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What Happens When A Car Accident Exceeds Insurance Limits?

car accident attorney in Crystal, NV

With injured parties facing medical expenses on top of the stress caused by a collision, the potential for sliding into a financial pitfall is all too real when a car crash exceeds insurance limits.

So what happens when a car accident exceeds insurance limits, and is there anything those who are harmed can do to recover their losses?

Learn how to protect yourself with this in-depth learning resource that helps you confidently pursue justice with the help of a High Stakes Injury Law car accident attorney in Crystal, NV.

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What Do Car Insurance Policies Cover In AN Accident?

To understand what to do when auto insurance policies fail to meet the financial costs of an accident, it is essential to understand what exactly they cover. 

Car insurance policies typically include the following types of coverage:

  • Liability coverage protects against damages and injuries you cause to others in a car accident.
  • Collision coverage applies to damages from collisions with another car or object.
  • Comprehensive coverage protects against non-collision-related damages such as theft, fire, or natural disasters.
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP) helps pay for medical expenses and lost wages for you and your passengers, regardless of who is at fault in the accident.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage protects you if the other driver involved in the accident does not have insurance or does not have enough coverage to fully compensate for your damages.

Reviewing your policy with an experienced car accident lawyer to understand the limits of each type of coverage is vital to securing full compensation for damages.

How Much Is Auto Insurance Coverage For AN Accident?

Insurance Coverage

The amount of coverage provided by your auto insurance policy can vary depending on the type and amount of coverage you have. 

For example, in Nevada, minimum coverage policies that compensate you in an accident involving bodily injury or property damage are as follows:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury or death per person
  • $50,000 total for bodily injury or death per accident
  • $20,000 for property damage per accident

Unfortunately, the state has many optional policies that could provide additional compensation. However, their high cost means that many drivers may not have them.

What Car Accident Damages Typically Exceed Insurance Policy Coverage?


The majority of injuries from minor and severe auto accidents can easily exceed the minimum coverage limits in insurance policies. Consider the average cost of car accident injuries in Nevada to understand how easily these costs can add up:

  • Emergency medical treatment: Ambulance transport, paramedic care, and emergency room treatment typically exceed $7,000.
  • In-patient hospitalization: A severe injury can require a lengthy stay in a hospital, which costs an average of $2,800+ per day, not including medical treatment or specialist care.
  • Medical treatments and care: Common car accident injuries such as whiplash, broken bones, and soft tissue damage can require multiple follow-up appointments, physical therapy, and other treatments that can quickly add up to tens or hundreds of thousands in upfront and lifetime costs.
  • Catastrophic injury: Injuries resulting in permanent disability, head trauma, or spinal cord damage can require life-long care and expenses that typically total $100,000+ in upfront costs and $2+ million in lifetime care expenses.
  • Medical devices and equipment: Injuries such as amputation or paralysis may require the use of prosthetics, wheelchairs, or other devices that can cost tens of thousands each.
  • Home modifications: For those who suffer severe injuries, home modifications may be necessary for accessibility, such as widening doorways or installing ramps. These costs can easily exceed $10,000.
  • At-home care: Injuries that require long-term or permanent care may require in-home nursing or assistance, which can cost thousands of dollars per week.

Considering that the maximum coverage for the minimum car insurance policy in Nevada is only $50,000 for bodily injury per accident, it's clear that these costs can easily exceed the coverage provided.

Property Damage

The cost of repairing or replacing a vehicle after an accident can be significant, with the average price of auto repairs exceeding $4,000

While this may be within some policy limits, severe accidents such as rollovers or head-on collisions can total a vehicle, easily exceeding policy limits when it needs to be replaced.

Lost Wages and Diminished Earning Potential

Those who opt for Personal Injury Protection (PIP) may have coverage for lost wages due to injuries sustained in an auto accident.

Unfortunately, lost-wage coverage is typically a fraction of your actual income. It may not be enough to cover your typical salary when catastrophic injuries keep you out of work for months or years at a time.

Wrongful Death

Wrongful Death

In the tragic event of a car accident resulting in death, minimum coverage limits may not even come close to covering funeral expenses, lost income for dependents, and other damages. 

States such as Nevada typically only offer coverage of $50,000 for wrongful death per accident. While this may seem like plenty, consider the average costs associated with a wrongful death due to a car accident:

  • Funeral expenses: A basic funeral can cost upwards of $7,000.
  • Lost income for dependents: In cases where the deceased was the sole provider for a family, the loss of income can be significant and last for years or even decades.
  • Loss of companionship: The emotional toll and loss of support from losing a loved one cannot be measured in monetary terms. However, it is a factor to consider when determining coverage needs.

