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What Happens When a Car Accident Claim Exceeds Insurance Limits?

Before you know it, a negligent driver can turn your whole world upside down. Car accidents, especially those that cause serious injury, disrupt your life in a way that few other events can. And although Rhode Island requires all drivers to carry auto liability insurance, the total amount of money you need after an accident could exceed the amount that insurance will cover. If this happens, you could get stuck paying out of pocket for your crash-related losses.

If you got hurt in a Rhode Island automobile accident, you could be entitled to compensation beyond what the other driver’s insurance policy will cover. Depending on the circumstances, you could seek compensation from other sources, such as your own insurance policies or even a lawsuit. The best way to evaluate your options and find the right path forward after a Rhode Island car accident is to speak with a knowledgeable injury lawyer.

When Rhode Islanders need a personal injury attorney, they look to the Law Offices of Ronald J. Resmini, Accident & Injury Lawyers, Ltd.. Our founder and principal attorney has worked tirelessly for five decades to fight for what is right and win big settlements for those injured by the wrongful behavior of others. Our law firm wants you to know that we are on your side, so we never require upfront payment or fees. We only get paid if and when we win money for you.

Contact us today at (401) 751-8855 for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help.

Insurance Laws in Rhode Island

Some states, like Florida and New York, are ‘no-fault’ states, meaning drivers must file their initial claims with their own insurance companies following an accident. Crash victims in no-fault states can only file insurance claims against other parties in certain circumstances. But in Rhode Island, drivers can file claims against at-fault parties without these restrictions.

Under Rhode Island law, drivers must carry insurance policies with at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, plus at least $25,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage. Unfortunately, many drivers carry only the minimum amounts of insurance coverage required by law, and the costs of medical bills and vehicle repairs after an accident can easily exceed those limits.

Car Accident Insurance Claims in Rhode Island

The vast majority of car accidents do not end up before a judge or in a courtroom. In general, the process is as follows:

  1. All parties involved in the accident exchange information.

  2. Those who sustained injuries in the accident file claims against the insurance policies of at-fault parties.

  3. Injury victims or their lawyers negotiate settlement payouts with insurance companies.

Even if you don’t expect your claim to exceed the other party’s insurance policy limit, it’s always a good idea to have an attorney represent you during the negotiation process. Having an attorney with you during negotiations reduces your chance of walking away with a lowball settlement. And if the insurance company refuses to negotiate in good faith, takes too long to respond to your inquiries, or resists paying you what you deserve, your lawyer can help you decide whether to take up the case in court.

Types of Compensation You Can Receive

You could receive compensation for much more than you might think from a car accident claim. Depending on the circumstances, you could be entitled to compensation for:

  • Medical bills

  • Therapy costs

  • Out-of-pocket expenses

  • Alternative transportation costs

  • Lost wages

  • Lost earning potential

  • Pain and suffering

  • Lost quality of life

Should I Sue Someone If My Claim Exceeds Insurance Limits?

It depends. Knowing the value of your case is the first step in deciding whether or not to sue. You might not immediately know if your claim will exceed the limit of the other driver and whether or not the insurance company will pay a reasonable amount. Additionally, you might have no way of knowing whether the other driver can afford to pay you what they owe, even if you win at trial. The good news is that Rhode Island law gives you three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit, which gives you time to contact a lawyer and explore your options.

Contact a Rhode Island Car Accident Attorney

After an accident, contact a Rhode Island car accident attorney at the Law Offices of Ronald J. Resmini, Accident & Injury Lawyers, Ltd. as soon as possible to discuss your situation. Our attorneys have extensive experience fighting for local accident victims, and we’re eager to help you get your life back on track. Call us today at (401) 751-8855 or fill out our website contact form to get started with your free case review.

Written By: Ronald J. Resmini

Last Updated : Wednesday, April 19, 2023