Insurance companies always assume responsibility for a broad variety of injury cases, including vehicle insurance, premises liability, and medical malpractice claims. When an insurance firm is handling a claim against its insured, the company usually pays out legal fees and costs of damages which can be awarded by a jury or agreed on in a settlement.
However, insurance firms generally pay out only what the policy limits. Addressed in this article is how people in Boca Raton, Jupiter and Orlando may be able to be awarded compensation beyond policy limits.
Understanding your Policy Limits
A policy limit is always in place when you buy liability insurance. This is the maximum amount of funds that the insurance firm is responsible for. For instance, if you purchase a car insurance policy having a $50,000 limit, you will be receiving a payout of only $50,000 from the insurance company. Even if you suffered a $100,000 in damages, the insurance firm will not pay anything in excess of $50,000.
Can you Receive Excess Damages?
The appropriate method to recover damages depends on the situation and the options available to the plaintiff. However, there are a few ways that a plaintiff can collect damages that exceed the insurance policy limits. The ways include:
– Bringing up a lawsuit against more or additional defendants
– Recovering when under an umbrella insurance plan
– Trying to collect damages personally from a defendant
- Suing Additional Defendants
On some occasions, more than a single party can be held liable legally and financially for an accident. In most of such cases, the defendants can be said to be severally and jointly liable for the total sum of damages. Examples of some situations where there may be multiple liable parties include:
-Medical malpractice cases
-When both the doctor and hospital breached their duty of care
-Product liability cases
The manufacturer of either a defective part and/or of the final product can be sued. Same applies to the store that sold you the product and the distributor of the product in some instances.
Vicarious liability cases
Situations when an agent acting on behalf of another individual, like an employee who had an auto accident while working. Both the employer and his agents can be held liable.
- Recovering Under an Umbrella Coverage
In some instances, even though there is only one defendant, there might be multiple insurance firms. Some defendants, particularly large businesses, and corporate entities might own an umbrella policy that covers all the other insurance plans they have. This coverage is designed to handle situations when the individual holding the policy is in line to receive compensation in excess of or beyond what the original policy limits.
While umbrella coverage is common among corporate defendants, private individuals may also have them.
- Collecting Personally From the Defendant
When there are neither more defendants to bring up a suit against or an umbrella policy, if damage award goes beyond the policy limits, the only option will be to collect compensation directly from the defendant. You may go to court and get a wage garnishment from a judge. However, this only depends on if the accused has wages and/or property to put a lien on.