An important rule in insurance is the collateral source rule. This rule holds that damages are not reduced or mitigated by reason of benefits received by you, the plaintiff, from other sources such as your own insurance. In other words, even if you are paid out by your insurance in order to may your medical expenses, you are still entitled to recovery from the tortfeasor who caused you harm.
Often, the damages that you are owed as the plaintiff exceed the amount of assets or worth of the tortfeasor. Fortunately, many tortfeasors have insurance coverage. Hopefully, so do you. This article will address where money may come from to pay you the money you are owed. Keep in mind, no matter how much money is available, you are only entitled to rectify the harm related to the injury.
This is perhaps the most intuitive method for obtaining damages. If someone harms you due to negligence or intentionally, you sue him or her in their personal capacity. Ideally, this person has enough money to be able to pay you. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. In certain situations, we will have our private investigator perform an asset check on the tortfeasor to determine if it worth pursuing a lawsuit against him or her personally. This is the least common method for obtaining the money you are owed, but it is a valuable tool to have under the law.
This is undoubtedly the most common method. Often, the tortfeasor does not have enough money to pay your judgment or settlement and will have to rely on his insurance coverage. Some people have larger policies than others and this method taken by itself can be a game of chance. Additionally, there may be an issue as to whether the tortfeasor’s insurance policy covers the accident at bar. In these instances, it is particularly important to have a skilled lawyer on your side who is experienced with insurance law.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
In some cases, the tortfeasor will have little to no assets and have no insurance. In such a case, you can use your own insurance’s uninsured motorist coverage (“UM”). Sometimes we have clients who fear using their own insurance. But this is what your insurance is for. Using your UM coverage should not raise your rates as you pay your insurance company to provide you this option in the unfortunate. There are other ways to use your insurance when without another option which are fact dependent and require consultation with your personal injury lawyer.
A clear reason why you likely need a lawyer not only advocating for you but guiding you through this process is the real-world problems you encounter when looking to resolve a personal injury matter. As discussed, even when you have proven liability, and proven a substantial amount of damages or it is already obvious, obtaining the money you are owed can be an entirely more complicated process which often requires legal assistance. We are not able to address every possibility under the law in this article. Call us to better understand your rights and get the compensation you are entitled to. Our phones are open 24/7.