What Happens if a Jury Awards Me More Than The Other Driver’s Policy Limits In a Car Accident Lawsuit?

Most motor vehicle accident victims do not know going into a lawsuit that often the most important factor in most motor vehicle accident lawsuits is the negligent motorist’s policy limits.  This is why a motorist injured in a motor vehicle accident may be forced to accept less than the full amount of his or her damages if the other driver is underinsured.  Therefore, it is imperative that Florida car accident victims hire an aggressive attorney who will not only pursue the negligent driver’s insurer, but also the negligent driver, for the victim’s injuries.  An aggressive attorney can recover something from the negligent driver, even if not the full amount awarded.

 

A Concrete Example of How Insurance Policy Limits Can Dictate a Lawsuit’s Outcome

 

Imagine a driver is driving home on the Florida Turnpike in Palm Beach County and is plowed into from behind by a driver who is texting and not paying attention.  If the negligent driver has an auto policy with a limit of $100,000, for instance, the insurer is on the hook for $100,000.  This is true if the case goes to a trial and the jury returns a verdict against the driver and his or her insurer for $1,000,000.  Of that $1,000,000, the the driver would be on the hook for the remaining $900,000.  Given that very few people have assets of that amount, many attorneys will not even bother to attempt to collect anything from the driver and will simply be content with pursuing the negligent driver’s insurer for whatever insurance money is available. Nonetheless, it often is possible (although sometimes difficult) to also obtain additional compensation from the negligent driver him or herself.

 

What Can My Lawyers Do if the Jury Awards Me More than the Other Driver’s Policy Limits in Damages?

 

A jury verdict, and the resulting judgment against the negligent driver, is just a piece of paper.  Although the injured person might have a judgment stating that the motorist owes you $900,000, it is up to your attorneys to collect dollar amount of that $900,000 they can from that driver.  This will usually be less than a dollar for dollar recovery because both Florida state law as well as federal law provide protections for certain assets from collection to satisfy a judgment obtained in a lawsuit, like a home jointly owned with a spouse, any retirement accounts, or a portion of the negligent motorist’s paycheck. However, it is a process that takes meticulous research in locating the negligent motorist’s assets and then using legal remedies to recover whatever money an attorney can for his or her injured client.

 

Contact Lytal Reiter if You Have Been Involved in a Motor Vehicle Accident in Florida

 

At Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath, our auto accident attorneys have extensive experience litigating on behalf of auto accident victims.  Since our firm was founded in 1985, a large percentage of the cases our firm handles involve auto accidents.  Although some attorneys will simply take whatever the negligent motorist’s insurance policy limits are, we will fight to get every cent for our clients that we can, including pursuing the negligent driver.  If you or your loved ones have been involved in a motor vehicle accident in Florida, contact the West Palm Beach auto accident attorneys at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath today.