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Handling Car Accident Claims Beyond Insurance Coverage Limits

Seth Harris

Last modified on February 1, 2024

Navigating Beyond Limits_ What To Do When Car Accident Claims Exceed Insurance Coverage

When the dust settles after a car accident and you realize the other driver’s insurance won’t cut it, you might feel stuck. But you may have more options than you think for recovering the full extent of your accident-related losses. The New York car accident attorneys at Harris, Keenan & Goldfarb have extensive experience with cases involving car accident claims exceeding insurance limits. We know the ins and outs of the legal system and can uncover additional opportunities to maximize your compensation.

Why Do Auto Insurance Policies Have Limits?

Insurance policies have limits to manage risk and keep premiums affordable for everyone. Think of it like this: an insurance company pools money from all its customers. They use the money from this pool to pay claims when accidents happen. If they did not place limits on their policies, the company might have to pay out huge amounts for some claims, draining the pool quickly. To prevent this, they set a maximum amount they’ll pay for any single accident. This way, the company can ensure there’s enough money to go around for all customers when they need help.

Minimum Auto Insurance Requirements in New York

All auto insurance policies in New York must include certain minimum coverage amounts. According to the New York Department of Financial Services, those minimum coverage amounts are:

  • No-Fault Coverage – All New York car insurance policies must include $50,000 in no-fault Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits. PIP benefits cover your basic needs after a crash without having to prove another driver caused you injuries and is your first option for recovering compensation. This coverage pays for your medical bills after a crash and 80 percent of your missed wages, up to a maximum of $2,000 per month.
  • Liability Coverage – Liability coverage pays for any injuries and property damage you cause in your car or another car you drive with the owner’s permission. The New York DMV says the minimum liability coverage amounts are $10,000 in property damage coverage, $50,000 in injury coverage for one injury or death in a crash, and $100,000 in injury coverage for multiple injuries or deaths in a single collision. So, anyone with a valid New York auto insurance policy has at least this much in coverage to pay for your injuries after a crash.
  • Uninsured motorist coverage – Uninsured motorist coverage pays for your injuries and other losses in a crash with an uninsured driver. Your uninsured motorist coverage must meet the same minimum amounts for liability coverage as your liability coverage. Unlike some states, New York does not allow you to forego uninsured motorist coverage.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage vs. Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM)

Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) helps cover your injuries from an accident if the driver’s insurance policy does not meet state requirements or is not enough to cover your injuries. While New York law requires all auto insurance policies issued in the state to include uninsured motorist coverage, the same rule does not apply to underinsured motorist coverage. However, most auto insurers offer UIM coverage along with uninsured motorist coverage, so it’s a good idea to include it with your policy if you can afford it.

Suing for Damages Beyond Insurance Limits

car insurance policy document with the terms and conditions of the policyThere are several ways to seek additional compensation after an accident if your no-fault coverage and the at-fault driver’s policy won’t cover all your losses. Those options include:

  • Umbrella insurance policies for car accidents – Some auto insurance policies include supplemental coverage in case the losses from a car accident exceed the limits of the standard policy. In the insurance industry, these supplemental policies are called “umbrella policies.” So, if the other driver has an umbrella insurance policy, you can file an additional claim against them under this policy.
  • Suing the at-fault driver directly – Even if the at-fault driver’s insurance policy pays for your losses up to the limit of their policy, you can sue the other driver directly for additional compensation. However, your chances of recovering additional compensation depend on the driver’s available assets, so there’s no guarantee that you can recover anything else.
  • Underinsured motorist coverage – If your auto insurance policy includes underinsured motorist coverage, you can file a claim with your insurer and seek compensation that way. Your insurance company will provide additional compensation up to your policy’s limits.

