecks because of the accident. The medical bills are piling up and the insurance company says it is unable to settle for more than $25,000.00. What should we do?
- Other driver must have minimum liability policy limits.
- Appears to be a drastic situation.
- State law requires no more than $25,000.00 in liability coverage.
- For someone who is out of work for nearly a year because of a car wreck, their wage loss has likely exceeded $25,000.00 and perhaps exponentially.
Is the negligent driver responsible for compensation above that $25,000.00 minimum?
- That's correct.
- Specifically, insurance company is responsible for amount up to policy limit.
- Example: The other driver would be personally liable to compensate this woman's husband for any amount over that $25,000.00 policy limit.
Do you recommend that this individual attempt to collect personally from the other driver?
- One option but not the best recommendation.
- Other driver does not have assets or a sound financial position.
- A court judgment will have little or no effect.
- Jurors can assume that defendants are always backed by insurance companies.
- Simply put, there are far better alternatives than going after a defendant who has no means pay any compensation.
What are those?
- Underinsured motorist coverage.
- Applicable to this very situation.
- Belongs to the injured party.
- This woman's husband could accept the policy limits from the negligent driver, the $25,000.00, and then make a claim with his own insurance company for the underinsured motorist benefits.
What amount of underinsured motorist benefits will be available?
- Typically, no more than $100,000.00.
- Difference in limits approach.
- Difference in limits = underinsured motorist coverage policy limits – liability insurance policy limits.
- Here, we know that $100,000.00 - $25,000.00 = $75,000.00.
- So if this woman's husband puts in a claim against his own insurance company for underinsured motorist benefits, it will be a much better option that going after the other driver's personal assets.