How to Find Out Someone’s Insurance Policy Limits

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If you’ve been in a car accident, one of your primary objectives is to seek the compensation that you need to pay for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. Drivers’ insurance companies are typically required to pay for a victim’s injuries.

However, drivers can legally carry a wide range of coverage amounts. How can you determine the at-fault driver’s policy limits so you can understand how much of a payout you may receive? What happens if your damages exceed those limits?

Schiller & Hamilton is here to seek the compensation you deserve, including exploring alternative ways to cover your injuries. Contact our Bluffton injury lawyers for help with your accident claim.

What Can I Do to Determine the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Coverage?

Simply asking the at-fault driver how much insurance coverage he or she has is probably not going to work. Fortunately for victims, however, there is a law that requires the insurer to turn over that information in certain circumstances.

Section 38-77-250 of the South Carolina Code states that the at-fault driver’s insurance company must inform the victim of the driver’s policy limits. The attorney representing the victim must follow specific steps, such as sending the request in writing and including a copy of the incident statement.

An experienced accident attorney will understand the requirements that must be met to demand the policy limit information. However, just because the law obligates the insurance company to provide this information doesn’t mean that the insurer will do so.

Sometimes multiple requests must be sent, or a lawsuit has to be filed, which will then open up other avenues (such as formal discovery) to compel the production of this information.

Can You Sue for More Than Insurance Limits?

As a general matter, the coverage limits stated in the at-fault driver’s insurance policy will be the extent of what the insurer will pay for. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways to recover the full amount of your damages.

Your first step will be to go through litigation and a trial to determine the actual value of your losses. If you win, and the jury awards a verdict in your favor, then the insurance company must pay up to the policy limits. Anything above this amount is known as an excess verdict. Think of this as what the at-fault driver owes you above his or her insurance policy.

For example, a jury may determine your damages to total $150,000. However, the insurance company’s policy only covers $100,000. The extra $50,000 is an excess verdict.

You have the right to seek this excess verdict by going after the at-fault driver’s personal property. However, many drivers have few assets that can be used to cover over and above what the insurance company pays. This is where your attorney will begin exploring alternative means to recover damages.

Other Ways to Seek Compensation

These are a few potential options you can pursue if your damages exceed the driver’s policy limits and the value of his or her personal assets:

File a claim under your underinsured motorist (UIM) policy

UIM protects injury victims when at-fault drivers don’t carry enough insurance to pay for their losses. In some cases, victims can “stack” UIM policies from multiple vehicles. If you aren’t sure whether you have UIM coverage, ask your insurer for a copy of the declaration pages from your policy. Ask for proof of rejection if your insurance company claims you do not have UIM coverage.

Just because you have this insurance doesn’t mean it will be easy to convince your insurer to pay you. Insurance companies are notorious for dragging their feet, making unreasonably low settlement offers, and denying valid claims for UIM coverage, even against their policyholders.

We can help make sure your insurance company pays what it fairly owes you.

File a claim against more than one policy

Some individuals and businesses have what is known as an umbrella policy. This is an excess liability policy that provides financial protection on top of other basic coverage, like car insurance.

If the person or business (e.g., if the driver was working at the time of the accident) has an umbrella policy, it might be possible to file an additional claim against it. Your car accident lawyer will seek coverage from all available policies.

Determine if there are other defendants

Not all car accidents involve just the negligent driver and the victim. Depending on the circumstances, there could be other parties who might be named as a defendant in a personal injury lawsuit.

For example, if the driver was drunk, he or she may have been served too much alcohol at a bar. If the bar’s actions were negligent, then the victim could hold the establishment liable under what’s known as the dram shop law.

Another example is that in which the vehicle’s manufacturer installed a defective part. The at-fault driver may have been speeding, but the brakes could have been applied and yet failed to slow the car. This mechanical failure might have made the accident more catastrophic, so the manufacturer could be held liable.

Your attorney will conduct a thorough investigation to find out who might have been responsible for causing your injuries. Then, your lawyer will seek compensation from that party.

Ask that your medical bills and health insurance lien be reduced

Every victim has the right to negotiate their medical bills with the physician or hospital that treated them. Some medical providers are sympathetic and understand that a victim incurred these unaffordable bills through no fault of their own.

Once your injury case concludes, you can also ask your health insurance provider to reduce its so-called health insurance lien in light of the negligent driver’s limited coverage.

Contact Our Car Accident Lawyers in South Carolina

A skilled personal injury attorney at our firm will work diligently to find every dollar that could be owed to you, and then go after them. If you’ve been in an accident and you’re worried about how you will cover your medical bills and other losses, reach out to Schiller & Hamilton. We are dedicated legal advocates ready to serve the legal needs of you and your family. Call us today at 843-379-5006 or contact us online for your consultation.

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