How to Successfully Dispute Fault in a Car Accident

Contact Our New York Car Accident Lawyers Today

If you’re facing the challenge of a car accident claim exceeding your insurance limits and struggling to pay all your bills, the New York car accident attorneys at Harris, Keenan & Goldfarb want to help. Our team can evaluate your potential options, take care of filing a claim against the other driver or with your insurance company, and handle all the legal details of your case while you rest and heal. Call us today at 800-PAIN-LAW or complete our contact form for a free consultation.

Over $500 Million in Verdicts and Settlements

Our track record showcases over $500 million won for our clients. Each victory underlines our commitment to justice and client care. Explore our impact, case by case.



A Brooklyn jury awarded Mr. Vargas $17.5 million for the City of New York’s violation of his civil rights for failing to provide him medical care while in custody. The jury found that the police officers involved failed to provide the necessary medical treatment and awarded $17.5 million to Mr. Vargas.



Harris Keenan & Goldfarb partners Seth Harris and Sheri Holland obtained a $4,730,398.00 jury verdict on behalf of our client who tripped and fell at a private apartment building in the Bronx, suffering a broken foot that developed a very painful, permanent neurological condition called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (“RSD”).



A Bronx jury awarded John Doe over $12 million for an accident on a construction site. John Doe was working when a piece of scaffold weighing 35 pounds fell, striking John Doe in the lower back. John Doe suffered a herniated disc requiring surgical removal of a portion of the disc and permanent nerve damage.



A Bronx jury awarded $10.5 million to the mother of Malcolm Ferguson, who was wrongfully shot and killed by the New York City Police Department. The police officer, Louis Rivera, also a defendant in the case, was found to have used excessive force in violation of Malcolm Ferguson’s civil rights as protected under the United States Constitution.



A Bronx jury awarded plaintiff William Cardoza $4 million for injuries caused by the use of excessive force during an arrest. During the arrest, Mr. Cardoza was pepper-sprayed and repeatedly hit with a police nightstick. As a result, Mr. Cardoza sustained injuries to his hand and finger.



The firm’s client, a 33-year-old teacher’s assistant, was scalded by an espresso machine that exploded while the defendant’s employee was demonstrating how the machine worked. The client was a customer at the defendant’s coffee shop on the date of the accident and suffered first-degree burns to her right (dominant) hand.



The firm represented the mother- decedent and her infant son. During the decedent’s admission to the defendant hospital, the defendant dispensed anesthesia during an epidural to the decedent in an inadequate manner. The mother-decedent suffered personal injuries and wrongful death due to the defendant’s failure to properly administer epidural anesthesia.



Mr.Brennan fell from approximately 25 feet while working on a construction project. He suffered a shattered bone in his right leg requiring surgery and hardware placement. Mr. Brennan also suffered two fractures in his facial bones, and a dislocated finger requiring surgical repair.



The firm’s client was a child with cerebral palsy who was injured as a result of medical malpractice. The firm’s clients claimed improper management of pregnancy, labor, and delivery resulting in brain damage, and received a Brooklyn personal injury settlement.



The firm’s client, a 63-year-old mentally incompetent man, slipped and fell in his own urine while attempting to walk to the bathroom at the defendant’s senior citizen home. The client fractured his hip and as a result is confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. The client claimed that the staff of the home failed to properly care for him, and the jury awarded $1,677,835.



The firm’s client, a 47-year-old male, slipped and fell on a public sidewalk in the Bronx. It had snowed four to five days prior to the date of the accident, and the sidewalk was covered with ice. The client suffered a lumbar fracture and a herniated disc. The jury found the city liable and awarded the client a $2,995,000 personal injury settlement in the Bronx.



A Bronx jury awarded plaintiff Luis Molina $2.61 million for injuries sustained when he fell down a subway station stairway. Mr. Molina was caused to slip and fall as a result of a plastic bag that had blown onto the steps from a street opening. As a result of the fall, Mr. Molina suffered a herniated disc and a tear of his right shoulder’s rotator cuff. The jury found that the NYC Transit Authority was liable for the accident.



