The Effect of Insurance Policy Limits on a Personal Injury Case
Accidents and mishaps are a fairly common occurrence in everyone’s lives and many times there is no single person or entity you can blame. However, if you feel like your personal rights have truly been hurt then you can file a personal injury case against the party that has harmed you. A personal injury case involves a ‘plaintiff’ who is the person who files a legal complaint against another person or other entity on the grounds that the accused party had acted irresponsibly which in turn caused personal injury in some form to the plaintiff.
The plaintiff can hire a personal injury attorney, a professional lawyer who specializes in cases regarding personal injury. He/she will counsel the plaintiff informing him/her about their rights. They will also represent the plaintiff in court, fighting for justice on the plaintiff’s behalf. The attorney can also work out an informal settlement with the opposite party where he/she can claim monetary relief from the defendant on behalf of the plaintiff. In most personal injury cases, an insurance company is responsible for the settlement negotiated by the attorney. However, insurance companies have policy limits that affect the amount that can be claimed by the injured party.
A policy limit is a maximum amount set by the concerned insurance company that the individual who they insure (in this case, the defendant in the personal injury case) can be held liable for in the event of a damaging incident that was their (the defendant’s) fault. This maximum limit applies regardless of the severity of the accident and the injuries caused to the plaintiff. For example, consider a person who has a policy limit of $25,000/50,000 with a particular insurance company. The first number reflects the maximum amount that the insurance company will have to pay an individual in case of an accident.
Now imagine that the individual mentioned above accidentally drives his/her car into your car while only you were driving it then the maximum amount you can claim from that person in a personal injury case is $25,000. The second number reflects the most amount the company will ever have to pay in case of an accident. However, if you had three more people with you inside your car and all four of you were injured, then in a personal injury case, the company will pay a maximum of $50,000, which means an average of $12,500 per person.
The sad truth is that in many cases, the defendant’s policy limits are not sufficient to provide reparations to the injured party. A good personal injury attorney will look for different options through which he/she can help the plaintiff recover adequate relief for the damages. The injured party’s health insurance coverage combined with the defendant’s policy limit amount can cover the medical bills. If that is not possible, then the personal injury attorney can negotiate with the health providers for discounted service rates. Personal Insurance Protection (PIP) which is an optional extension of car insurance can also help since it will pay out a claim regardless of whose fault the accident was.
On the defendant’s side, he/she can talk with the insurance company to set up suitably high policy limits so that the settlement can be satisfactorily paid out thus averting the risk of anyone going after the defendant’s assets.
As you can see, insurance policy limits can significantly impact a personal injury case. A good personal injury attorney is essential if you are the injured party and you wish to recover your damages without facing any more loss. If you are looking for a personal injury lawyer, contact us!