Can You Receive More than the Insurance Policy Limit?

The escalating cost of medical care will take a bite out of any car accident victim’s finances. At Correll Law Firm, we have helped many people who suffered serious injuries in car accidents. They often realize quite suddenly that they can’t pay for all the care they need. In fact, some begin flirting with filing bankruptcy, even if they have health insurance which can defray some of the cost. At the same time, many of our clients are so severely injured that they can’t work and bring home any income.

On top of all this, the at-fault driver might only carry the minimum liability insurance, which could be inadequate to fully compensate you. What can you do, if anything?

Helpfully, there are certain techniques we can use to increase the amount of compensation you receive in a Winchester car accident case. Although the at-fault driver’s insurance policy often represents the only source of compensation, we have other ways of increasing the amount you take home. Call our firm for more information.

Current Insurance Policy Limits in Virginia

As of 2023, the minimum insurance in Virginia is:

  • $30,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $60,000 bodily injury liability for two or more people hurt
  • $20,000 in property damage coverage

The minimums will jump in 2025, up to:

  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $100,000 bodily injury liability for two or more people hurt
  • $25,000 in property damage coverage

Unfortunately, these numbers are still very low. A couple nights in the hospital could eat up $30,000 quite easily, and many victims will have additional expenses, such as rehabilitation costs, prescription medications, and lost income.

Unsurprisingly, even a moderate injury could quickly exhaust the at-fault driver’s liability coverage. Is it possible to receive more compensation?

Make a Claim on Your Underinsured Motorist Coverage

You should have underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage as part of your insurance, and the policy limits should be the same as your liability coverage. UIM insurance is excellent to have. You can tap these benefits whenever you have losses which exceed the at-fault driver’s coverage.

To be clear: this is still “fault” insurance. You can’t access UIM benefits if you were at fault for the collision. But you can make a claim if the at-fault driver doesn’t have enough insurance to cover all your out-of-pocket expenses and other losses. Contact Correll Law Firm if you have questions about making a UIM insurance claim. Although you pay the premiums, some insurers still reject even valid claims for compensation.

Cover Property Damage with Collision Coverage

You might have collision coverage if you still have a car loan. Most lenders require it because it preserves the value of your car in the event of a crash. This is no-fault insurance, so you should be able to make a claim to help defray the cost of car repairs.

Seek Compensation from Additional Defendants

For some collisions, more than one driver could share fault. For example, you might have been hurt in a multi-car pileup in which several drivers were reckless. We might be able to make a claim on the insurance policy for each driver.

You might also have been struck by someone driving a rental vehicle which was in poor repair, in which case we might sue the rental company for not maintaining its fleet.

Other parties we can seek compensation from:

  • Car manufacturers for defective parts
  • Mechanics for shoddy repairs
  • Employers (if the driver was working at the time)
  • Bars or taverns (if the driver was drunk)
  • Cities or the state, if a road defect contributed to your crash

The more people we can bring a claim against, the greater your chances of receiving fair compensation.

File a Lawsuit against the At-Fault Driver

When the driver’s insurance won’t fully cover a claim, you have the option of filing a personal injury lawsuit. If we win, we can use different collection methods to seek payment of the court judgment:

  • Wage garnishment
  • Garnishing bank accounts
  • Levying personal property
  • Filing a lien against the defendant’s property

It’s critical to perform a thorough assessment of whether the defendant has any personal or real property that we could use to satisfy a judgment. For example, the defendant might have been unemployed, or their wages are protected from garnishment, in which case they could be “judgment proof.”

Find Other Insurance Policies

Other insurance policies could come into play after a Winchester car accident. For example, the driver might have another insurance policy, like business liability coverage, which could apply.

Some credit cards have Accidental Death and Dismemberment insurance offered to their card holders. You might make a claim if you lose a limb or your eyesight, for example. Please share information with your attorney about all credit cards that you have so that we can check.

Alternatively, you could have medical payments coverage, which will pay for medical care to treat car accident injuries. This is no-fault insurance which is optional in Virginia.

File a Bad Faith Insurance Lawsuit

Insurance companies must exercise good faith in their dealings with their policyholders. Unfortunately, many of them absolutely refuse to follow the law. For example, they can delay an investigation or deny a claim without justification. Many of them make misrepresentations about their policies. To protect consumers, Virginia gives us a right to sue for bad faith.

Bringing this type of claim is complicated. But where available, you can really increase the amount of compensation you receive for an accident.

Contact a Winchester Car Accident Lawyer Today

Many people are confused about their options following a car accident. They might fear not having the financial resources to cover all medical bills, or they could fear losing their home. Correll Law Firm can help. Our car accident lawyer has deep experience bringing insurance claims and filing personal injury lawsuits. Our firm is dedicated to doing everything possible to get you a fair settlement following a collision. Contact our firm today at (540) 535-2005 to schedule a free consultation to learn more about all of your options.