Is there enough insurance to cover my personal injury claim?   2 comments

By Render Freeman

This is one of the most common questions raised by victims of personal injury, and the answer is far from simple.  Your claim may be covered by multiple insurance policies, including some that you might not expect.

Liability coverage: the wrongdoer may or may not have liability coverage, and it may be layered.  Don’t assume that the first layer of insurance is the only layer.  Hire competent counsel that will diligently investigate available liability insurance coverage.

Homeowner’s coverage:  most Georgians with homeowner’s insurance have unknowingly purchased personal coverage for liabilities that may have nothing to do with their home.

Uninsured\Underinsured Motorist Coverage:  Your own auto insurance and the auto insurance for other vehicles garaged at your home may provide additional coverage for injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident, even when you were not at fault. This type of coverage is also available in pedestrian accidents and is designed to protect the injury victim from an at-fault driver who doesn’t have enough liability coverage.  The amounts of these coverages may offset each other or they may “stack” on top of each other. The stacking rules and rules regarding priority (i.e., which policy has to pay first) are the subject of complex statutes and case-law precedent in Georgia. 

Umbrella Coverage: Oddly, your own umbrella liability policy may in very rare circumstances provide uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

Make sure your lawyer is competent in this area and has dedicated a large portion of his or her practice to going after insurance companies.  Don’t let your claim be settled for less than it’s worth based on an erroneous assumption that there wasn’t enough insurance.

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2 responses to “Is there enough insurance to cover my personal injury claim?

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  1. I think beforehand it is important to find the right insurance company so that you avoid having to get to your lawyer.

    • It is certainly helpful to have selected a quality insurance company for your own coverage, but an accident victim has no control over who insures the careless individual or company that caused the injuries. The injured individual must have a sophisticated advocate to make sure that all available coverages are explored, analyzed and accessed. For example, until recently in Georgia, personal liability umbrella policies were not thought to provide under-insured motorist coverage – a vitally important type of coverage, especially in this economy. When an injured individual made a claim of that nature, their insurance company rejected the claim. Due to the hard work and sophisitication of the families’ lawyers (and extensive litigation), the courts agreed and the insurance company was required to provide coverage for their catestrophic losses. Abrohams v. Atlanta Mutual Insurance Agency, 2006 282 Ga. App. 176 (2006). Sometimes, you have to fight for your rights.

      Render C. Freeman, Esq.

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