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Can Car Crash Victims Seek Compensation Above the At-Fault Driver’s Policy Limits?

Posted on behalf of Peter T. Nicholl in Car Accidents Feb 21, 2022

liability insurance policy with key fobCar crashes have the potential to cause catastrophic or even fatal injuries. Victims of these accidents often have significant medical expenses and suffer a variety of ongoing damages that affect them financially and emotionally.

Even though many drivers purchase more than the minimum required insurance coverage, it may still not be enough to cover damages from a catastrophic or fatal injury.   

Many crash victims end up in debt from trying to pay medical bills for a catastrophic injury on their own. Fortunately, there may be other options for recovering compensation instead of paying for medical expenses and other damages out of your own pocket.

An experienced attorney from The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl is here to help you pursue full compensation for damages you or your loved one suffered in a car crash. We have obtained millions on behalf of our clients, including a $1.9 million verdict for a client who died as a passenger in a motor vehicle crash.

Umbrella Insurance

Some drivers have umbrella insurance policies that can be used when at-fault drivers have exhausted their liability insurance. These policies are purchased specifically for situations when policyholders are found liable for a catastrophic or fatal injury.

Without umbrella insurance, the victim or his or her surviving family members may be able to go after the at-fault party’s assets. Umbrella insurance is meant to protect people from something like that happening.

Underinsured Motorist Coverage

This is required insurance coverage for all drivers. You must purchase a minimum of $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident.

Underinsured motorist coverage is first-party coverage that is meant to cover the difference between the value of your damages and the limits of the at-fault driver’s liability insurance. You may be able to use this coverage if the at-fault driver’s liability insurance runs out before it covers all your damages.

Extended Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Before July 1, 2018, Maryland insurance law limited the amount of uninsured motorist coverage (UIM) crash victims could use. If you were in a crash with a driver who had $30,000 of liability coverage, and you had $100,000 in UIM coverage, you could only recover $100,000 in total compensation. Even though there is $130,000 in coverage between your UIM coverage and the at-fault driver’s liability insurance, you would not be able to recover all of that.

However, a law was passed to establish extended underinsured motorist (EUIM) coverage. Under this law, you can recover the full value of the at-fault driver’s liability insurance and the full value of your UIM coverage, up to the value of your damages.

It is important to note this coverage only applies to new policies sold after July 1, 2018. You would need to discuss this with your insurance company and elect to add this coverage to your policy.

It is important to note these claims are complex and it is generally best to work with an experienced Maryland-based car crash attorney.

Can I Stack Underinsured Motorist Coverage?

In Maryland, you may be able to stack underinsured motorist coverage from multiple policies to provide additional compensation. If you have two policies, such as a policy on a car and a motorcycle or two separate policies on two separate vehicles, you may be able to stack coverage between all your policies. This could dramatically increase the amount of coverage you have.

First-Party Coverage

If you bought additional car insurance coverage beyond what was required by law, you may be able to use it to pay for your car crash damages.

For example, if you have personal injury protection insurance or medical payments coverage you may be able to use it to cover your medical bills. Collision coverage would pay for damage to your vehicle or the cost of replacing your vehicle if it is declared a total loss.

These are not required coverages, so people usually only buy them if they can afford them. You may be glad you did buy extra coverage if you are ever involved in a catastrophic car crash. There is no way to control what other drivers are going to do, and you never know when you might be involved in a bad accident.

Can I File a Third-Party Claim?

If a third party has liability for your injuries and damages, you may be able to file a separate claim against this person. For example, you may have a claim against a third driver who bears fault for the crash that caused your injuries.

If your crash was partially caused by a defective part, like a defective tire or something under the hood, you may have a claim against the manufacturer of the part. You may also have a claim against a repair shop if they did a poor job repairing the part or simply damaged the part when they were working on your vehicle.

Sometimes it may be possible to file a claim against a government entity over poor road conditions. Roads are often managed by government entities, and if they did not do a good enough job maintaining the road where your crash happened, and road conditions were partially to blame, there may be a third-party claim.

Schedule Your Free Legal Consultation Today

For more than three decades, the experienced attorneys at The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl have been securing compensation for injury victims.

Not only do we have many years of experience and a proven track record, but there is also no financial risk in contacting us because we work on contingency. That means there are no upfront fees to pay if we take your case or while we work on your case.

Contact our personal injury lawyers for a free consultation if you have been injured by another’s negligence. You may be entitled to compensation.

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