What If The Faulty Driver Has Inadequate Insurance To Cover My Damages?
If you’ve been involved in an auto accident with another individual who was deemed at fault, you are likely assuming their insurance coverage will take care of the associated expenses. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. There are times when the motorist is simply underinsured, meaning the cost of the damages is more than their policy limit, or they simply don’t have insurance coverage at all. These are referred to as the underinsured and uninsured motorists.
Negligence Vs. No-Fault State
Laws regarding auto insurance varies between two different types of state laws, which are negligence and no-fault laws. Understanding which type of laws are governing the state you are in can make a big difference in how the accident claim is settled. We encourage you to check in with your local personal injury law firm if you are not sure about what laws your state falls under.
Negligence Laws – Under these laws, the facts of the vehicle accident are taken into account to determine fault for the accident. The party that is deemed at fault is liable for damages, medical expenses, and other related costs associated with the injured party. These states tend to have less strict insurance coverage requirements. Due to these lessened restrictions, it’s more common to find motorists who are underinsured or uninsured.
In states with the negligence laws, insurance providers will offer uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This is typically a smaller monthly fee that helps to protect you, as the driver, from other at-fault motorists who either lack coverage or don’t have enough coverage to pay for the damages and injuries. In the event the other driver does have insurance coverage, you must seek compensation from their insurance provider up to the maximum amount first, before cashing in on the remaining amount owed from your own insurance provider.
No-Fault Laws – Some states require all motorists to have their own vehicle insurance that meets the specific strict coverage levels set by the governing state. In these states, motorists who are injured in an auto accident, regardless of who was at fault, will seek compensation for their vehicle damages and injuries from their own insurance provider.
Filing A Negligence Law Suit When There Is Lack Of Adequate Coverage
In the event that insurance will not cover the losses that you incurred from the fault of another driver, you always have the option to file a negligence lawsuit against them. In order to receive compensation via a lawsuit, you must prove that the other driver was the reason for the accident. This can be easily done if they were issued a citation, however, it can get more complicated if they weren’t.
Speaking with an experienced personal injury attorney, you should be able to create a good case against the at-fault driver. Realize that in negligence bound states the judge or jury can determine partial fault percentages. This means that they can deem the other driver at say 75 percent fault and you at 25 percent fault. When this happens, you will only receive 75 percent of the cost of the injury-related and vehicle damage expenses.
Understanding The Reality Of Enforceable Judgements
In negligence states, you always have the right to seek compensation via filing a law suit against the offending party. However, it’s important to realize whether or not the offending party will be able to physically pay back the claim. Not all judgments are truly enforceable.
It’s completely possible for you to pay an personal injury lawyer to fight your case and win. Winning the claim doesn’t always mean that you will receive compensation. The losing party will be required to surrender their money and valuable assets to pay for the compensation owed in the court judgment.
Those losing parties which do not have any money and no valuable assets are not going to be able to pay the full amount of compensation. This leaves you with an unenforceable judgment that you, unfortunately, cannot collect on. This is an undesirable situation that no one wants to find themselves in. However, it’s important to realize that this can happen. The best way to ensure you don’t come out empty handed with many bills is to opt for underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage with your own insurance company.