We often hear tragic cases where someone is hurt in a car crash, sometimes called an MVA or motor vehicle accident. Steel missiles screaming down the road at 60 MPH or faster can create chaos when they crash into other cars or off the road into stationary objects. Even at low speeds of 10 miles per hour, life-changing injuries can occur. Our brains are soft and can easily be injured in slow-speed ‘fender benders.’ The force of those vehicles goes somewhere, and usually, that is into the occupants’ bodies.
When someone is hurt badly in an accident, the most difficult situation we run into is when it is not that person’s fault, and there is not enough insurance to pay them fairly for their injuries or damages. When you are hurt badly, as one client was, and there is only a small amount of insurance money available, it seems unfair to them that they cannot recover more.
Our Client’s Fear
I was in a car crash and will have pain for the rest of my life. Why is there only $100,000 available for us in accident insurance coverage? Our client’s initial reaction was anger, which did not seem fair to them.
How Garmey Law Helped
Explaining insurance coverage to clients is difficult because we are all somewhat familiar with insurance and how it works. Still, most of us are not experienced in dealing with insurance companies or understanding how they operate. An insurance company is responsible for covering its insured or people harmed by their insured up to their policy limits. Sometimes that could be $5,000, and sometimes multiple millions of dollars. That insurance company is responsible for protecting its insured’s interest, and if your injuries are up to or over the policy limit, they need to negotiate in good faith. If they don’t, the insurance company could be responsible for paying more than that limit in an ‘overage suit.’ So, to protect their insured and not have to pay more than the policy limit, insurance companies can fulfill their obligations and offer the policy limits when demanded and when the damages are equal to or greater than the policy limit.
Explaining this to a client, who is angry, and wants to get fair value for their injuries, is never easy. Rarely are people satisfied with getting less than what they think they deserve. With knowledge, though, comes power. In this situation, we let our client know there was no more insurance money because the insurance company offered the policy limit. Our client did not drive and was struck as a pedestrian, so there was no more insurance. We walked through the option with them to continue forward and sue the individual driver. However, we let them know that after performing an asset search, that person had no property, no real assets, and we believed they were not independently wealthy. Our client could have chosen to sue, get a verdict, and move to enforce it, likely driving the person to bankruptcy, or they could choose to accept the $100,000 and understand that this was everything they could get from the insurance company. They chose to accept that $100,000 and were glad that we got everything we could for them quickly and without them needing to go through the full legal process.