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Can I sue for more than the auto insurance policy limits

If you have suffered injuries in a car accident, you may have the right to sue the at-fault driver for the full extent of your financial and personal losses – even if those losses total more than the driver’s auto insurance policy limit. However, filing a lawsuit can be challenging. An experienced car accident lawyer can give you a better idea if this is a path worth pursuing in your particular case.

What Are the Minimum Insurance Coverage Requirements in Georgia?

Georgia sets minimum liability insurance limits that all drivers of personal vehicles must carry. Liability insurance covers losses a driver must pay if they cause an auto accident. The minimum policy limits required for liability coverage include:

  • $25,000 per person in bodily injury liability coverage
  • $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage
  • $25,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage

Drivers may purchase higher liability insurance policy limits and other optional coverages, such as:

  • Medical payments (MedPay)
  • Collision
  • Comprehensive
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM)

What Are Some Ways to Recover the Additional Funds If They Are Greater Than the At-Fault Party’s Insurance?

You could have several options for pursuing additional compensation if the at-fault driver’s policy limits aren’t enough to meet your needs. These include:

  • Umbrella policies – An at-fault driver may have an umbrella insurance policy. This policy acts as a form of personal liability coverage that triggers when they exhaust the policy limits of other, more specific insurance policies like auto insurance. Umbrella policies can pay for injuries and property damage caused by the policyholder, including some losses not covered by an auto insurance policy.
  • Other at-fault drivers – When a car accident occurs due to the negligence of multiple drivers, each may be liable for an accident victim’s injuries. A jury in a car accident lawsuit may hold all the at-fault drivers jointly responsible for an injured victim’s losses or specify the amount of compensation the injured victim can recover from each driver.
  • The at-fault driver’s assets – A car accident victim may file a lawsuit against an at-fault driver to recover total compensation from them directly. Any judgment they obtain against the at-fault driver can be executed against that person’s assets.
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage – Drivers can purchase optional uninsured motorist (UM) or underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. UM coverage triggers when an uninsured or hit-and-run driver causes a car accident. UIM coverage applies when an injured party’s losses exceed the policy limits of the at-fault driver’s liability coverage.
  • Collision coverage – This optional first-party coverage pays for repairs to damage caused by a car accident or reimburses the policyholder for the cash value of their car if totaled in the accident. It is available regardless of who was at fault.
  • Medical payments coverage – Optional medical payments coverage provides additional funds for some of the medical expenses incurred to treat car accident injuries.

What Happens If the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Company Refuses to Pay My Accident Claim?

In some cases, an at-fault driver’s insurance provider might refuse to pay any compensation to the victims of their policyholder’s negligence. An insurer might deny injury claims because it has determined its policyholder did not cause the accident or the crash did not cause the claimed injuries. If the at-fault driver’s insurance declines to pay you compensation after a car accident, you still have the right to pursue a lawsuit against the driver. If you win a court judgment against them, you could collect from their insurance coverage or assets.

How Can My Attorney Go After the Liable Party’s Personal Assets?

If a judge or jury rules in your favor at trial, you could have several options for satisfying the rendered judgment against the liable party’s assets. These include:

  • The at-fault driver’s vehicle
  • Funds in the at-fault driver’s savings or checking accounts
  • Garnishment of the at-fault driver’s wages
  • Second or income properties owned by the at-fault driver
  • The at-fault driver’s valuables or other high-value assets, such as boats, aircraft, jewelry, or artwork
  • A liable business’s property, inventory, or accounts receivable

What If the At-Fault Driver Was Reckless?

If the liable driver caused a crash because of their incredibly reckless behavior, injured parties might have the right to receive an award of punitive damages against them. Unlike the compensatory damages that cover medical bills, car repairs, or lost income, punitive damages are not meant to offset an accident victim’s losses. Instead, they punish the at-fault driver for especially reckless conduct, deterring others from engaging in similar behavior.

If a jury awards punitive damages over an at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy limits, the accident victim might choose to pursue the satisfaction of the judgment against the liable driver’s assets.

What Is Georgia’s Statute of Limitations for Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit?

Under Georgia’s statute of limitations for injury claims, you typically have two years after a car accident to file a lawsuit against those to blame. While this might seem like plenty of time, you shouldn’t put off speaking with an experienced Georgia car accident lawyer. Any delay in your car accident claim puts your ability to timely file in jeopardy, which could lead to its dismissal in court. If that happens, you could lose your right to compensation.

Rather than risk this outcome, speak to an experienced attorney immediately. They can investigate the accident, determine liability, and pursue your rights in a timely manner.

Contact a Georgia Car Accident Lawyer

Have you suffered injuries and vehicle damage in a car accident caused by another driver’s negligence? If so, you have the right to demand financial recovery from that driver, even if their insurance can’t fully compensate you for your losses. The stakes are high, though. You’ll need an experienced personal injury lawyer to help you pursue every penny you’re owed. Contact Kevin A. Adamson, P.C. today for a free consultation to discuss your legal options with an experienced Georgia car accident lawyer.