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Can I Get an Auto Accident Settlement That Exceeds the Policy Limits?

Posted in Personal Injury on February 3, 2021

If you or somebody you care about is involved in a vehicle accident in Georgia caused by the careless or negligent actions of somebody else, you would likely be entitled to compensation. However, accident victims are often limited concerning how much they are able to recover due to the at-fault party’s insurance policy limits. Here, we want to discuss what happens if your expenses exceed the policy limits of the insurance carriers involved in the case. There are ways to recover additional compensation, though this could result in extending the overall timeframe of the personal injury claim.

Insurance carriers will only pay out the limit of the policy

In the event a person is injured due to the careless or negligent actions of another driver in Georgia, they will generally be able to recover compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier. However, no insurance carrier is going to pay out a settlement above what the policy in question requires them to pay. Often, drivers in Georgia obtain only the minimum auto insurance required under the law. In Georgia, this means the following limits:

  • Bodily Injury Liability: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
  • Property Damage Liability: $25,000 per accident

These are the minimums that the law requires, though it is not uncommon for drivers to obtain higher policy limits. Regardless of what the policy limit stipulates, you can be certain that the insurance carrier will put up a fight against paying any kind of settlement, and they will certainly not pay any amount over the policy requirements.

How can you receive additional compensation?

If your injury expenses and other costs related to the accident, such as property damage and lost income, exceed the insurance policy limits of the at-fault driver, there are other ways that you could pursue compensation.

First, this will typically involve filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. This enters the case into the civil court system and seeks to hold the driver personally liable. What this means is that the injury victim will be going after the at-fault driver’s personal assets in order to pay for the additional compensation needed. This is a complicated process, and it is important for any person considering going this route to work with a skilled Atlanta car accident lawyer who can help.

Additionally, there may be other defendants in the case. For example, for car accidents that involve more than one driver, it is important to make sure that claims are filed with their insurance carriers as well. Additionally, these other parties could also be held liable through a personal injury lawsuit.

If the accident was caused by a roadway defect, a faulty vehicle, or a faulty vehicle part, it may also be possible to hold government entities, companies, or manufacturers liable for damages.

How often do settlements exceed policy limits in a Georgia car accident?

The vast majority of vehicle accident claims in Georgia are resolved through settlements with insurance carriers. Typically, a car accident claim will not go above the insurance policy limit. However, severe injuries can push the limits of these policies fairly quickly. This is particularly true for incidents involving spinal cord trauma with paralysis, traumatic brain injuries, and other disabling injuries. Not only are these victims likely to sustain significant medical bills, but they are also unlikely to be able to work while they recover.

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