When you are injured in an accident, you might be entitled to recover money for your expenses and damages by filing a personal injury claim. Your claim is filed against the party responsible for the accident. In a traffic accident, that party could be the other driver, a government agency, or a corporation. In a slip and fall accident, your claim would be against the property owner or tenant. If a defective product caused your injury, your claim could be against one or more parties, including the product’s designer and manufacturer.
However, the party responsible for your claim is usually not the party who defends and pays a claim. The liability insurance company that provided insurance for the party is the source of compensation. In a slip and fall claim or a product liability claim, the insurance coverage is not as large of a factor in your case because the responsible party likely has substantial assets (i.e. a drug manufacturer, large corporation, or retail company). However, in a car accident claim, the insurance coverage can have a substantial impact on your accident claim.
Policy Limits for Insurance Coverage
When you file an accident claim, you must prove the value of your damages before you can receive compensation for those damages. For example, you must submit copies of your medical bills, receipts, payroll statements, tax returns, and various other documents that verify your claims for medical expenses, out-of-pocket costs, and lost income. Also, testimony and other evidence must be used to substantiate your claim for pain and suffering damages.
If you prove the other party is liable for your damages, and you prove the amount of damages you sustained, you should be entitled to full compensation of all amounts. However, if the other driver’s insurance coverage is not sufficient to cover all amounts, you could be limited in the amount of money you receive for your claim.
For example, let’s assume your damages total $100,000, but the driver carries minimum liability insurance. The minimum limits for car insurance under California law is $15,000. Therefore, the insurance company for the other driver will pay you $15,000 and that is all. The company is not legally obligated to pay more than the policy limits for an accident claim. However, there could be other sources of compensation for your claim.
Other Potential Sources of Compensation for a Car Accident Claim
If you have health insurance, you can file your medical expenses with your health insurance provider. In many cases, the health insurance company pays the medical bills for a car accident. However, the health insurance company will demand repayment of the costs from any proceeds you receive from a car accident claim (known as subrogation rights). A personal injury attorney can help you negotiate with your health insurance company and medical providers to accept lower amounts if the settlement does not pay everyone in full. There is no guarantee; however, a skilled and experienced car accident attorney will fight diligently to get you the best results possible.
Another source of payment could be from your own insurance company. If you have underinsured motorist coverage, your insurance company could pay the difference between your claim and the policy limits of the other driver, up to your policy’s limits. Also, there could be other third parties who are partially liable for the accident. A thorough investigation by a Fresno car accident attorney is required to identify all liable parties to increase the chance of recovering full compensation for claims.
Call Torem & Associates for a Free Consultation
When you are injured in a traffic accident, you need experienced legal counsel to help you search for all sources of compensation for damages. Call our office at (559) 500-5000 or 1-800-954-4444 for a free case evaluation from a skilled Fresno car accident attorney.