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Pre-settlement considerations

Pre-settlement considerations

Look for all sources of insurance coverage

One of the things that your personal injury lawyer will do in representing you for injuries from a car accident is to look for all possible sources of recovery. This is an important pre-settlement consideration because your lawyer will want to have every possible available source participating in settlement negotiations. This is particularly important if the initial insurance policy that appears to apply has a very low limit so that it is not sufficient to cover your damages from the car accident.

Sample fact pattern with low policy limit

The need to look for additional sources of recovery can occur in a fact situation such as the following:

You have been hit by a car driven by a teenager who has only $25,000 in insurance liability coverage. You lost a leg as a result of the accident, so your injuries greatly exceed the $25,000 policy limit.

The teenager’s insurer is likely to offer the entire $25,000. However, before accepting this policy limit, your personal injury lawyer will want to rule out all other possible sources of coverage.

Issues that might suggest other sources of coverage for damages from a car accident

Before accepting the policy limits offer from the small insurance policy, your personal injury lawyer may consider the following factors in search of other possible sources of insurance coverage:

  • Who is the owner of the car the teenager was driving? The owner may be liable for the negligent acts of the teenage driver.

  • Is the teenager in college? If he is being supported by his parents or if his driver’s license lists his parents’ home as his residence, there may be coverage through his parent’s policy.
  • Are the teenage driver’s parents divorced or living apart? If they each own vehicles and the teenager spends time with each parent, both their policies may apply.
  • Does the teenager at school live with a sibling? If he lives with his sister while going to college, he might be a resident and as such, covered under her policy.
  • Does your own underinsurance policy apply? Your policy should be analyzed, as well as members of your household.
  • Was the teenager drinking alcohol? If he was then the person who supplied the alcohol may be liable.

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