When you suffer injuries after a car accident with a negligent driver, it may feel overwhelming to consider how to obtain reimbursement for your medical bills and lost wages while you recover. You can’t be sure that the negligent driver’s insurance company will pay you, and you may wonder how to file a claim with your own insurance company. You need the assistance of an experienced car accident attorney to explain your options for insurance payments and to negotiate your settlements, so you receive the compensation you deserve.
Texas Is an At-Fault State
To determine the amount insurance companies might pay out in injury compensation, you need to understand the law in Texas regarding car accidents. Texas is an at-fault state, which means the negligent driver who caused your crash is responsible for fully compensating you for your injuries. You are entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, property damage and pain and suffering.
Insurance Coverage From the Negligent Driver
In Texas, motorists are required to have liability insurance if they drive a motor vehicle on Texas roads. If a negligent driver caused your wreck, he could have the following insurance coverages to pay what he owes you:
- Liability coverage. In Texas, drivers are required to have at least $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident in bodily injury liability insurance and $25,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage. If the negligent driver had this insurance, you could file a claim with his insurance company.
- Umbrella policy. Some drivers will purchase additional liability coverage above what is required under Texas law to more adequately protect them if they cause a wreck. You could obtain additional compensation from the negligent driver’s insurance company if he purchased this additional coverage.
Filing a Claim With Your Own Insurance Company
If the negligent driver only had the minimum bodily injury coverage of $30,000, the reality is that this may not come close to paying your medical bills. In order to be fully compensated for your injuries, you may need to file a claim with your own automobile insurance company for additional payments. Possible coverages you may have include:
- Personal injury protection (PIP). In Texas, you have $2,500 in PIP coverage under your own auto insurance policy unless you waived it in writing and could have additional coverage if you purchased it. You could file a claim to be paid for your medical bills and up to 80 percent of your wage losses, depending on the amount of coverage that you have. You are entitled to this payment regardless of who was at fault in causing the crash.
- MedPay. MedPay is an optional medical payment coverage that you may have purchased. Like with PIP coverage, you would be entitled to compensation regardless of who caused your accident. It could reimburse you for your medical expenses up to the policy coverage limits.
- Uninsured and Underinsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage is an optional coverage that protects you if the negligent driver had no insurance. Underinsured motorist coverage would pay you if the driver had insufficient coverage to fully compensate you, such as if he only purchased the minimum required insurance. If you have this coverage, you may receive a larger settlement from your own insurance company than from the negligent driver’s.
- Collision. If you financed the purchase of your vehicle, your lender probably requires you to carry collision coverage. This insurance can be used to reimburse you for the cost to repair or replace your vehicle. While you can file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company, it can be quicker to pursue a claim with your own insurance company.
Other Potential Liable Parties and Sources of Insurance Coverage
Especially if you suffered serious injuries, you need to pursue claims with all potentially liable parties who may also have insurance coverage to pay you for your losses. This will increase the chances that you will receive the full amount you are owed. Other possible liable parties include:
- Other negligent drivers involved in the accident
- Owner of the vehicle if the driver did not own the vehicle he was driving and was using it with the owner’s permission
- Municipality if a defective road condition contributed to the wreck
- Vehicle and parts manufacturer if a defective vehicle part caused your injuries
- Auto mechanic if a defective vehicle repair was the cause of a crash
- Employer if the negligent driver was working at the time he caused your wreck
Settlement of Your Claims Can Be Complex
Identifying all possible negligent parties and insurance sources can be time-consuming and complicated. Negotiating settlements with multiple insurance companies simultaneously requires skill and experience. Your own insurance company could deny or dispute your claim—especially if you suffered serious injuries.
Your attorney would begin by thoroughly investigating your accident and collecting documentation to prove the negligence of liable parties and the extent of your injuries. He would then send a demand package requesting a settlement of what you are owed to any negligent parties’ insurance companies and possibly your own insurance company. If negotiations with the insurance adjusters are not successful, he would file a lawsuit on your behalf.
If you were injured in a car accident, our experienced car accident attorneys are here to help you identify all liable parties and insurance coverages—including your own—that are available to compensate you for your injuries. Take advantage of our offer of a Complimentary Strategy Session to learn more about your legal options for recovery. Call our Bedford office today to schedule your appointment.