Many auto accident victims suffer serious injury and physical property damage that exceeds the limits of liability insurance policies held by at-fault drivers. This leaves them in a situation where it is necessary to pursue further avenues of revenue in being made financially whole after the insurance claim is paid. While this is not allowed in all states, North Carolina does have a legal process known as “excess verdict” authorizing additional legal action against negligent parties or even their insurance company when they have acted in bad faith.
Qualifying a Claim for Additional Litigation
There can be situations where an accident victim cannot sue for additional damages beyond insurance limits. One condition that cannot exist is settling a claim with an insurance company for less than a policy maximum. Accepting a settlement for less than the maximum could provide a defense for the respondent that the case is settled. Any further litigation is effectively being filed because the insurance coverage is not sufficient to cover all damages. These cases should go to trial for optimum outcome.
Crafting the Case
Most lawsuits for additional damages following an accident will be filed after an initial trial where all evidence is laid out for a jury that has made the determination of financial liability. Proving liability again is not necessary. However, proving that the negligent respondent still has outstanding financial obligations to the victim must be proven with documentation. This is typically accomplished through depositions from medical professionals treating the victim and their service providers when they need ongoing assistance or care in the aftermath. Car accident lawyers understand that many accident injuries linger for years in rehabilitation if they can even be healed, and many conditions last a lifetime or render the victim disabled. Cases are built with this in mind.
Multiple Vehicle Accidents
Accident cases where there are several vehicles involved with drivers who share in fault can also result in additional litigation for damages. Accidents involving commercial vehicles could also result in a lawsuit for vicarious responsibility by employers or contractors when a commercial truck is involved. These parties could potentially be required to pay additional damages to victims when they are partially responsible. Car accident lawyers can investigate these cases for additional liable parties who can be pursued for financial recovery, including punitive damages.
Vicarious Liability Claims
Vicarious liability cases filed against employers or other commercial actors are often very strongly defended. These cases typically hinge on specific issues that make the respondent party liable for additional damages based on problems arising for the claimant. Truck accident cases commonly result in the employing transportation company being sued as well, and many times truck accidents also occur because shipping contractors have loaded cargo unlawfully or carelessly. All of these parties may be sued for further damage payments when evidence of negligence exists, including auto manufacturers in some cases.
Punitive Damage Lawsuits
The standard auto accident case will include elements such as special damages for stated medical bills, lost wages when the victim cannot work due to the injuries, and general damages for long-term pain and suffering stemming from the accident. These are based on evidence of general negligence. There are also cases where the negligent party also exhibited “gross” negligence that could be the basis for a punitive award. These are not considered compensatory in nature because they are intended to punish the respondent negligent party, but they are still forms of additional compensation that can help make the victim financially whole after additional litigation. Punitive damage cases can be settled to avoid receiving a massive award from a sympathetic jury, but most car accident lawyers will still want to take the case to trial in hopes of as much compensation as possible.
Contact Our North Carolina Law Firm for Comprehensive Representation
Never leave financial compensation on the table when you have been injured in an auto accident. Serious injuries deserve serious legal action. Call our car accident lawyers today and let us help you maximize your accident compensation.