Are multi-million dollar auto accident judgments possible?

On Behalf of | Dec 1, 2021 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Traffic accidents may lead to lawsuits to address property damage or bodily injury. An insurance claim could protect a careless driver financially, but not every West Virginia vehicle collision cause “merely” a dented fender and whiplash. A driver and several passengers might lose their lives in a crash or suffer permanent disabilities. Victims may sue beyond the policy limits if the negligent driver’s policy limits are too low to cover the losses.

Multimillion-dollar accident claims exist

Court records indicate cases where persons liable for car crashes faced massive civil judgments in the tens of millions of dollars. Typically, the negligent party’s actions were so egregious that juries awarded significant punitive damages.

Several children could lose their lives if a drunk driver takes police on a high-speed chase and crashes into a school bus. The parents may seek significant damages upon discovering the intoxicated driver was someone of substantial wealth.

The driver or another negligent party may not need to be wealthy for victims to pursue millions of dollars in claims. A driver may operate a commercial vehicle under the employ or in partnership with a well-known company. The company could be worth billions, meaning it likely has the assets to cover millions of dollars in judgments.

Excess liability coverage and million-dollar claims

Excess liability coverage, also known as umbrella coverage, extends beyond a homeowner’s or auto liability policy limits. $1 million is usually the minimum amount for umbrella coverage, although the figure could be higher. An umbrella policy will exclude an initial dollar amount, commonly $300,000. With auto accidents that result in $700,000 in losses, an umbrella policy could provide a settlement that would otherwise come out of the negligent driver’s pocket.

Umbrella policies could make settling a caseless time-consuming than going to court. Of course, the settlement amount becomes contingent on the outcome of negotiations.

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