How Often Do Car Accident Settlements Exceed the Insurance Policy Limits?

June 27, 2023
Media Car Accident Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Fight to Help Clients Maximize Car Accident Settlements

Serious car accidents frequently lead to considerable medical and property damage expenses, but insurance policy limits can prevent claimants from receiving enough compensation to cover their losses. When this happens, lawyers can help negotiate settlements that exceed those limits. This does not happen often, but claimants may succeed with solid evidence.

When someone purchases an auto insurance policy, a liability limit indicates the maximum amount of money that will be provided for coverage. State laws dictate the minimum allowable amounts, and in Pennsylvania, these are:

  • $15,000 per injured person/$30,000 per accident
  • $5,000 for property damage

Policyholders can sign up for more coverage but must pay extra. It is possible to purchase 20/40 coverage, for example. This provides $20,000 per injured person and up to $40,000 for one accident. The property damage will have a separate amount, as with the minimum limits.

Underinsured motorist coverage can be added to compensate when an at-fault driver does not have enough coverage or has none. This can provide an added payout. Pennsylvania auto insurance policies also have other options, like full or limited tort insurance.

How Are Car Accident Insurance Claims Handled?

Pennsylvania is classified as a choice no-fault state, and car accident survivors generally file claims with their own providers, regardless of fault. The state also follows a modified comparative negligence rule, so compensation is reduced or eliminated when a claimant shares responsibility for an accident; this is determined in court.

Drivers who choose the limited tort option pay lower premiums but accept the no-fault choice. This means they cannot file claims against drivers to get payment for certain damages like pain and suffering unless an exception is made. Full tort coverage allows car accident survivors to pursue those claims by settling out of court or filing lawsuits.

Pennsylvania’s auto insurance laws can make getting this kind of compensation challenging, but several strategies can work. One is to file a claim through your underinsured motorist coverage if it is part of the policy. Another is to settle with the at-fault driver. That might involve that person’s insurance provider paying out the maximum coverage and the driver covering the remainder through other assets. This only works if there are enough available assets, however.

It may also be possible to file claims against other defendants who may have contributed to the car accident. For example, the driver may have caused the crash while making a delivery for their employer; this means that both parties might be held responsible, and compensation could come from two insurance policies.

When the other choices are not feasible, the claimant may take the allegedly liable driver to court. If the verdict exceeds the limits, an at-fault driver might have assets seized or a lien established to cover the gap.

Media Car Accident Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Fight to Help Clients Maximize Car Accident Settlements

If you need legal help after a car accident, contact our Media car accident lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. To schedule an initial consultation, complete our online form or call 610-565-3701. Located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients in Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.