Who Actually Pays in a Successful Personal Injury Lawsuit?

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i-classactionsYou probably already know that if you are injured in an accident that was caused by someone else, you have the option to file a lawsuit against that person to cover medical bills and other costs. You’ve probably heard some success stories about people who have gotten large sums of money after a settlement or trial verdict. But you may not know exactly who cuts those checks after a successful personal injury lawsuit. A lawsuit is filed against an individual, usually the one person who is responsible for your accident, but it is rarely that person who actually pays. Usually, it’s an insurance company.

Insurance and Personal Injury Lawsuits

Almost every personal injury case involves some kind of insurance. Think of an accident that could cause personal injury. Unless it is an actual crime (like assault), there’s almost certainly some sort of insurance to cover the person responsible. Car accident cases involve car insurance. Slip and fall injuries are usually covered under premises liability, which is part of homeowners insurance (or commercial property insurance, if you were hurt at a business or restaurant). Medical negligence injuries go with medical malpractice insurance. Work injuries are covered under workers comp insurance. Even dog bites are included in homeowners insurance.

Generally, some kind of insurance will pay any personal liability settlements or judgments against the policyholder. Of course, it’s rarely as simple as that. For example, insurance companies will only pay up to the limits of the policy. This means that if you are awarded $100,000 in damages after a car accident, but the person who hit you only has $75,000 of car insurance, the insurance company is only going to pay you the $75,000. You may be able to collect the rest directly from the person responsible for the accident, but that can sometimes be as difficult as collecting from a person without insurance.

When a person causes an accident of any kind and has no insurance (such as if you are hit by an uninsured driver), it can be very difficult to get any kind of money from filing a personal injury case against him or her. Even if you can get a judgment against an uninsured person, if that person has no job, savings or assets that could be sold, they literally have no way to pay you. Lawyers refer to cases like this as “judgment proof” because, unless that person’s financial situation changes radically, they will never be able to pay.

Our personal injury attorneys can answer any questions you may have about a personal injury lawsuit in a free case review. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation. The information provided by Walton Telken, LLC in this Blog is not intended to be legal advice, but merely provides general information related to common legal issues. This Blog, and the information contained within it, is Attorney Advertisement. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Past results afford no guarantee of future results. Every case is different and must be judged on its own merits.

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