Why You May Have To Go After An Injury Defendant's Personal Assets Even If They Have Insurance Coverage

Posted on: 13 November 2017

Insurance coverage is the premier source of funds for settling personal injury cases. This is why one of the first things injury victims do is to confirm whether those who are liable for their injuries have insurance coverage. Unfortunately, there are cases in which a defendant's insurance coverage might not pay for your damages, and you will have to go after the defendant's personal assets. Here are examples of such cases:

The Claim Has Exceeded the Policy Limit

If you win a personal injury case, the defendant's insurance coverage will only pay up to their policy's limits. This means if your damages exceed the policy limits, you have to go after the defendant's personal property to recover everything.

The type of injury claim you are pursuing may determine how the limit is determined. For example, commercial general liability insurance may have an aggregate limit that specifies how much the insurance carrier can pay within the policy period. If that is the case, then even a relatively modest claim from you can surpass the limit if the defendant had faced other claims within the same policy period.

You Are One Of Multiple Plaintiffs

A defendant who is being sued by multiple defendants may not have adequate insurance to settle all of them. A classic example is a driver who is accused of causing a pileup accident that has injured dozens of people. Since the driver's insurance will have to pay for all the injuries and damages, there is a high chance that you may not recover all your damages if you rely on the policy alone.

The Injury Is Excluded From the Policy

The fact that a defendant has insurance coverage doesn't mean that the insurance company will pay your claim. Insurance policies don't offer blanket protection; they tend to have excluded risks. Your claim won't be paid if it falls among the exclusions. For example, liability insurance protects business owners from injury claims, but not if the claims are made by employees of the business (in that case, workers' compensation steps in). Therefore, you may need to go after the defendant's personal effects if you're your claim falls into the excluded category, and there is no other insurance that covers it.

The Insured Violated the Terms of Their Policy

Lastly, the defendant's existing coverage may also fail to compensate your damages if the defendant violated their policy's terms and conditions. For example, it is common for insurance companies to exclude injuries arising out of criminal acts. Therefore, the insurance company may refuse to settle your claim if the defendant was committing a crime during your injury.

Contact personal injury lawyers in your area for more information and assistance. 


what to do when hurt on commercial property

During a long road trip, we made an emergency stop at a motel that I wasn't completely comfortable with. Unfortunately, that was the only motel in the area, and we couldn't drive any further safely. While leaving the motel in the morning, the handrail on the steps broke, and my son and husband tumbled down the stairs and got hurt. They were taken by ambulance to a hospital where we spent the next four days. While there, I contacted a few personal injury lawyers to find out what I should do. Find out what you should do in a situation such as this.

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