What are insurance policy limits?
Tennessee, like most states, requires that every automobile owner carry a minimum amount of motor vehicle insurance. After an accident, a driver’s coverage can compensate a victim for medical expenses and other losses. However, insurance policies have critical limitations: if the at-fault motorist had low or inadequate policy limits, an insurance settlement may not provide adequate benefits.
Insurance Policy Limits and Tennessee State Law
Tennessee has a fault-based insurance system. Under the Volunteer State’s liability laws, the person who caused an accident is generally responsible for paying the costs of a collision.
Since most people can’t afford to pay thousands of dollars in damages out-of-pocket, the state legislature has mandated that motor vehicle owners purchase insurance policies as a form of financial liability protection. However, insurance policies often differ in their characteristics and coverages. In general, most policies have limits, which define the maximum amount of compensation an insurer pays after an accident.
State law requires that all registered vehicles have insurance with the following minimum policy limits:
- $25,000 for each injury or death per accident
- $50,000 for total injuries or death per accident
- $25,000 for property damage per accident
While these limits may be sufficient to compensate for minor to moderate injuries, they often fall short for more severe accidents.
Securing Compensation Above a Policy’s Limits
Many motorists purchase additional coverage beyond Tennessee’s minimum requirements. However, insurance companies are fundamentally for-profit enterprises. Even if you have a compelling claim that fits within the policy’s limits, there’s no guarantee that an adjuster will write a check for the required amount.
When an insurance policy provides insufficient benefits after an accident, you may feel you have no choice but to accept an inadequate settlement. However, you might have additional options. You could:
Ask Your Own Car Insurance Company for Assistance
You may ask your vehicle insurer to provide benefits if the other motorist’s policy can’t compensate for your damages. However, state law typically requires you to exhaust the other driver’s limits before collecting compensation from your carrier.
Explore Your Extended Coverages
If you purchased additional insurance products or extended coverages, these policy additions could be used to reduce your overall out-of-pocket losses.
File a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Tennessee state law allows accident victims to file a personal injury lawsuit against the person or party who caused their injuries. Depending on the circumstances of your car crash, you may be able to file a claim against any of the following entities:
- The at-fault motorist who caused your collision
- A negligent business or contractor
- A government agency
- An automotive parts maker
- An automobile manufacturer
A personal injury lawsuit allows accident victims to recover the totality of their car crash-related expenses. However, taking an insurance company, government contractor, or automobile maker to court could present unexpected challenges, and you must be prepared to provide evidence of the defendant’s misconduct.
Your Potential Damages After a Tennessee Car Crash
Currently, Tennessee doesn’t cap the damages available to most personal injury claimants. You could receive compensation for damages including, but not limited to:
- Your past, present, and anticipated medical expenses
- Physical therapy
- Prescription medication
- Paid co-pays and deductibles
- Reconstructive surgery
- Lost income from work
- Diminished earning potential
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment
- Wrongful death
However, you still must take fast action: Tennessee, like most states, has a strict statute of limitations applicable to all car accident claims. If you wait too long to contact an experienced automobile accident attorney, you could lose your rights to the financial recovery you deserve.
Contact an Experienced Tennessee Car Crash Lawyer Today
Insurance companies have business practices that seem to hinder their adjusters to negotiate in good faith. However, you don’t have to place your physical health and mental wellbeing in their hands.
Weir & Kestner Injury Attorneys have spent years aggressively defending the rights of accident victims across Tennessee. We could help you investigate the causes of your car crash, collect the evidence needed to demonstrate a wrongdoer’s fault, and negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company. Please send us a message online or call us at 615-220-4180 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation as soon as possible.
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