Policy Limit Settlements in Personal Injury Accidents

Joseph McClelland Settlements & Verdicts

RULE

Policy limit settlements in a personal injury case.

The take away from this article is two-fold.  

The first part is about the maximum amount for which an insurance company will settle.  

This is important because even if you have a significant injury, there is only XXX amount of insurance. You might be left in the cold if not handled correctly.

The second part that why would a car insurance company pay the full amount of the policy in a settlement.  

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What is the maximum amount an insurance company will pay?

First:

damages in Georgia personal injury cases

What is are Policy Limit Settlements?

This is the maximum amount of insurance available on the policy of the at-fault driver.  

In each state, a different amount can exist, but in Georgia the minimum amount of car insurance is twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000).  

Therefore, the most you could get without punitive damages would be $25,000.  

That would be a policy limit settlement.  You can have additional insurance policies to recover from. You may need to use your own uninsured motorist coverage if there is not enough insurance.

Because of the accident, our client missed weeks of work.  

She had suffered from daily migraine headaches for several weeks, attended physical therapy, and had to receive several injections into her back to help reduce the pain.  

She had suffered a severe back injury and neck injury before this accident which made matters worse.  She was even sent home with her own transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation unit or TENS unit.  

She was also instructed to wear a back brace for a few weeks.  

She was prescribed Hyrocodone for the pain for a couple of months.

Liability in this collision was clear because the other driver was charged with following too closely and a DUI less safe charge.  

The police report indicates that the speed of the collision was in excess of 50 miles per hour.

Our client’s vehicle was declared a total loss.

We were able to dramatically reduce the amount of medical bills the the client was required to pay.

Why I am not super happy with the result?

This is because of several reasons.  The first is the pre-existing injuries.  

Not a problem in my book.  If you told someone that I hurt my knee, they would not really respond dramatically.  

But, if you then said, that is the same knee I had surgery on.  That same person would show more concern because it must fragile.  

That is easy stuff, but an obstacle all the same.

The second was the drunk driver.  

He blew under the limit, but that is not the issue.  

It was just the fact that it existed because of the availability of punitive damages.  There is one downside about trying a case and getting more than the actual damages to the client, and that is time.  

If you are another personal injury lawyer, I will be happy to discuss cases with you or assist you, as well.

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Part Two Why Do Insurance Company Settle for the Policy Limits?

Easy.

If they are demanded to pay a settlement in a proper way, the insurance company will be liable for the full amount of the damages – EVEN those greater than the policy limit.

Example: 

State Farm has a policy limit of $25,000. You have an injury that is valued at $85,000. They can get out for $25,000 because that is their max insurance.

But…

If a proper time demand letter is sent to them and they don’t pay, the result changes.

State Farm will be responsible for paying the full amount at accident trial.

This is why they will pay the full amount. 

The exposure is greater than just paying out on the claim.

You can call it CYA.

You can call it survival.

We call it a policy limit settlement.

Joseph P. McClelland, LLC represents plaintiffs in trucking accidents, motorcycle wrecks, car accidents, tractor trailer accidents, wrongful death cases in Atlanta, Marietta, Duluth, Norcross, Decatur, McDonough, Griffin, Jackson, Monticello, Macon, Forsyth, Barnesville, Midtown Atlanta and all of Georgia.

Joseph McClelland

Looking for more information on hit and run accidents, go here.

For more information on Settlements in Georgia, see our post on settlement tip number two and our first tip on increasing the value of personal injury cases.  Thank you for taking the time to read this article on policy limits settlements in personal injury cases.