I rearended another driver. I have only the cal. state minimum personal injury policy of $15,000 and $5,000 property damage. The driver initially appeared okay but then someone called an ambulance. My insurance said they were working with the driver and would settle but they were doubting the amount of his claim. They also said the driver was rude . After a couple weeks my insurance said they would offer the policy limits on the personal injury but not on the property damage to the driver. Then they suddenly told me the driver was going to hire an attorney and that the claim would exceed my policy. They also told me driver has an underinsured motorist policy of 20k but his lawyer refuses to negotiate and wants to go to trial. If I lose, do I have a decent bad faith insurance case?
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You will have to await the outcome. Unless the driver has property damage in of $5,000 or more there is no reason for the carrier to offer that sum in settlement. I would be more concerned about an excess judgment on the personal injury claim.
In reality, the carrier is not going to risk a bad faith claim and will eventually offer the full $20,000 in settlement to buy its peace. So, your hope of having the carrier “on the hook” for the full amount of any excess verdict is illusory.
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Car / Auto Accident Lawyer
This is tough lesson to swallow, but you should immediately call your insurance agent and up your limits.
It may cost you more in the front end, but it eliminates you tressing about excess judgments on minor cases like you are now.
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