Can Car Accident Settlements Exceed Insurance Policy Limits?
When a car accident occurs financial losses are nearly always certain. This is especially true when the collision results in injuries. If someone is injured in a car accident that was caused by another person’s reckless or negligent actions, they should be compensated for related damages. Unfortunately, drivers do not always carry insurance coverage that fully meets accident losses.
Car accident lawyers at the Tawwater Law Firm, PLLC, are frequently asked, “can car accident settlements exceed insurance policy limits?” To fully answer this question for drivers in the Oklahoma City, OK, area, we must explain the state's liability laws, insurance minimums, and legal options for personal injury victims.
Oklahoma Is an At-fault State
Oklahoma is an at-fault state in terms of accident liability and insurance claims. For car accident victims this means that liable parties are responsible for all damages related to a collision, including economic losses (medical expenses, lost income, etc.) and non-economic losses (pain and suffering). While the liable driver is responsible for these losses, they nearly always rely on insurance coverage to provide injured parties with appropriate compensation.
Liability Insurance Minimums
Since drivers typically rely on car insurance to cover the cost of damages from an accident, it is important they carry sufficient coverage. The state of Oklahoma sets liability insurance minimums for all drivers. At a minimum drivers must take out liability insurance to cover:
- $25,000 for personal injury per person
- $50,000 for personal injury per accident
- $25,000 for economic damages per accident
Seeking Compensation for Damages that Exceed Insurance Policy Limits
Oklahoma’s liability insurance minimums may seem generous, but when a crash results in catastrophic injuries, damages can be steep. It is not unusual for losses to exceed insurance policy limits, especially if the at-fault party only meets minimum insurance requirements. Unfortunately, insurance carriers will not provide a settlement that exceeds insurance policy limits, but there are other ways for accident victims to maximize their compensation.
If an at-fault driver lacks sufficient insurance coverage, drivers can rely on their own insurance policy to cover additional losses, provided they carry an uninsured/underinsured driver policy. This type of policy kicks in when an at-fault party fails to meet legal insurance requirements or when insurance coverage is insufficient for the cost of damages caused by the collision.
Another option for Oklahoma City accident victims is a personal injury lawsuit. Civil law gives injured parties the right to file a claim in court to pursue compensation for losses related to car accident injuries. Accident victims can file a claim directly against the at-fault party, rather than relying on insurance coverage. Because the at-fault party is personally responsible, the court can hold them liable for all damages related to the crash, even if they exceed insurance policy limits.
If you have been injured in a crash and have suffered damages that exceed the at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits, lawyers from the Tawwater Law Firm, PLLC, can help you consider your legal options for financial compensation. To discuss the details of your case with our legal team, send us a message online, or call our Oklahoma City law firm at (405) 607-1400.