Getting More Than Insurance Policy Limits


The question is usually, “Can I get the insurance company to pay more money than the insurance policy limit?” or “Can we go after the defendant’s house or other assets?”The answer is a definite maybe. Unfortunately, without getting into the facts of a particular case, it’s not possible to answer the question.
The insurance company can avoid additional liability by offering to pay the entire insurance policy. However, insurance companies often refuse to offer to pay the entire insurance policy. Sometimes, they will offer to pay the entire policy at the time of trial. If accepted, they will avoid having to pay more than the policy.
We know of a lawyer who recently accepted payment of a $100,000 policy at the start of a trial, four years after the accident, for the estate of a motorcyclist killed in an accident even though the lawyer won summary judgment which entitled the estate to 9% interest.
Accepting the settlement offer let the insurance company off the hook for what would have probably been a much larger verdict and would have included 9% interest. While the offer probably should have been accepted if offered soon after the accident, we would not have settled at the time of trial.
Sometimes, even at the time of trial, it may be beneficial to agree to cap liability. We just obtained a verdict of $465,000 for a knee injury but at the trial, we agreed to limit liability to the $300,000 policy, so that’s all we could get.
We agreed to limit liability in exchange for an agreement to argue the injuries by presenting the medical records to the jury instead of having doctors testify. The problem was that our client’s doctor lost his medical license just weeks before the trial when it was found that he lied on his license renewal application.
This would have allowed the defense attorney to ask, “Doctor, have you ever lied before?” The jury would also be instructed by the judge that if they found that any witness has lied, they would be allowed to discredit the testimony of that witness.
With the defense presenting three doctors to argue that there was no injury, it was obviously beneficial to avoid having our client’s doctor testify. It also saved our client $10,000 for the doctor’s testimony fee. Another benefit was that it prevented the defense from appealing the verdict and our client could get the money immediately.
An article in the next few months will discuss pursuing a judgment against the defendant’s house or other assets.
If you’re involved in an accident, call us immediately for a free consultation.
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Philip L. Frankel Esq. and Rob Plevy, Esq. are attorneys with FRANCKEL & PLEVY, LLP representing people hurt in motorcycle and other accidents. Disclaimer: This article should be considered advertising to represent people HURT in an accident; is for informational purposes and should not be relied upon because it could contain errors; the correct information may be different for your set of facts even though they seem similar; and is not legal advice which should only be obtained by contacting Phil Franckel, Esq. or Rob Plevy, Esq. for a free consultation to discuss your specific circumstances at 1-800-HURT-911.
See our web sites, and If you have been hurt in a motorcycle accident, speak directly to Phil Franckel 24/7 at 1-800-HURT-911 — 1-800-487-8911.