I am being sued for a auto accident because the claim exceeds my coverage. Can I sue my insurance co. ?

Asked about 5 years ago - Birmingham, AL

I was at fault in the accident, my coverage plus the under-insured coverage does not cover the claim. I am being sued for 50k. Is there anything I can do to get the insurance co. to cover it?

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Jon Ethan Lewis

    Contributor Level 14

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Your insurance carrier is not responsible for paying more than the coverage limits even if a verdict is rendered in excess of the limits. However, you can put pressure on your insurance carrier if they are not negotiating with the plaintiff in good faith. How does that work? Let's say the plaintiff has asked your insurance carrier to pay the $25,000 limit, and your insurance carrier will only offer $18,000 even though the medical bills are $10,000 and surgery was involved. If you write them a letter telling them that you want them to settle for the limits, they are put in a precarious situation. Why? If it was reasonable for them to pay the $25,000, and the jury renders a $50,000 verdict against you, you will be responsible for the additional $25,000 unless the other driver has uninsured motorist coverage on his policy. In that situation, you may have a bad faith or negligent failure to pay claim against your own insurance company, and they hate being defendants in cases. Many times, they will pay the excess verdict for you to avoid such a claim.

    If the other driver has uninsured motorist coverage, they cannot get them to settle until your insurance company pays the limits (usually), and your insurance company knows that. Therefore, your insurance company is putting you in a position of getting sued or having an excess verdict against you. But, they usually don't care because they know the uninsured motorist carrier will cover the difference.

  2. Dennis Michael Phillips

    Contributor Level 17

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    1

    Answered . In states, like mine, that have laws for insurance bad faith, a personal injury judgment debtor may be able to sue his or her insurer for failing to protect them when, under the circumstances, it could and and should have done so, had it acted with due regard for the interests of its insured. In your case, it sounds like your insurer may not have gotten the case settled and has now exposed you to a possible excess judgment.

    At this point, you are in conflict with your insurance company and the lawyer(s) it hired to represent you. You may want to seek other counsel to represent you in the underlying tort suit; and, if it results in an excess judgment, then you will want to hire an attorney that practices insurance bad faith. The plaintiff's lawyer will be most helpful in finding you a bad faith attorney because it is in the plaintiff's best interest that you succeed in the bad faith suit, since that's where the money is going.

    This is general information and not specific legal advice. I am a Florida lawyer who handles Wrongful Death and Personal Injury claims. If you or a family member are injured in Florida, or if a loved one is killed in Florida, by someone else’s carelessness or by a defective product, you are invited to contact me directly at dphillips@inawreck.com or toll free 877-In-A-Wreck (that’s 877-462-9732).

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