Personal Injury Attorneys And Texas Uninsured Motorists
Our underinsured motorist attorneys can help when the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance or doesn't have enough insurance to cover your damages.
People understandably do not like to make injury claims on their own insurance when someone else causes a car wreck. But if you are in a car accident and the other driver has no insurance, or does not have enough insurance, then you may have to make a claim on your uninsured motorist coverage. Before you do, though, it pays to ensure the at fault driver and vehicle are truly uninsured.
Sometimes when the police report indicates there is no insurance our attorneys often find insurance coverage to pay for injuries and property damage. Our lawyers are familiar with auto insurance coverage and can review your case for free to explore if the at-fault driver is uninsured. Please call us for a free consultation and we can review the police report with you to see if there may be additional coverage not listed on the report. This topic is covered in more detail below, by Claire Tate Rehmet, one of our auto wreck lawyers.
If the other driver is uninsured or underinsured, then you must be aware that your insurance company is your adversary. Many people do not realize their insurance carrier is an adversary because of marketing campaigns that portray the auto insurance company as friendly, “good hands,” and there to protect you. Many people are surprised when their own carrier denies their injury claim or only offers to pay a fraction of what is fair. Uninsured motorist defenses are discussed in more detail below, where we discuss tactics used by the insurance carrier to deny or diminish claims.
How do your attorneys verify that a driver is uninsured when they cause a wreck in the state of Texas?
To find out if a driver who caused the wreck has no coverage, you must know about some language used in Texas auto insurance policies and a few things about the at-fault driver. Insurance coverage can be hard to understand, but on this page, we provide a simple explanation with examples to make it understandable.
My name is Claire Tate Rehmet, a personal injury attorney handling car wrecks in Texas for over 30 years. I will explain how our lawyers verify if the other driver is uninsured and how to tell if there may be a second or third policy. First, you must understand that insurance covers people (who are named on the policy) and cars (that are listed on the policy). Sometimes there is only one layer of insurance when a covered person is driving their covered car. If the driver, however, is borrowing someone else’s car, then there can be two opportunities to find insurance. This can lead to coverage when the police report says there is none.
For example, Anthony borrows a car from Bob. Bob does not have any insurance on the car and when Anthony is driving it, he hits you. The police report indicates that Anthony caused the wreck, that Bob owned the car, and the car was not insured. Remember- there are covered cars and covered people. Just because the car is not covered does not mean Anthony is not insured. If Anthony has an insurance policy which covers him to drive his car, then it will cover Anthony when he borrows Bob’s car. This is one example of how we find multiple layers of insurance to cover a wreck.
There are other ways to find insurance to cover a car accident and injuries. For instance, if the at fault driver was on the job, then his employer or his employer’s insurance may have liability for the wreck. In addition, we need to check for umbrella policies, and perform assets checks on any negligent party. We have forced at fault drivers to pay for injuries out of their own pocket.
Please call our office for a free consultation, and we can review your claim to determine if there is insurance to pay or if the driver has assets to compensate you for your injuries.
If the driver who caused the wreck has no insurance, how do I recover for my injuries and my property damage?
After our lawyers investigate to make sure there is no insurance, then we may have to file a claim on your own uninsured motorist coverage if you have it. In Texas, underinsured motorist coverage covers two scenarios: the first is when the other driver has no insurance at all, and the second is when the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance to pay for all the damages. Uninsured motorist coverage is not required in Texas, and you must pay an extra premium for the insurance. Uninsured motorist insurance covers you for your injuries and property damage. Usually, your insurance will assign an uninsured motorist adjuster to adjust your injury claim and a different property damage adjuster to handle your property damage claim. The property damage claim is usually resolved first, and your car is either totaled or repaired before your injury claim is resolved. If you retain our law firm, we will handle both the property damage claim (for free) and your bodily injury claim.
What does my uninsured motorist policy cover?
Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Texas Covers the following:
- Pain and Suffering
- Mental Anguish
- Medical Expenses
- Lost Wages
- Loss of Future Income
- Property Damage
How does uninsured motorist insurance work in Texas?
There are three things you should know about uninsured motorist claims in the State of Texas:
- The Texas Supreme Court has issued rulings that tend to allow the carrier to deny or diminish claims without penalty. There are, however, legal strategies to expose the uninsured motorist company to liability for wrongfully denying your claim. Please call us for a free consultation if you believe your injury claim has been wrongfully denied.
- Your own insurance company will assert defenses against your claim, including contributory negligence (saying you were at fault), blaming a third party for causing the wreck, refusing to pay a medical bill by asserting the charge is unreasonable, or asserting you were injured before the wreck happened.
You can potentially recover attorney fees incurred in pursuing your injury claim if we win and show that an award of attorney fees is fair under the circumstances of your case.
Areas We Serve
We have offices in McKinney, Texas and Sherman, TX. We serve all of Texas and Oklahoma.
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Why is my car insurance denying my claim? Why is my car insurance lowballing my injury claim?
Car insurance companies are motivated by profit. They will often refuse to pay adequate compensation unless they believe your case is going to cost them more money. People often want to talk to the adjuster about fairness, but the adjuster does not respond by offering fair compensation. They are not interested in paying the full value of the claim unless they are forced to do so. Our lawyers understand that the best way to get a fair offer is to expose the carrier to economic leverage.
While our lawyers do resolve some uninsured motorist claims without filing lawsuits, we frequently sue uninsured motorist carriers. If the carrier is denying or diminishing our client’s injury claim, suing the carrier may be the only recourse. The lawsuit exposes the carrier to a greater loss because we may be able to recover attorney fees in addition to your injury damages.
For example, if you have a $30,000.00 uninsured motorist policy, then the insurance carrier’s exposure is limited to $30,000.00 for your injury claim. The attorney’s fees are, however, paid separately which means you can recover the full $30,000.00 and your attorney fees are paid by the carrier. This means the insurance company is exposed to a greater loss than the policy limit. The threat of attorney fees is leverage in our negotiations with the insurance carrier about your injury claim.
Uninsured motorist carriers do not like to pay attorney fees and they are extremely difficult to recover. The threat of fees, however, is often enough to get a better offer.
Can I recover attorney fees in my uninsured motorist claim?
Under Texas law you can recover attorney fees if a judge determines it is fair to award them at the end of a trial. An award of attorney fees is left to the discretion of the judge who hears the case, which means they are not guaranteed.
Even if your case does not go to trial, the threat of attorney fees is useful in negotiating a resolution of an uninsured motorist injury claim. Our lawyers request attorney fees in every uninsured motorist lawsuit we file in Texas.
What are the pitfalls of making an uninsured/underinsured motorist claim without a lawyer?
Uninsured/underinsured motorist claims in Texas are complicated and require a close reading of your policy. Three important considerations are:
- You must obtain written consent from your underinsured carrier allowing you to settle with the at-fault driver before you release your claim. This is required under all Texas personal auto policies and if you fail to do so, your underinsured motorist carrier may deny your claim.
- All Texas uninsured/underinsured policies require you to cooperate with your insurance carrier. This means giving a recorded statement, among other things. Our lawyers will prepare you for this statement, reviewing the police report and other evidence in advance.
- Your underinsured motorist carrier gets an offset for payments you receive from other sources, like Personal Injury Protection and the other driver’s insurance. But if your damages are greater than the sum of the other driver’s insurance limit, your underinsured motorist coverage limit, and your Personal Injury Protection, then you can collect all the other driver’s insurance, your underinsured motorist insurance, and your Personal Injury Protection.
If you have questions about your underinsured/uninsured motorist claim, please contact our law office for a free consultation.