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What Happens When Car Accident Claim Exceeds Insurance Limits?

If you’ve experienced the unfortunate event of being in a car wreck where losses are more than what insurance will cover, you may wonder how to collect compensation. The Pendleton Law Team has car accident lawyers in Richmond, who serve throughout Virginia to help you recover remaining damages from the at-fault driver through a lawsuit or your own coverage. 

Auto wrecks are stressful for all parties involved, but when your claim goes unresolved due to insufficient policy coverage, delayed repairs and treatment can multiply the frustration. In these situations, consulting with a personal injury law firm is beneficial to understand the process of what to do if a car accident exceeds insurance limits. 

Our legal team has compiled answers to the commonly asked questions surrounding this topic. If you need more information regarding your particular case, we provide a complimentary consultation for your initial visit. 

What Happens if the Car Accident Claim Exceeds the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Policy Limits?

When a car accident claim exceeds the insurance policy limits of the at-fault driver in Virginia, the at-fault driver may become personally liable for the remaining damages beyond the coverage amount. This means that their personal assets could be at risk and potentially used to satisfy the additional amount owed.

Since insurance companies are not required to pay out more than the limitations of a policy, the feasible solution is to explore your legal options with a personal injury attorney in Richmond who can evaluate your losses and initiate an injury demand letter with the negligent party’s insurer. 

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Can I Still Receive Compensation if the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Limits Are Insufficient?

Yes, you may still be eligible to receive compensation even if the at-fault driver’s insurance limits are insufficient. In Virginia, you may have other options for seeking additional compensation, such as personal injury protection (PIP) coverage and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM).

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What Is Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage, and How Does It Help in Cases of Insurance Limit Exhaustion?

Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage is a type of insurance that can provide additional benefits in cases where car accident claims exceed insurance limits in Virginia. PIP coverage is designed to cover medical expenses and lost wages regardless of fault. It can help compensate for accident damages beyond the at-fault driver’s insurance limits.

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How Does Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM) Come Into Play When Insurance Limits Are Exceeded?

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) plays a crucial role when insurance limits are exceeded in Virginia. UM/UIM coverage protects you when the at-fault driver’s insurance is insufficient to cover your damages. It provides compensation up to the limits of your policy, bridging the financial gap left by the at-fault driver’s coverage.

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Can I Sue the At-Fault Driver if Their Insurance Limits Are Exceeded?

Yes, it is possible to sue the at-fault driver if their insurance limits are exceeded in Virginia. Pursuing a legal claim against the at-fault driver directly may be necessary to recover the remaining damages. By filing a lawsuit, you can seek compensation through a court judgment.

In Virginia, you generally can collect the following damages in an auto personal injury claim:

  • Medical bills
  • Loss wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Punitive damages (if applicable)
  • Loss of Consortium
  • Property damage

For an accurate assessment of what your claim qualifies to win, the Pendleton Law Team will gather medical records, damage estimates, income statements, treatment plans, and more on your behalf. 

Are There Any Time Limitations for Seeking Compensation Beyond Insurance Limits?

Yes, there are time limitations for seeking compensation beyond insurance limits in Virginia. These time limitations are known as statutes of limitations. It’s crucial to consult with an attorney promptly to understand and comply with the applicable deadlines, ensuring that you protect your rights and pursue your claim within the required timeframe.

For auto accident cases, the following details for time limitations apply:

  1. Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims: In Virginia, the general statute of limitations for personal injury claims, including car accident claims, is two years. This means that you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for your injuries and damages.
  2. Statute of Limitations for Property Damage Claims: If you are seeking compensation for property damage resulting from a car accident, the statute of limitations in Virginia is also two years. You must initiate legal action within two years from the date of the accident to pursue a claim for property damage.
  3. Tolling of Statute of Limitations: In certain situations, the statute of limitations may be temporarily suspended or “tolled.” One common scenario is when the injured party is a minor (under 18 years old) at the time of the accident. In such cases, the statute of limitations may be tolled until the minor reaches the age of 18.
  4. Importance of Timely Action: It is crucial to take timely action and initiate legal proceedings within the applicable statute of limitations. Failing to file a lawsuit within the specified timeframe can result in your claim being time-barred, meaning you may lose your right to seek compensation for your injuries and damages.

Consult With an Attorney

Given the significance of adhering to the statute of limitations, it is highly advisable to contact an experienced attorney after a car accident. The Pendleton Law Team evaluates cases, ensures that all necessary legal actions are taken within the required timeframes, and guides you through the entire claims process.

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