Automobile insurance laws in Texas require the owner of a vehicle to have a certain amount of liability insurance on the vehicle. Tex. Transp. Code § 601.051.Liability insurance provides compensation to another person in the event that you cause an accident and are found to be liable to that person for damages. The minimum amount of coverage required by law is$20,000.00 Tex. Transp. Code § 601.072,but you can purchase higher amounts of liability insurance in order to protect your personal assets against the risk of higher damages being awarded against you in the event you cause another serious injuries.
When Ardoin Law Firm P.C. represents a person who is injured in an accident, one of the first things we do is investigate all possible insurance coverage that is applicable. There are two categories of auto insurance - first party coverage and third party coverage. First party coverage covers you and your property (such as medical expenses, damage to your vehicle and the insurance company's duty to defend you in the event that you are sued as the result of your operation of a vehicle, etc.). Third party coverage is for your responsibility to pay for injury caused to other people (and vice versa), whether in your vehicle, or another vehicle involved in the accident. The coverage (and its exclusions) is set forth in your insurance policy. In exchange for the payment of a premium, the insurance company promises to provide compensation in the event of certain occurrences. Though a full recitation of insurance coverage and laws would occupy several large text volumes, the following is brief synopsis of the most typical coverage and issues. Among the varioustypes of insurance coverage which may apply are the following:
As stated, this type of insurance is required by law.(Tex. Transp. Code § 601.051.)The liability portion of an insurance policy is specifically for defending and settling any claims or paying any judgments rendered against the insured in an automobile negligence claim. If you are injured by the negligence of a defendant, we will make a claim under the bodily injury liability coverage of the negligent defendant's insurance policy. Liabilitycoverage is not health insurance, and it is not designed to pay for yourmedical bills as they are incurred. It is designed for a one timesettlement or payment for all of your damages. Liability insuranceminimums required by law in Texas are:
When purchasing automobile insurance foryourself, you may seek toinclude several additional type of coverageother than liabilityinsurance. One of these types of coverage iscalled medical paymentscoverage, which is not required by Texas law.
Medical payments coverage is a form of health coverage called byvariousterms, including "med-pay","personal injury protection (PIP);,or onoccasion "economic loss protection benefits". This coverage is available to the insured driver (the individual who holds the policy which includes med-pay coverage) and any passengers in the insured's vehicle for injuries sustained, regardless of the fault of the driver. It is important to note that the insurance policy of the negligent party does not pay med- pay or PIP benefits to an injured plaintiff. Thesebenefits are limited to the driver or passengers in the insuredvehicle,regardless of fault. The plaintiff looks to his owninsurance policyor the policy on the vehicle in which he was apassenger for med- pay orPIP benefits.
The amount of med-pay benefits which may be paid to any individual is determined by reference to the policy limit for this particular type of coverage, as stated in the insurance policy declarations sheet for the person who purchased the coverage.
Two other related types of voluntary coverage you can (and should)purchase are uninsured and underinsured motorist benefits. These typesof coverage protects you against a negligent defendant who illegallydoes not have liability insurance coverage or has minimum coverage thatis inadequate to fully compensate you for your injuries. If you areinvolved in an accident with an uninsured but negligent individual, wewould make a claim for you under your own uninsured motorist coverage.Your own insurance carrier would then have to pay any judgment which maybe rendered, up to the limits of the policy which you purchased.
If the person who caused the accident has liability insurance, but thepolicy limit of his or her liability insurance is less than theuninsured motorist coverage of your policy, we can make an additionalclaim under your own policy for what is called underinsured motoristbenefits, in the event that your damages exceed the limits of the otherparty's liability coverage. A complicated body of case law has evolveddealing with this type of benefit, and the experience of an attorneyfamiliar with these issues is important in order to obtain the maximumamount of recovery for you.
Collision coverage is a type of voluntarycoverage you can purchase which provides for the repair or replacementof your own vehicle after an accident, regardless of whether or not youare at fault. This is different than property liability insurancecoverage discussed above. An innocent victim of an accident may present aclaim for the property damage under his or her own collision coverageor under the negligent defendant's property damage liability insurancecoverage. Your own collision coverage normally includes a deductible,whereas property damage liability insurance coverage does not. In anautomobile accident case, after a claim has been paid under collisioncoverage, the insurance carrier who paid the claim may proceed againstthe property damage liability insurance carrier for the negligentdefendant to recover the amount paid out. This process is calledsubrogation, and does not affect your recovery.
In all automobile accident cases it is essential that measures be taken promptly to preserve evidence, investigate the accident in question, and to enable physicians or other expert witnesses to thoroughly evaluate any injuries. If you or a loved one is a victim of an automobile accident, call Ardoin Law Firm P.C. now at (281) 922-7500,or (888) 522-1968 toll free or CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT A SIMPLE CASE FORM.The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to accept your case, we will work on a contingent fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds. Don't delay! You may have a valid claim and be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires.