When another person's carelessness causes you to suffer an injury, one of the first things your lawyer will determine, is the available insurance. Your lawyer will most likely go after the insurance in a car accident case, rather than after the individual who caused the accident.
In the event that you suffer a significant injury, which might require costly surgery to correct, this will cost much more than the available insurance. You will only be able to recover the maximum amount available in the responsible party's insurance. In that event, it may not be worthwhile for your lawyer to represent you.
In rare cases, your personal injury attorney will go directly after the responsible person and his or her personal assets. If there is a large sum of available insurance, the lawyer will file a lawsuit and represent you in the accident case by going after the insurance policy. If the limits are insignificant, that is the highest amount he can obtain for you. However, lawyers will generally determine whether there is excess insurance, which is an additional level of insurance which supplements the basic policy.
It will require some investigation, over and above your initial consultation for your lawyer to find out whether there is excess insurance. In some cases, this information will not be available until the lawsuit is well underway. Therefore, the case will have to be initiated before the attorney can extract the required information from the responsible party, or from his or her attorneys.
When you're hiring a personal injury lawyer to represent you in your accident injury or medical negligence case, be sure to ask about how they will determine the available insurance. Find out how he or she will determine if excess insurance is available to cover your injuries.
Since your lawyer will be charging contingency fees (no win, no fee basis), he will also want to know that there is more insurance available than what you would require to pay your settlement. The lawyer will only be paid once the compensation settlement has been awarded by the court, and will, therefore, only represent you if he is confident that he can help you win your compensation claim.
In cases where the available insurance is insufficient in covering your injuries, you could ask your lawyer whether it would be worthwhile to pursue the responsible person's personal assets.