Can I Recover More Than The At Fault Driver Has For Insurance? What is an Excess Judgment?
The answer is "yes", but it's not easy. One scenario is the "excess judgment". For example, assume your Baltimore car accident case goes to trial, and you receive $40,000, and the defendant was insured for $30,000. The insurance company for the defendant pays the $30,000. But by the terms of the policy, that is the most they are obligated to pay. Who pays that extra $10,000? In most situations, the defendant does, but collecting that $10,000 may be extremely difficult. The reality may well be that nobody pays it. You may have piece of paper that says the defendant owes you an extra $10,000, but unless that person has assets you can levy on, or a consistent paycheck from a known employer that you can garnish, this may be unlikely to occur. Collections from individuals above the limits of their policy [ or collections from individuals who lack insurance altogether] is a frustrating, time-consuming venture that is often one that does not pay off.
Another option would be, upon a showing that the insurance company negligently failed to provide a defense, or settle the claim within the limits of the policy, that the insurance company becomes liable for the excess.
Seasoned Baltimore personal injury lawyers are well aware that although this claim belongs to the insured defendant, and not to the victims, there are ways to obtain the right to sue the insurer directly. This is a sophisticated claim, that requires extensive foundational groundwork. A knowledgeable personal injury attorney is likely needed to successfully pursue this type of action.
-This Article was updated by Eric Kirk on 10/4/19.