PROVIDING YOU THE AGGRESSIVE REPRESENTATION AFTER A CAR WRECK INJURES YOU
When a car wreck injures you or a loved one, you deserve competent representation. If an at fault driver caused you injury, he or she may be liable to pay monetary compensation for your property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, lost future income, pain and suffering, as well as emotional damages.
The majority of states require drivers to carry automobile liability coverage. The amount of liability coverage varies from state to state. Once a claim is made against the at fault driver's insurance, that driver's insurance company will begin defending the claim. All insurance companies have a team of investigators, adjusters, and attorneys looking to pay you as little as possible on your claim. You need an advocate prosecuting the claim on your behalf. The Unsell Law Firm, P.C. has decades of experience fighting those insurance companies.
Can I recover more than the at fault driver's policy?
Yes. There are a couple different way to do it. I will discuss a few of those methods. But we need to understand a few basic rules. Progressive, State Farm, Allstate, and Country Financial are all insurance companies insuring drivers. Their clients are called insureds under the car insurance policy. These companies are the insurers. The document binding the insured (driver) to the insurer (Insurance Company) is the insurance contract, also known as a policy. Every car insurance policy will have a liability limit. This is sometimes referred to as a policy limit.
A policy limit is the most the insurance company (Progressive, State Farm, Allstate, and Country Financial) is legally obligated to pay when one of its drivers injures you or damages your vehicle. The at fault driver is responsible for the remainder of any damages-unless you can “set up” the at fault driver's insurance company. This is known as a third-party bad faith claim.
Bad Faith against the at fault driver's insurer is a process where you give the insurer of an insured (again, insured is the at fault driver) the opportunity to settle within the policy limits. If the insurer refused to do so, the insurer can be liable for all the damages beyond the policy limits. The law allows this because it would be unfair to the insured (the at fault driver) for the insurance company to gamble with the insured's life-especially when the company can pay the policy limit and resolve the case.
Third-party bad faith claims involve going to trial and securing a verdict in excess of the policy limit. In addition, you must have made a demand to settle within the policy limits. In cases where the insurance company fails to respond or otherwise does not settle where the insurance company had an opportunity to settle within the limit, the insurance company can be on the hook for the verdict in excess of those damages.
In addition to a bad faith claim, you may have underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage. Most decent insurance policies have what is known as underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage. This is your insurance policy, but you are not suing yourself. Rather, you are making a claim for coverage you already paid for. Just like with the at fault driver (insured) and his insurance company (insurer), you and your insurance company have a contractual relationship. This relationship is governed by the insurance contract or policy.
Much like the insurance policy of the at fault driver, you, too, have a policy limit. If your policy limit is higher than the at fault driver's insurance policy limit, then you can recover the difference from your insurer. This is known as a first-party insurance claim. Sometimes, your insurance company won't negotiate with you in good faith. In these situations, there are statutory damages courts can impose in addition to the recovery you receive against the at fault driver.
Outside of insurance coverage, the person who is responsible for the damages to you and your vehicle is personally liable for any damage over and above the insurance coverage. Thus, you can sue and receive a verdict, then collect against any assets that person may have. This includes garnishing wages, seizing property, and generally being a thorn in the at fault driver's rear. As they say, turnabout is fair play.
Do Pre-Existing Conditions Affect Recovery?
In some cases, the at fault insurance company will want to limit your car wreck award because you have a pre-existing condition. Our lawyers will fight against this type of defense to ensure you get the recovery you deserve. Learn more about recovering for pre-existing injuries here. Even if you suffered from a pre-existing injury before the car wreck, you can still recover the full extent of your injuries.
Recorded statements are something car insurance companies love. One of our car wreck lawyers talks about why recorded statements are not a good idea for you.
Let our dedicated team of attorneys, paralegals, and staff fight the insurance company for you. The firm can guide you through the pitfalls that come with fighting an insurance company. The Unsell Law Firm, P.C. has secured millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for our clients. If you or a family member has been in a car wreck, call The Unsell Law Firm, P.C. today to speak to a personal injury lawyer.