New York City Personal Injury Law Blog
How Insurance Influences Your Accident Case
Posted on Feb 13, 2015 in Car Accidents
Attorneys Look for Insurance Coverage
When you have suffered an injury because of somebody’s carelessness, whether it is a driver, or a doctor or hospital, one of the things your lawyer will look for is what the available insurance is. Let us say, you have suffered significant fracture in a car accident, and your lawyer determines that the driver of the other car had only $25,000 worth of insurance.
Your fracture is significant and in all likelihood, you will have to undergo surgery to correct your problem. This is going to cost much more than the available insurance. Hence, it may not be worthwhile for your lawyer to represent you! This is because the maximum amount of money he will be able to recover is only $25,000.
In other words, in a car accident case, the attorneys will go after the insurance, rather than the person who has actually caused you harm. This happens in almost every instance, and there will be very limited instances where you find the attorney actually going after some person and their personal assets. Nobody tells you about this dirty little secret.
Is there Additional Insurance?
Let us say there is a million dollars coverage, and your injuries are worth a million dollars. In such a case, the attorney is obviously going to go after the insurance policy and file a lawsuit on your behalf, and represent you in your accident case.
However, in an instance where the limits are very small, the maximum your lawyer can try to obtain for you is the limits of the insurance policy. This is why lawyers will always try to determine whether there is something called excess insurance. Whether there is an additional level of insurance policy that kicks in over and above what the basic insurance policy was or is.
The attorney, during your first consultation with him, is not going to know how much insurance the other driver of the car has, or how much the doctor has. This takes a bit of investigation, and sometimes the lawyer cannot find that information out, until the lawsuit is started. Once the lawsuit is initiated, the lawyer will be able to extract the information from the driver, doctor, or from their attorneys.
It is always important to ask the attorney whom you are considering to hire, how do you know what insurance is available, and how do you know if excess insurance is available, which is going to cover your injuries? In fact, the lawyer will himself want to know this, since he will be charging contingency fees, which means he will be only paid out of the settlement or the compensation awarded by the court.
Attention to Detail
If the insurance is not enough to cover your injuries, then you will have to ask the lawyer whether it is worthwhile to go after the personal assets, and whether the personal assets of the person would be enough to cover your injuries.