You need the help of an experienced personal injury attorney if your motor vehicle accident involved multiple vehicles or victims or caused death or catastrophic injuries. Only an attorney who regularly handles complex litigation will recognize all the potential sources of financial recovery available to compensate you for the losses suffered when such serious personal injuries occur.
At the Blackman Legal Group, we do a thorough case analysis to identify all of the parties at fault in your accident, all of your present and future damages, and all the available sources for economic compensation. Those sources likely include more than just the insurance policy of the driver or drivers who caused the accident. Potential additional sources for recovery include:
- Your own insurance policy;
- The policies covering any other vehicles involved in the accident;
- An involved driver’s employer’s insurance policy;
- The policy covering the manufacturer of an involved vehicle or its component parts;
- Any policy or policies covering those responsible for designing, building and/or maintaining the road; and
- Where intoxication is a factor in the accident, policies covering establishments that served the intoxicated driver.
It is necessary to look to all of these sources for recovery in multi-party cases and cases involving catastrophic injuries because each of the policies will have a policy limit that impacts the amount available to compensate your injuries.
A policy limit is simply the amount of money the insurer and its insured have agreed is the maximum amount the insurer will have to pay out in any given instance. If you look at your own automobile insurance policy you will likely see a paired set of numbers such as 50/100.
The first number is the maximum amount of money that the insurance company will pay to each person for injury in an accident. The second amount is the total amount the insurance company will pay per accident. For example, if you and a friend are seriously injured in an accident involving your car, you could each get $50,000 for a total of $100,000 for the accident. But, what if you and three of your friends are seriously injured? Do you each get the same $50,000? Not under that policy. You and your three friends would be left to fight over the total $100,000 pot, but no one would get more than $50,000. You can see how in a complex or catastrophic injury case it quickly becomes necessary to look for other sources of recovery.
THE DRIVER’S OWN INSURANCE POLICY
In California, as in most states, the owner of a motor vehicle is required to have insurance on that vehicle. The insurance policy generally will provide coverage for the person named in the policy no matter what vehicle he/she is driving. The policy will also cover the vehicle or vehicles named in the policy. So if you are in an accident involving a driver who is not driving his own vehicle, you might be able to look to the driver’s insurance for recovery. You might also be able to “stack” that policy on the vehicle’s insurance for more coverage.
THE POLICY COVERING OTHER DRIVERS INVOLVED IN THE ACCIDENT
As noted above, you may be able to combine the coverage of the driver with the coverage on the vehicle he was driving to obtain a bigger pot to recover from. Often, the policy covering the vehicle will have additional vehicles listed on it. For example, if you own more than one car, you probably have them all insured by one company under one policy. In some states, if the vehicle involved in the accident was one of several listed on the policy, and if the policy allows, you may be able to stack the coverage on each vehicle insured under the policy. So, if there are three automobiles listed under one policy and the policy is a 50/100 policy you might be able to get $150,000 per person and $300,000 per accident.
THE DRIVER’S EMPLOYER’S POLICY
If a driver with responsibility for causing or contributing to the severity of the accident was using a company vehicle or at work when the accident occurred, the driver may be covered under an employer’s motor vehicle policy. Additionally, the driver may be covered under the employer’s liability policy that may have additional or larger limits of liability.
YOUR INSURANCE POLICY
Your motor vehicle insurance policy is made up of several components that provide coverage for you during an accident. These include:
- Underinsured Motorist Benefits (UIM) - These benefits are payable when the at fault driver has insufficient insurance to pay for your bodily injuries.
- Uninsured Motorist Benefits (UM) - These benefits are payable when the at fault driver has no insurance to pay for your bodily injuries.
- PIP - PIP stands for “Personal Injury Protection”. It covers medical expenses and other basic out of pocket expenses of the driver and/or passengers of a covered vehicle who are injured as a result of an accident.
- MED - MED stands for “Auto Med-Pay Coverage”. This coverage provides reimbursement for medical treatment expenses related to a motor vehicle accident.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your accident, there may be additional parties that contributed to causing the accident. Those additional parties may provide further sources of recovery. Potential additional parties may include:
- The manufacturer of the vehicle or its component parts (such as tires);
- A shop responsible for faulty repairs;
- Those responsible for designing, building and/or maintaining the road; and/or
- The establishment responsible for providing intoxicating substances to an at fault intoxicated driver.
Each of these potential parties will more than likely have liability policies that will provide additional sources for your recovery.
Complex accidents involving catastrophic injuries require sophisticated analysis of the various sources of liability and recovery. The Blackman Legal Group has the breadth and depth of experience to undertake the full investigation complicated accident and injury cases require. Our commitment to legal excellence means that our clients can rely on us to maximize the ultimate recovery they receive. Contact Us Today!