Drivers want to feel safe. When you’re out on the road, you drive carefully in an attempt to prevent an accident and keep yourself safe. Unfortunately, accidents still happen sometimes, even if you’ve done everything in your power to avoid a collision. When that happens, you want to be covered with insurance so that you don’t have to worry about the financial effects of being treated for injuries or repairing property damage.
But what happens when your insurance company tries to give you less than you deserve, or your damages add up to more than your policy allows? A Charleston car accident lawyer from DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC can answer your questions and help you get the settlement you deserve for your injury costs and damages.
What Are Insurance Policy Limits?
Car insurance is a requirement for drivers in case something dangerous happens while you are out on the road. Typically, you pay a monthly premium to your insurance company, and in return, if you get into an accident, you are covered up to a certain amount, depending on what kind of damages you sustained.
In West Virginia, all registered vehicles must be insured, and proof of insurance must be carried in the vehicle at all times, according to the West Virginia Department of Transportation (WV DOT). The State of West Virginia Offices of the Insurance Commissioner also outline the mandatory minimum insurance requirements for drivers in our state, which are:
- $25,000 for bodily injury to one person in one accident
- $50,000 for bodily injury to more than one person in one accident
- $25,000 for property damage in one accident
- Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) with the same values in each category
Uninsured motorist coverage in West Virginia also comes with a coverage max. The maximum UIM coverage you can carry is $100,000 for bodily injury to one person, $300,000 for bodily injury to more than one person, and $50,000 for property damage.
While those are the minimum requirements for your insurance policy limits, you can also opt for insurance with higher coverage. But in the end, your policy will still have a limit of what they’ll cover if a car accident causes bodily injury, property damage, or both. It can be complicated to recover damages for your car accident that exceed your policy limits.
How Could My Car Accident Settlement Exceed Those Limits?
It’s not very often that car accident settlements exceed insurance policy limits. Typically, your injuries and property damage costs will fall below your insurance policy limit, and you will be paid in full for your damages. However, the injuries and damages that car accidents cause are unpredictable. Even though you think you have enough coverage, sometimes your bodily injury and property damage costs exceed those limits. When that happens, you might be wondering how you’ll make up for the remaining damages.
For example, sometimes your injury costs are higher than your limit, and your property damage costs do not meet your limit. Although you might think you could use the balance of your property damage limit to cover your excess bodily injury costs, you would be incorrect. Each limit can only be applied to the specific damages they are intended for, and the limits cannot be combined.
If your accident costs exceed your policy limits, you and a Charleston car accident lawyer can look into your options for recovering a settlement that covers your damages to their full extent. Here are some things we can look into to see if they apply to your situation:
- Umbrella policies. We’ll find out if the person who caused your accident was contracted by a company or covered by a company insurance policy. You might be able to recover damages outside of the driver’s personal policy from their company’s umbrella insurance policy.
- Fault. Depending on the accident, there could be multiple drivers or entities at fault, meaning you could recover damages from multiple policies if needed.
- Bad faith. If the insurance company denies your claim even though they know that your claim was valid, they could be acting in bad faith.
- Personal injury claim. You can also hold the at-fault driver responsible through a personal injury claim that seeks recovery for both economic and non-economic damages.
Hire a Charleston Car Accident Lawyer to Help You With Your Claim
You might not know how to deal with an insurance company who won’t pay out the full amount you need. Or you might not know how to recover more money outside of your insurance policy to cover your damages to the full extent. An experienced car accident attorney from DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC can talk you through your legal options.
We know how hard it can be to deal with the legal side of things while focusing on physically and emotionally healing from your auto wreck. That’s why we are here to support you through your claim so that you can focus on what matters—healing. Reach out to us today so that we can discuss your potential claim and how we can help.