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I was hurt in a truck accident on the PA turnpike, and the other driver’s insurance company wants to settle the case with me for $15,000. Is that all I can recover even though I needed several surgeries?

 

A:

Not necessarily.  First, I am assuming that $15,000 is the maximum liability coverage the other driver has.  If the other driver’s maximum liability coverage is not $15,000, let’s say it is $100,000, then you need to hire a PA personal injury lawyer who knows how to handle car accident cases to help you with your case against the other driver.  If you needed several surgeries as a result of the car accident, your medical expenses alone exceed $15,000.  Therefore, do not settle with the insurance company and talk to a lawyer to help you.

On the other hand, if $15,000 is the maximum liability coverage the other driver has, then you may be able to file an underinsured motorist (UIM) claim with your own car insurance company assuming your injuries and damages are over $15,000.  Therefore, we have to first determine if you have UIM coverage on your car insurance.  UIM coverage protects you when the other driver does not have enough coverage to compensate you for your injuries and damages, as your case demonstrates. You should still talk to a personal injury lawyer in PA to help you with your case.

Related UIM case result after a car accident: Injured driver awarded $1,750,000

However, you may only make a UIM claim if there are no other applicable insurance policies for the car accident.  For example, if the driver has an umbrella or excess insurance policy, your own UIM policy probably requires you to recover from that insurance policy before you file a UIM claim. 

Therefore, if you settle the claim with the other driver’s insurance company yourself, you want to make sure that the driver does not have any other excess or umbrella coverage that may also pay for the injuries you sustained from the car accident. 

PA UIM Coverage

In Pennsylvania, it is not required for drivers to carry UIM coverage.  We can ascertain whether you have UIM by looking at your car insurance declaration sheet.  If you do have UIM coverage, you may file a claim with your car insurance company to recover your damages. 

If you have $100,000 in UIM coverage, you may be able to recover up to $100,000 from your car insurance company depending on your injuries.

If you have another car registered with the same car insurance company and you are also covered as the primary insured on the other policy, you may also be able to recover the UIM coverage from THAT policy.  This is known as “stacking” UIM coverage. See Who Qualifies For UIM/UM Stacking After A PA Car Accident?

Let’s assume you are allowed to stack your UIM coverage from both car insurance policies.  Each policy carries $100,000 in UIM coverage.  Therefore, depending on your injuries, you may be able to recover up to $200,000 from a UIM claim, in addition to the $15,000 you received from the other driver.

As you can see, Pennsylvania auto insurance law is very complicated.  You should seek legal advice from an experienced car accident injury lawyer in Pennsylvania to help you obtain the maximum financial recovery.

Feel free to call me at 877.944.8396 to discuss your case. 


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