What if there isn’t enough insurance?
Often, people who are seriously hurt in car accidents attempt to deal with insurance companies themselves. Often, the insurance companies tell these hurt people that there is only a small amount of money available. Sometimes that is true—but sometimes it isn’t.
Here are three ways that the lawyers at Butler Tobin seek additional funds to compensate our clients.
The first involves liability coverage. Often, we finds that there is more liability coverage available than the insurance companies initially admit. For instance, in one recent car accident case, we discovered that the at-fault driver did not actually own the car being driven, and we were able to collect from the policies of the at-fault driver and the owner. In another case, we have used the “family purpose doctrine” to seek additional funds for our client. In still another case, the misconduct of the insurance company enabled our client to collect millions of dollars even though the liability policy was only $25,000. In sum, there are ways to find more money—but your lawyer needs to know what he or she is doing.
The second way involves finding different types of insurance. One other type of insurance we often find is uninsured/underinsured motorist, or “UM,” coverage. In Georgia, a driver with too little insurance is treated similarly to a driver with no insurance—which can help injured victims. Sometimes, using the “written-rejection rule,” we are even able to find UM insurance for clients who did not realize that they had it. Occasionally, umbrella policies are also available. Sometimes, we find “commercial general liability” policies. One method of discovering this information is to send the insurer or at-fault driver a letter pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 33-3-28.
The third method involves finding an additional defendant. In significant injury cases, our firm considers vehicle manufacturers, at-fault drivers’ employers, dram shops, and GDOT as potential defendants. All of this can help our clients tremendously. There are lots of alternatives, but your lawyer needs to know the law and know how to litigate cases.