If a settlement is not reached with the insurance company then the only option would be a suit against the driver. And that suit is the one to be heard by a jury and must be started before the deadline of the state. The insurance company will hire an attorney to defend the driver and they will pay whatever the decision is up to the limits of that driver's policy. If it exceeds the policy limits then the court would impose a judgement for the rest. And the rest may never be collected and just a number of paper.
Is the above correct?
How would the above change if there are 2 driver's sharing the liability of the accident and they each have their own policy limits. Would the limits of the two policies be added together to arrive at the maximum the insurance company would have to pay.
In theory, yes.
But there are too many variables involved to guarantee.
I know what you are thinking. Two policies - $25k each - you get $50k. Well, there's a lot of ways how that might not happen.
Here's one - You sue both drivers. The jury finds only one driver at fault but awards you $50,000. That second policy goes out the window because the second driver was absolved. The insurance company pays the policy limit of $25k on behalf of the at-fault driver and you get to figure out how to collect the rest from the at-fault driver, whose option is bankruptcy if necessary.
Here's another - You sue both drivers. The jury finds one driver 10% at fault and the other driver 90% at fault and awards $50,000. The policy on the 10% driver pays $5000. The policy on the 90% driver pays (you guessed it) $25k which is that policy's limits.
One more - right now the insurance company is allocating 50% fault to each driver. That doesn't mean you automatically get $50,000. Suppose you are offered only $30,000. You'll have to decide whether to take it or spend a year or two pursuing the lawsuit, if your lawyer will even want to file the suit. Personal injury lawyers don't want to litigate small claims (yes, yours is small in the grand scheme of things), they want a quick payday. If the lawyer can't convince you to settle for the $30,000 he may just withdraw rather than sue.