When a Car or Motorcycle Accident Claim Exceeds Insurance Limits: Understanding Your Options

Accidents are unfortunate events that can have significant financial repercussions, especially when the costs exceed the insurance limits. Understanding what to do when a car or motorcycle accident claim surpasses the insurance coverage is crucial for protecting your financial well-being and getting back on your motorcycle.

Understanding Insurance Limits in South Carolina

In South Carolina, both car and motorcycle owners must adhere to specific minimum insurance requirements. Here’s a quick overview:

Car Insurance Requirements (Section 38-77-140, SC Code of Laws):

  • Bodily Injury Liability: $25,000 per person
  • Bodily Injury Liability: $50,000 per accident
  • Property Damage Liability: $25,000 per accident

Motorcycle Insurance Requirements (Section 38-77-140, SC Code of Laws):

  • Bodily Injury Liability: $25,000 per person
  • Bodily Injury Liability: $50,000 per accident
  • Property Damage Liability: $25,000 per accident

These requirements ensure that all vehicle owners maintain a minimum level of financial responsibility, providing a safety net in the event of an accident.

What Happens When a Claim Exceeds Insurance Limits?

When an accident occurs and the claim exceeds the insurance limits, several scenarios can unfold. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Personal Assets at Risk:

If you are at fault in an accident and the damages exceed your insurance coverage, the injured party may pursue your personal assets to cover the remaining costs. This can include savings, property, and other valuable assets.

  1. Umbrella Policies:

To safeguard against claims that exceed standard insurance limits, consider purchasing an umbrella policy. This type of insurance provides additional liability coverage beyond your primary policies, offering an extra layer of protection.

  1. Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage:

In cases where you are the injured party and the at-fault driver’s insurance is insufficient, your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage can help cover the costs. This coverage is particularly important for motorcyclists, who may face higher medical costs due to the nature of their vehicles.

  1. Legal Recourse:

If you are the injured party and the at-fault driver’s insurance is insufficient, you may need to pursue legal action to recover the remaining damages. Consulting with a knowledgeable attorney can help you navigate this complex process.

Special Considerations for Motorcyclists

Motorcyclists face unique challenges on the road, and accidents can be particularly devastating. Whether you’ve been in an accident with another motorcycle or a car, getting back on two wheels is a priority. Here are some specific considerations:

  1. Higher Medical Costs:

Motorcycle accidents often result in more severe injuries compared to car accidents. This can lead to higher medical bills, making it even more crucial to understand your insurance coverage and explore additional protection options.

  1. Motorcycle Repairs:

Getting your bike back on the road is essential. Ensure your insurance policy covers comprehensive and collision damages, not just liability. This can help with repair costs and getting you back on your hog as soon as possible.

  1. Emotional Impact:

An accident can be a traumatic experience. It’s important to take care of your mental health and seek support if needed. Remember, it’s not just about the financial recovery but also about getting back to enjoying the freedom of riding.

Steps to Take After an Accident

To ensure you are adequately protected and prepared to handle claims that exceed insurance limits, follow these steps after an accident:

Document the Scene:

  1. Take photos and gather evidence at the accident scene. This information will be crucial when filing a claim and seeking compensation.

Seek Medical Attention:

  1. Always prioritize your health. Get medical attention immediately, even if you feel fine. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent.

Notify Your Insurance Company:

  1. Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. Provide all necessary details and cooperate fully during their investigation.

Consult an Attorney:

  1. If the damages exceed the insurance limits, consult with an experienced attorney to explore your legal options and ensure your rights are protected.

Next Steps: Consult With An Attorney

Accidents that result in claims exceeding insurance limits can be financially devastating. Understanding the insurance requirements and knowing your options for additional coverage, such as umbrella policies and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, can provide crucial protection. If you find yourself in a situation where the insurance limits are insufficient, seeking legal advice is essential to navigate the complexities of the claims process and protect your financial future.

For more information or legal assistance regarding car or motorcycle accidents in South Carolina, contact Proffitt & Cox today for a free consultation. Our experienced attorneys are here to help you through every step of the process, so you can get back on your bike and enjoy the open road once again.

Ron Cox