Important Information On How Insurance Affects Your Case
Virtually all personal injury settlements and verdicts are paid by the insurance companies. Also, the insurance company will pay for the other driver to have an attorney. This is a common feature in insurance policies. One of the first things your lawyer does is investigate sources for insurance coverage.
The first place your attorney looks is to the other driver. Your attorney will send a formal request to the other driver’s insurance company as listed on the Police Report. The insurance company must, under Georgia law, respond with the available coverage. Your attorney will then evaluate the amount of coverage the other driver has against the extent of your damages. If your damages exceed the other driver’s policy, then your attorney must seek out other sources of insurance coverage.
Your attorney may be able to bring in additional defendants, such as an employer, who will each have their own insurance policies. He/she may also review your automobile policy(ies) and umbrella policies to determine if you have insurance coverage for the accident. Finally, your attorney can try to “stack” multiple insurance policies in an effort to obtain more coverage for your compensation.
Insurance coverage and the law which allows you to stack policies is very complex. If you have suffered serious injuries where your medical bills will exceed $25,000, you need to seek out an attorney who is adept in insurance. The minimum insurance required by Georgia is $25,000 and chances are that you will have to look for additional sources of compensation.
If your damages exceed the other driver’s insurance coverage, this is known as a “policy limits” case because the numbers support the insurance company offering up the entire amount. If the insurance company does not, the company is exposed to bad faith. Bad faith occurs when an insurance company refuses to settle a case within its policy limits. It is bad faith because the insurance company, by doing so, exposes its customer to an excess verdict (i.e. a verdict greater than the amount of insurance) and has acted in bad faith because it had a duty to protect its customer from such a situation. There are all kinds of traps your attorney can use to try and set this up. Once an insurance company knows it is exposed to bad faith, if may be willing to pay MORE THAN the insurance coverage. Again, it is critical you retain an attorney who knows insurance law.
Finally, you may have UM insurance that will provide you with additional coverage options. You can learn all about UM insurance here.