Can I sue the driver for damages over the policy limit?

Question: A drunk driver crashed into our car and totaled it.  His policy only has liability limits of $10,000, but the car is worth much more than that. We do not have collision coverage. Can we sue the driver for more than the policy limit?

Robert C. Slim’s Answer:  Yes you can, but just make sure you do not sign a full and final release or else you cannot sue the other driver. However, it may not do you any good. If the other driver had any assets worth collecting, he probably would have carried higher policy limits. You might try to get a judgment against him and wait to see if he comes into any money in the future.

You might also want to verify whether you had uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage (UM coverage) on your own auto insurance? This covers any excess damages over and above the liability limits of the at-fault party. Call your insurance company (not your agent) and ask if you have UM coverage. If they say you do not, then ask to see the written rejection of the coverage. In Texas, UM coverage must be rejected in writing.  If your insurance company cannot prove that you rejected the UM coverage in writing, then the coverage is automatically included in your policy even though you never paid any premiums for it.


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