Q: If pain and suffering, injuries etc exceed the policy limit of the at fault persons insurance. What can I do?
A: Typically, you cannot sue the insurance company for more than their insurance policy limits. There are one or two exceptions, but unless you have made a demand for the insurance policy limits (with a whole bunch of provisions in it), then you are probably limited to the insurance money. You can also consider suing the driver for more than the insurance money too. But don't accept the insurance money and sign a release if you are going to sue the driver.
A: Generally, the insurance carrier for the negligent party will only pay up to their policy limits on a claim. If you have underinsured motorist coverage on your auto policy, that policy can provide coverage on top of the limits from the adverse insurer. There are certain very limited circumstances where one may collect more than the primary limits from the other party's insurer if the insurance company should have and could have settled the case within the limits but failed to do so. This situation is known as a "Stowers demand" and is complex and would require assistance from a personal injury attorney.
Doug Goyen agrees with this answer
A: I agree with Attorney Baumgartner. I would just add that if you are looking at a situation where the limits of the other driver's insurance are going to be exhausted, you should actually consult with a law office that handles auto accidents. There are situations where there may be other liability insurance that can cover the claim - (such as if the other driver was driving someone else's vehicle - if both the driver and the owner of the other vehicle had separate liability insurance, there may be two liability insurance policies). Additionally, as Attorney Baumgartner said, you can use your underinsured motorist coverage (if you have that coverage), but there are steps that should be taken prior to settling with the liability insurer first in order to use your underinsured motorist coverage. If you are not represented by an attorney in this situation it is definitely worth calling a personal injury attorney's office for a free consultation - they can ask you the relevant questions to determine if you have additional options.
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