Good news! You may not always have to hire a lawyer for your injury claim. Small problems confront us almost daily. Some simple guidance and ingenuity often make these problems easy to handle. Think about fixing a leaking faucet or replacing that squirrelly light bulb in your home. Even if you’re not a plumber or electrician, you may very well be able to fix these problems. But you may also flood your home or burn it to the ground. Similarly with injury cases, you may be able to resolve your bodily injury claim without the need of a lawyer. So how can you figure out how much insurance coverage is available to you?
How much insurance is available to pay my claims?
The amount of insurance available to pay your claims is an extremely important question. If there is no insurance or very little insurance, your case will unfortunately probably be worthless or worth very little. When there is very little or no insurance coverage, rarely will the at-fault party have any personal assets, which means there is no way to recover for your claims. It is extremely important that you (or your lawyer) find all the coverage available to ensure claims can be fully paid. Here’s an an automobile/trucking case as an example:
Typically, the at-fault driver will have liability coverage available to pay your claims. But determining the total amount of that coverage is not always easy to do. If the driver is driving his or her own personal vehicle, we expect he or she will have a liability policy covering the vehicle and the driver. If the driver is driving his or her friend’s vehicle, there is probably also a separate liability policy on the vehicle itself that will add to (or stack on) the driver’s policy. Also, if the driver is driving a vehicle for his or her employer, there may be a separate business or commercial policy that is available to provide coverage. In this case, the driver’s personal policy may or may not also provide coverage.
The question of the amount of liability coverage in an Atlanta tractor trailer case is even more complicated and is beyond the scope of this discussion. The number of possible sources of insurance, including the driver’s, the trucking company’s, the shipper’s, the broker’s, insurance on the trailer, and other sources only complicates matters. State and federal insurance requirements on trucking companies and their drivers can also muddy the waters.
What if the other driver is uninsured, or the insurance he or she has is minimal and inadequate to compensate you for your claims? In this situation, it is important to determine the extent of uninsured or under-insured coverage available to pay your claims. A number of questions need to be asked to make this determination, including: (1) whether the injured driver has this type of coverage on his or her own insurance policy, (2) whether driving members of the injured driver’s household have separate uninsured or under-insured motorist coverage on their vehicles, (3) whether these coverages can be combined (stacked), (4) whether these coverages are “set off” or “excess” to the available liability coverage, (5) if the driver does not own the vehicle, whether the owner of the vehicle has uninsured or under-insured motorist coverage on the vehicle, (6) whether this coverage is “set off” or “add-on” to the available liability coverage, (7) whether this conference stacks, and (8) which of all these coverages is primary, secondary, etc.
These are just a few of the many questions that may be relevant in determining the extent of the liability and uninsured or under-insured motorist coverage available to your accident. If you do not know how to determine the answers to these questions and/or what answers mean, you will need an Atlanta injury attorney to help you with your case. Not discovering all the coverage available to pay your claims is the functional equivalent of flooding your house or burning it down.
Non-automobile/trucking cases can also be very complicated regarding how much insurance coverage is available to pay your claim. Whether your case is an auto/trucking case or a case arising from some other dramatic event, if you have substantial bills (i.e., more than $10,000), you should at least consult with an experienced Atlanta injury attorney regarding these insurance issues. The more serious the injury, the greater the need for the assistance of a competent Atlanta accident injury lawyer.