I was in a car wreck and was hurt bad. The other driver was driving a new car. I have been talking with the insurance company for the other driver. I asked how much insurance was on the car and the insurance adjuster would not tell me. I guess the other driver has lots of insurance because she was driving a new car, right?
Maybe. There is no way to know for sure how much insurance someone has just by looking at the type of car they are driving. It is reasonable to assume that a person who has a new car has enough money to purchase a responsible amount of liability insurance, but some people spend all of their money on their car and buy the minimum insurance they are required to have in Tennessee – $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident.
Because Tennessee has no formal way of insisting that insurance companies reveal how much insurance coverage they have until after a judgment is obtained, I often look at the type of car, the at-fault driver’s home, the at-fault driver’s job and other factors to make an educated guess about how much insurance is available. Sometimes my guess is right, sometimes my guess is wrong. At the end of the day, however, if my client has a case that is worth more than the offer the insurance company has given and has represented that no more insurance is available, I insist (with my client’s permission) that the insurance company prove that the at-fault driver has no more insurance applicable to the claim. The is accomplished by requiring a copy of the declarations page for the insurance policy and an affidavit from the insured stating that no additional insurance is available.