What to do if an at-fault driver’s minimum coverage is not enough to cover damages?

UPDATED: Apr 12, 2011

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What to do if an at-fault driver’s minimum coverage is not enough to cover damages?

Myself and another car were hit by a driver who had the minimum coverage in KY ($10,000). I was asked how the split was done and the adjuster told me it was a “pro rata situation”(which I’m not really clear on what that means). My car was totaled and worth less than the other victim’s car which had over $10,000 in damage. I’m worried that means I’ll get less than a 50/50 split. If I do get less than the total value of my car (which adjuster estimated at over 5k), what recourse do I have to get the money that I’m due?

Asked on April 12, 2011 under Accident Law, Kentucky


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, insurers only need to pay up to the total amount due under their policy, so the maximum the insurer needs to pay is $10k from what you write. Generally, when there are two or more claimants to proceeds, the insurer will usually pay each equally, until the total paid hits policy limits, though you should contact the adjuster again to seek clarity.

You may sue the at-fault driver for any uncovered losses--you are not limited to only taking what the insurer will give you. Of course, drivers who maintain minimum insurance often have few assets and little income as well, so it's possible that if you did sue, if the driver is pretty much insovlent, that even if you win the case, that you won't be able to collect anything. This is something to discuss with an attorney and weigh carefully.

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