If you're injured in a car accident, you expect to receive a fair and quick settlement from the other driver's insurance company. But if the insurance company doesn't award you with a settlement that reflects the severity of your losses, you may accept the offer out of desperation or fear. Don't just accept the insurance company's offer and move on. You should contact a personal attorney for help instead. The attorney may get you the compensation you need through other means, such as through an umbrella policy. Here's an explanation of why you received a seemingly unfair settlement offer and how umbrella insurance can help increase it.
Why Would the Insurance Company Offer A Low Settlement?
Even if you receive life-threatening injuries or experience the partial loss of your vehicle, an insurance company can pay less than what your claim is actually worth. A number of insurance providers only pay out the amount listed on their clients' policies.
For instance, if the other driver in the accident only has a $20,000 car insurance policy, and your medical expenses, car repairs and other expenses come to $40,000, the insurance company may only pay out the maximum amount of $20,000. The amount also decreases when funds are sent to your doctors and other medical providers to pay for the expenses you incurred from the accident. Funds also go toward the repairs of your vehicle.
You'll need to find a way to pay for the other $20,000 in medical and car expenses on your own. In some cases, your own insurance company may pay toward your expenses, which increases your insurance rates in the future to compensate for the added expenses.
If you don't hire an attorney to represent you, you won't get a chance to pursue other means of payment for your injuries and car repairs, such as umbrella insurance.
What Is Umbrella Insurance?
Umbrella insurance is typically a backup insurance policy used by businesses to cover unexpected lawsuits that aren't completely covered by their regular liability policies. However, a growing number of consumers buy umbrella policies for the same reason and more. The consumers don't want to pay out-of-pocket for the accidents they may or may not cause, so the umbrella policy prevents this from happening. The policy protects their assets from lawsuits, such as retirement funds and inheritances.
Unless you ask the other driver's insurance company directly, you may not know if the driver has umbrella insurance or not. In addition, the insurance company may not disclose this information to you for several reasons:
- The insurance company wants to save money on your settlement. Tapping into the umbrella coverage increases the insurance company's expenses and reduces its revenue.
- The insurance company doesn't want to break the privacy agreement it has with the at-fault driver or its client. The privacy agreement protects the personal information of the client, even if the driver is clearly guilty of the accident.
- The at-fault driver's umbrella policy isn't effective until a certain date, or it may have expired due to nonpayment by the at-fault driver.
Although you may or may not obtain information about the other driver's umbrella policy, your personal injury attorney can. He or she can receive permission from personal injury court to do so. The umbrella policy may cover the rest of your medical and car expenses completely.
What If the Other Driver Doesn't Have Umbrella Coverage?
If the other driver doesn't have additional insurance coverage under an umbrella policy, the personal injury lawyer may try other methods to secure more settlement money for you. For instance, the attorney may bring a personal lawsuit against the at-fault driver and try to garnish a percentage of the driver's wages. The court will decide on how much to garnish from the driver, but you can discuss this option with the lawyer during your consultation.
Sometimes, settling for a lower claim award isn't an option when you have major expenses to worry about. If you have concerns about your settlement offer, contact a personal injury attorney today for more information or click for more info.