A Bronx jury awarded Ms. Colon $2.25 million for a trip and fall accident. Ms. Colon was caused to fall when she moved to the right to allow another pedestrian to pass, and her foot rolled to the outside due to the sidewalk being unlevel with the adjoining grass. The jury found the defendant liable and awarded Ms. Colon $2,253,714.00 for her pain and suffering.



A Brooklyn jury awarded Arvella Floyd $1.9 million for a fractured wrist which required multiple surgeries, including an open-reduction internal fixation and a carpal tunnel release. Ms. Floyd was injured when the hot water knob of the shower fell off after numerous complaints to the superintendent, and scalding water spewed toward her, causing her to
fall and break her wrist.



A Bronx jury awarded plaintiff Juanita Young $1,350,000 for injuries caused by the use of excessive force during an arrest. During the arrest, Ms. Young, who is legally blind, was handcuffed from behind, with her children watching, and taken to the top of the stairs to exit the building. The officer proceeded to push her down the stairs multiple times.

What our clients have to say

I am not a client. Just a commuter. What is your advertisement? Fire your marketing manager asap. “Yo, pain law, yo” what is that? 1 start for horrible marketing. Sorry. Job you do is serious and isn’t a joke.
david Santiagodavid Santiago
18:05 21 Mar 24
Maria RoqueMaria Roque
20:49 15 Mar 24
Excellent person, very Professional, they assist you in any language, your call is always answered. I recommend you for any case of support you have, your refund is satisfactory. and fast
14:09 02 Mar 24
I am completely satisfied, and recommend Harris Keenan & Goldfarb as Attorneys to represent anyone. Their care for me physically, and overall helped me stay strong in spite of my injuries. Always available to answer questions, and inform.They got me Justice, and achieved a substantial outcome for my case.I am very impressed, and thankful for their outstanding performance on my behalf.I am very pleased, and significantly satisfied with their representation.‐-Sherylon Wilkins
Robert LennonRobert Lennon
15:26 21 Feb 24
Patient and diligence is how I describe the effort of HKG the work was thorough, honest and fair, I have no complaints. Special thanks to attorney Blake and his paralegal Thierry.
Gene Matos (fanboye)Gene Matos (fanboye)
18:48 15 Jan 24
I first crossed paths with Seth Harris when serving jury duty many years ago. He was so professional and personable, that when my mom was seeking legal counsel for medical malpractice, I told her she had to reach out to his firm. We had meetings with a few different firms, but Harris Keenan & Goldfarb was the only firm that did not try to get us to sign paperwork before even meeting. They took the time to listen and understand our situation before we signed anything, and they were transparent and responsive the whole time. I would like to give special thanks to Samantha Walton, Marla Stein, Val Wallace and Seth Harris for helping my mom through this tough time. They were honest and upfront, and even though Seth Harris wasn't personally on the case, he took the time to meet with us and give us his thoughts on it.
Solange IsaacSolange Isaac
17:52 08 Jan 24
I am pleased with the services provided by Ms Sheri on my case. The team at Harris, Keenan, & Goldfarb were very nice and explained everything to me. Everything that I had questions on they answered without frustration and were prompt and knowledgeable.6 years ago I had a slip and fall accident at my employers place of business. I reached out to them because I knew that I was being wrongfully treated. They took care of the case, restored my self confidence, and brought so much peace to my problem riddled life.I can recommend without a shadow of a doubt the services of Harris, Keenan & Goldfarb to anyone who is in need of someone who will have your back!
Brittany DempseyBrittany Dempsey
16:02 08 Jan 24
My mother had an accident with her ankle back in 2019. I immediately contacted Harris, Keenan & Goldfarb on the day of the accident. They were extremely prompt and helpful. They attended to my mother's case beautifully and she's been recovering well. I'd like to thank you for being so diligent, kind and above all professional. I'd recommend this law firm to anyone who are injured and in need of legal assistance. My mother, Andrea, and I thank you for everything.
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