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My cousin was in a car accident in my car. Can she get 400,000 if my car insurance liability is only 40,000??

Southfield, MI |

She is also paralyzed by the legs from the accident.

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Attorney answers 5


Sorry to hear about your cousin, that is a tragedy for sure. As far as what she can get, it depends. I am not licensed in MI, but I know that generally, you are limited to what insurance limits are available. You REALLY need to consult with a local attorney who should give you a free consultation. There are many variables here like who was at fault, how much insurance is available on all vehicles/policies involved in the collision, maybe there's a bad faith claim that could arise opening limits, so on and so forth. So, before I give you any bad advice, take the good advice I've provided and call an attorney ASAP for your cousin! Good luck!

The information provided herein is general information only and is not legal advice. The information provided herein does not create an attorney client relationship and is not a substitute for having a consultation with an attorney. It is important to have a consultation with an attorney as the information provided in this forum is limited and cannot possibly cover all potential issues in a given situation.


She can get whatever a jury gives her as a verdict. Your insurance will only cover your limits, the rest will be on you. You might want to hire personal counsel to protect your assets which are clearly at risk. Find the best here on AVVO.

My answer to you question does not constitute legal advice. Only an in person or telephone consultation will result in an attorney/client relationship. Please do not rely on brief answers without checking with an attorney in a confidential consultation.


I am assuming your cousin was at fault in the accident.
It appears that your liability coverage through the insurance company is (most likely) 20/40. This means that there is $20,000 available per injured person, but no more than $40,000 for all injuries to all persons.
In any event, depending on the severity of injuries, the first $20,000 is available from the insurance company. If there is any excess damage, you could be held personally responsible.
You need to contact your insurance company; they will provide an attorney for you at no expense to you.


From your question it is not clear who was driving and who was at fault.

If she was driving and was at fault she gets nothing other than first party No-Fault benefits.

If the fault is that of driver on another vehicle which struck your vehicle, then the liability coverage of the other driver comes into play and the liability limit on your policy is irrelevant. More below on this scenario.

If she was a passenger in your car and whoever was driving your car (you or someone else with your permission) were at fault, then your insurance company will only pay its limits, even if her damages are $400,000. If someone other than you was driving your vehicle, then any policy that the driver might have that covers him/her would provide additional coverage to cover the damages. More below on this scenario.

Also, if your cousin (or a relative of hers with whom she was living at the time) had an auto liability policy of her own it should be looked at to determine if the policy has an Underinsured Motorist Coverage. In that event that carrier would supplement the recovery up to its limits. But your cousin should be careful not to settle with any other company first. This is because most policies have a clause that makes it a precondition that they have a chance to sue the liable party and go after him/her for damages in excess of the limits, which would mean the negligent driver of your car (and you as owner) or the negligent driver of the other car.

If the negligent driver was in the other car, then the following policies/coverages come into play:
The liability coverage on the other vehicle
The liability coverage that the other driver might have if it was not his/her vehicle
The Underinsured Coverage that your cousin might have had on her policy
Maybe the Underinsured Coverage that the driver of your car may have had
If the injuries are that serious an attorney should be consulted in order to navigate all of these scenarios.


It depends. What she in a single car accident? Who caused the accident?

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