Minimal auto insurance in Arizona

What are my options if the adverse driver has minimal auto insurance limits in Arizona after a car accident?

If you’re involved in a car accident in Arizona and the adverse driver has minimal auto insurance limits, it can complicate matters when it comes to recovering damages. In Arizona, the minimum liability insurance requirements for drivers are $25,000 for bodily injury per person, $50,000 for bodily injury per accident, and $15,000 for property damage. This does happen very frequently in Arizona. If the adverse driver’s insurance coverage is limited to these minimum amounts and your damages exceed those limits, you have a few options:

  1. File a Claim with Your Insurance: If you have your own auto insurance policy, you can file a claim with your insurance company. Depending on the coverage you have, your policy may include uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage, which could help compensate for your damages beyond the adverse driver’s insurance limits.
  2. Pursue a Personal Injury Lawsuit: If you’ve sustained significant injuries and your damages exceed the adverse driver’s insurance limits, you may choose to file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver. However, it’s important to consider whether the adverse driver has sufficient personal assets to cover your damages. Even if you obtain a favorable judgment, it may be challenging to recover the full amount awarded.
  3. Negotiate with the Adverse Driver’s Insurance Company: You can try negotiating with the adverse driver’s insurance company to obtain a higher settlement amount. This can be a complex process, and it may require presenting strong evidence of your damages and the adverse driver’s liability. Consulting with a personal injury attorney can be helpful in navigating this process.
  4. Seek Legal Advice: Consulting with a personal injury attorney experienced in handling car accident cases can provide valuable guidance. An attorney can assess the specifics of your situation, help determine the best course of action, and advocate for your rights. They can negotiate with insurance companies, explore additional sources of compensation, and represent your interests in court if necessary.

Remember that laws and regulations can change, so it’s important to consult with a legal professional who can provide up-to-date advice based on your specific circumstances.  You may also want to consider obtaining an umbrella policy an increasing your UM and UIM limits before a car accident.

What are the benefits of obtaining an umbrella policy in Arizona?

Obtaining an umbrella policy in Arizona, as in any other state, can provide several benefits. Here are some of the key advantages:

  1. Increased Liability Protection: An umbrella policy offers an additional layer of liability coverage beyond the limits provided by your underlying insurance policies, such as your homeowners, renters, or auto insurance. It helps protect your assets and future earnings in the event of a major liability claim or lawsuit.
  2. Comprehensive Coverage: Umbrella policies typically cover a wide range of liability risks, including bodily injury, property damage, personal injury, and slander. This broader coverage can protect you against a variety of potential risks and accidents.
  3. Legal Defense Costs: In the event of a covered claim or lawsuit, an umbrella policy typically covers your legal defense costs. Legal expenses can quickly add up, and having this coverage ensures that you can afford proper legal representation.
  4. Worldwide Coverage: Umbrella policies often provide coverage not only within the United States but also globally. This can be particularly useful if you frequently travel internationally or own property outside of Arizona.
  5. Affordable Coverage: Umbrella policies tend to be relatively affordable compared to the amount of coverage they provide. The cost of an umbrella policy is typically lower than increasing the liability limits on individual underlying policies.
  6. Peace of Mind: Knowing that you have an umbrella policy in place can give you peace of mind, as it offers an extra layer of protection against unforeseen events and significant liability claims. It helps safeguard your financial well-being and can protect your family’s assets and future.

It’s important to note that the specific benefits and coverage details of an umbrella policy can vary among insurance providers. It’s recommended to consult with an insurance professional or agent to understand the options available, the coverage limits, and any exclusions or specific terms and conditions that may apply in Arizona.

What happens if my jury award exceeds the policy limits of the adverse driver?

If your jury award exceeds the policy limits of the adverse driver, it can present certain challenges in terms of recovering the full amount of the award. Here are a few possible scenarios that could occur:

  1. Exhaustion of policy limits: The adverse driver’s insurance company will typically pay up to the policy limits to cover your damages. If your award exceeds those limits, the insurance company will pay the maximum amount specified in the policy, and you may need to seek additional avenues for recovering the remaining amount.
  2. Personal assets of the adverse driver: If the adverse driver has personal assets, such as savings, property, or investments, you may be able to pursue those assets to recover the excess amount. However, it’s important to note that if the driver’s policy limits are exhausted, they may not have significant personal assets to cover the additional amount.
  3. Negotiation with insurance company: Sometimes, if a jury award exceeds the policy limits and there is a risk of the adverse driver declaring bankruptcy, the insurance company may engage in negotiation to settle the case for an amount within the policy limits. This can help ensure you receive a substantial portion of the award without going through the lengthy process of pursuing personal assets.
  4. Seeking underinsured motorist coverage: If you have underinsured motorist coverage as part of your own insurance policy, you may be able to make a claim under that coverage to compensate for the excess amount. Underinsured motorist coverage is designed to protect you in situations where the at-fault driver’s insurance is insufficient to cover your damages.

It’s crucial to consult with an attorney who specializes in personal injury law to understand the specific laws and regulations in your jurisdiction, as they can vary. They can provide guidance on the best course of action based on the circumstances of your case and help you navigate the complexities involved in recovering the full amount of your jury award.