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What Happens When You Sue Someone for More Than Their Auto Insurance Covers in Florida?

Auto accidents can have devastating consequences, which is why Florida has pathways in place for victims to recover their damages. This includes claims under a victim’s own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance, a mandatory form of insurance coverage under the state’s no-fault system, and, when their losses exceed the limits of PIP, civil personal injury claims brought against the at-fault party.

In a perfect world, auto accident victims would be able to recover the full amount of their damages when pursuing compensation through these claims. Unfortunately, that’s not always how it works. In some cases, for example, victims’ damages exceed the limits of the at-fault party’s auto liability insurance, which often happens when they suffer catastrophic injuries and incur considerable medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.

While suing for more than a defendant’s auto insurance can cover puts victims at risk of having to absorb costs and damages they didn’t cause, there are some viable options for dealing with this challenging circumstance. At Perry & Young, our auto accident attorneys routinely help accident victims explore options for maximizing their compensation when at-fault parties lack sufficient insurance coverage – or any coverage at all.

Auto Injury Claims: Suing Outside of PIP

In Florida, a unique no-fault auto insurance system requires injured victims to first seek and obtain financial compensation through their own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage before they can pursue civil claims against the at-fault party. While PIP can provide access to immediate benefits without the need to prove fault, it only has a $10,000 coverage minimum.

Given the low limits of PIP coverage, it is not unusual for victims – and especially those who’ve suffered catastrophic injuries and considerable losses – to have damages that far exceed the $10,000 minimum coverage limits of PIP insurance. Fortunately, Florida allows victims in these predicaments to pursue claims outside of the PIP system.

  • You may be able to file a claim outside of PIP if:
  • Your damages exceed PIP coverage
  • You suffered permanent injury, scarring, or disfigurement
  • You suffered significant or permanent loss of an important bodily function
  • A death occurred

Bringing Claims for Excess Compensation

When suing outside of PIP, individuals may have damages that exceed the available liability coverage of the at-fault party's auto insurance. This can happen in situations where damages are extensive and at-fault drivers are underinsured, or when at-fault drivers have no insurance at all.

If you need to sue someone for more than their insurance covers, you’ll need to explore your options. At Perry & Young, we help clients search for compensation and available coverage in various ways:

However, it's essential to consider various factors and legal strategies in this scenario:

  • Negotiated Settlement Within Policy Limits: In some cases, a negotiated settlement may be reached within the policy's limits. Sometimes, this is the result of disputes over fault, which is why it’s important to adequately defend against accusations that you contributed to the accident.
  • Policy Limits Settlement: If the insurance coverage is insufficient to cover the damages, the victim may receive a settlement up to the policy limits. Because this may not fully compensate for the injuries and losses incurred, victims may still need to explore other ways of recovering their remaining damages.
  • Claims Against Other Potentially Liable Parties: It's crucial to investigate whether other parties contributed to the accident and whether they have available coverage from which to seek compensation. This may include claims against other drivers who negligently contributed to the crash, employers, or entities responsible for road maintenance.
  • Utilizing UM/UIM Coverage: Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage is optional but highly recommended. This coverage can provide additional compensation if the at-fault party is uninsured or underinsured, helping bridge the gap between the damages incurred and the available insurance coverage. If you have this coverage, you can bring a UM/UIM claim with your insurer.
  • Court Judgment: Pursuing a court judgment against the at-fault motorist is an option, but it's important to note that collecting on a judgment can be challenging, particularly if the defendant lacks sufficient assets to satisfy the judgment.

How Proven Attorneys Can Help

Insurance coverage issues involving catastrophic injuries and underinsured motorists pose a significant threat to your ability to recover needed compensation after an auto accident, which is why it’s critical to work with experienced attorneys.

At Perry & Young, we routinely represent victims who’ve sustained considerable damages in motor vehicle accidents and who find themselves in situations where an at-fault party’s available coverage may not be enough to fully compensate them. We help these clients by conducting meticulous investigations and policy reviews to find all sources of available compensation, and by fighting aggressively to secure the maximum financial recovery possible.

If you have questions about an auto injury claim anywhere in Northwest Florida, our award-winning team can help. We offer FREE consultations and serve clients from multiple office locations in Marianna, Panama City, Panama City Beach, & Tallahassee. Call (850) 215-7777 or contact us online for a FREE consultation.