There is a great deal of confusion about the different types of liability claims and the insurance coverage that applies. People wonder why there was full medical coverage for their friend’s accident, while they are paying out of pocket for their doctor’s bills. People wonder why they can only collect $25,000 as compensation on their liability claim, even though they have catastrophic injuries, while somebody else collects $50,000 for much less serious injuries. We are going to solve this mystery for you, right here and right now, so you won’t keep asking your Queens, Bronx, Manhattan or Brooklyn personal injury attorney questions about this until the wee hours.
What is a Liability Claim?
A liability claim is a negligence claim. A negligence claim is a claim against a person or entity (business, city, etc.) that made a mistake that harmed you. Somebody didn’t drive properly, or they didn’t build something properly, and now you are suffering, and they are “liable” for your suffering, and have to pay you compensation for your loss. The first thing to understand is that this is a claim, not a right. Nobody is obligated to automatically pay anything, all you have is a right to make a claim. For example, if somebody crashes into your car, you have a right to claim that they caused the damage, but their insurance doesn’t have to immediately pay for your car or provide a rental car. For that type of service you need to purchase “collision insurance” from your own insurance company with specific provisions for a rental car, etc. Sometimes the insurance company will pay out money to you for your car quickly, but they don’t have to, and they are not going to get you a rental while your car is being fixed. So don’t get angry with your attorney when she tells you this! With clear facts like one car hitting another in the rear, these claims can sometimes be settled quickly, but liability claims can take a very long time when facts are disputed. An experienced Brooklyn personal injury attorney can get you the compensation you deserve for your liability claim, but it’s not going to be overnight.
What Are “Policy Limits?”
Policy limits are the maximum amount of money that an insurance company must pay out on a claim. We all understand that a life insurance policy for one million dollars will pay out two million dollars, but people find it confusing for other types of policies. It’s heartbreaking when somebody has a catastrophic injury and the policy limits are low, but it’s not the attorney’s fault. Every personal injury lawyer in NYC knows that the minimum state requirements for liability insurance for automobile drivers is 25/50, paying out a maximum $25,000 per person and $50,000 per incident. This means that the most that one claimant can collect from the insurance company is $25,000, no matter how bad the injuries are. Of course, it is possible to go to trial and get a much higher judgment against the offender, but as a practical matter it will be impossible to collect this judgment, so the policy limits really do dictate the maximum recovery. There are higher mandatory minimum insurance required on some types of commercial vehicles, such as 100/300 for taxis and limousines. If you are concerned about being injured by a driver with minimum policy limits, it’s possible to add “under insurance coverage” to your own policy to protect yourself.
Hire a Lawyer You Trust
If you have been seriously injured, your financial future may depend on your personal injury attorney. That’s why it’s important to hire a Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx or Brooklyn personal injury attorney with experience and a solid reputation. At Wittenstein & Wittenstein, we’ve been helping injured people for generations – it’s trust that brings our clients’ friends and family. Call us today for a free case review at 718-261-8114