By the time your loved one is laid to rest, you could easily be facing hundreds of thousands in expenses that exceed minimum coverage limits.

How Can A Lawyer Help With Insurance Coverage After A Car Accident?

While insurance coverage is meant to protect you in the event of an accident, navigating the complex world of insurance policies and claims can be challenging. 

This is where a lawyer can help.

A car accident lawyer can review your insurance policy and determine if you have any additional coverage options that may not be immediately obvious. 

They can also negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to ensure that you receive fair compensation for any damages incurred in the accident.

In cases where damages exceed insurance policy limits, a lawyer can also help explore other avenues for compensation, such as filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver or their insurance company.

Understanding Car Accident Personal Injury Claims

A personal injury claim against an insurance company is a legal process by which an injured individual seeks compensation from the at-fault party for their damages, including but not limited to:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages and diminished earning potential
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property damage

It's important to note that personal injury claims are subject to a statute of limitations, which varies by state. 

In Nevada, you must file a personal injury claim within two years of the date of the accident; otherwise, you may forfeit your right to seek compensation.

While your lawyer fights for compensation from the at-fault driver's insurance company, the amount of money they help you receive from your own will prove vital in supporting your immediate needs while your case is resolved.

Understanding Car Accident Personal Injury Lawsuits

When insurance coverage from either party is not enough to cover accident-related damages, a personal injury lawsuit may be necessary. This involves taking legal action against the at-fault driver to seek compensation for damages.

Personal injury lawsuits are complex and involve extensive evidence gathering and legal proceedings. Having an experienced car accident lawyer by your side can significantly increase your chances of success in these types of cases.

Typically, a personal injury lawsuit involves:

  • Filing a complaint against the at-fault driver
  • Discovery phase, where both parties gather evidence and information related to the case
  • Negotiations or mediation to reach a settlement
  • Trial, if a settlement cannot be reached

This process can be lengthy, which highlights the importance of hiring aggressive personal injury lawyers who can negotiate maximum compensation with your insurance company while you wait for your case to be resolved.

How Can I Support A Case For Maximum Compensation From An Insurance Company?


While the legal aspects of negotiating a fair settlement with insurance companies should be left to experienced personal injury lawyers, there are a few things you can do to ensure your case is as strong as possible:

  • Seek medical attention immediately after the accident and follow all recommended treatment plans to ensure proper documentation of injuries.
  • Keep detailed records of all expenses related to the accident, including medical bills, lost wages, and property damage.
  • Take photos or videos of the accident scene and any injuries sustained.
  • Obtain a police report detailing the incident.
  • Refrain from discussing details of the accident with anyone other than your lawyer or insurance company representatives. This can prevent any statements from being used against you in negotiations.

By following these steps and seeking legal representation, you can support your personal injury claim or lawsuit and potentially secure maximum compensation for your damages.

What Happens When A Car Accident Exceeds Insurance Policy Limits FAQ

What happens if the at-fault driver doesn't have enough insurance to cover my damages?

When the at-fault driver's insurance policy is not enough to cover your damages, you may be able to file a claim with your own insurance company under uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This coverage is designed to protect you in situations where the other party does not have adequate insurance.

Can I sue for more than the other party's insurance policy limit?

Yes, if your damages exceed the other party's insurance policy limits, you may pursue additional compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. This allows you to seek compensation for all damages incurred, not just those covered by the insurance policy.

How long does a personal injury claim or lawsuit take?

The length of time it takes to resolve a personal injury claim or lawsuit varies depending on the complexity of the case and whether a settlement can be reached outside of court. In some cases, it may take months or even years to settle.

Should I accept the insurance company's initial settlement offer?

It is generally not advisable to accept the first settlement offer from an insurance company, as it may not fully cover all of your damages. It is essential to consult with a lawyer who can negotiate on your behalf for maximum compensation.

Can I handle an insurance claim on my own?

While you can technically handle an insurance claim on your own, it is highly recommended that you seek legal representation. An experienced car accident lawyer can advocate for your rights and navigate the complex legal process, ensuring that you receive fair compensation for your damages.

At High Stakes Law Firm, we understand that being involved in a car accident can be a traumatic and overwhelming experience. 

That's why we are dedicated to providing comprehensive and compassionate legal support to our clients, ensuring that they receive the compensation they deserve for their damages.

If you have been injured in a car accident where insurance coverage is not enough to fully compensate you for your damages, contact us today. 



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Clients' Stories

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  • Do I Have A Case?
  • Dealing With The Insurance Company
  • When a Lawsuit Is Filed
  • Overcoming Common Defense Themes
  • Special Considerations in Specific Types of Cases