PIP and UM/UIM Coverage
Types of Coverage in Automobile Injury Cases:
Automobile Liability Insurance, Uninsured Motorist Insurance, Personal Injury Protection (PIP), Medpay Insurance, Property Damage & Collision Coverages for Your Auto
Automobile Accident Insurance Coverages for Serious & Injury Wrecks
In our experience as Dallas automobile accident lawyers, important and often overlooked types of auto accident insurance coverage that actually protect you in an auto accident property damage situation and injury situation are:
Personal Injury Protection: Texas REQUIRES insurers to offer Personal Injury Protection (PIP). The only way you don't have Personal Injury Protection on your policy is if you signed a written rejection of the coverage with your auto insurance agent. Auto insurance companies typically offer $2500, $5000, or $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection coverage - theoretically they can write the coverage for whatever amount they want as long as its at least $2500 minimum. Personal Injury Protections is a no-fault first party injury - insurance, which means you can collect against this coverage regardless of the fault of the accident. The liability coverage of the driver of the other automobile who causes the accident will not pay you for your injury until you are ready to settle the entire claim. Therefor, you will need an insurance coverage that pays for your medical bills and lost income from your injury. Personal Injury Protection covers 80% of lost income due to your injury from the auto accident, medical bills due to your injury from the auto accident, reasonable household services like maid service if you are in a serious situation where you cannot care for yourself due your injury in an auto accident. This money can be utilized for your injury before your settlement with the other person's insurance company.
The theory behind allowing this type coverage for Personal Injury Protection is that the legislature knew that automobile liability insurance carriers for the "other driver" who caused the injury accident will delay paying anything until there is a settlement agreement made. This often can take months - insurance companies drag their heels in gathering paperwork and evidence of what they need to make you a settlement offer. Doctors don't want to wait that long to be paid and will start reporting your debt to credit services or taking judgments out against you for the treatment they gave you for your injury. Due to this problem, Texas instituted Personal Injury Protection in order to give injury victims some option for relief through their own insurance policy from these debts due to injury while waiting to settle their injury claim with the other at-fault driver's auto liability insurance carrier.
Contact your agent and make sure you have this important injury coverage on your insurance policy to protect you to cover your deductibles, copays, or times when your health insurance won't cover the medical bills claimed from your injury, or times when you are between health insurance coverages (like between jobs).
For the coverage you get, its not very expensive - add it as soon as possible to protect yourself if you suffer an automobile injury.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: Approximately 1/3 of the drivers out on the road in Texas do not have auto insurance coverage for one reason or another (never bought it in the first place, missed a payment, driving a car they purchased but forgot to add to their auto policy, allowing a driver who has been excluded from the auto policy to drive the vehicle). You MUST have Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage on your auto insurance policy if you have an automobile accident with one of these motorists. This coverage is designed to take the place of the uninsured/underinsured motorist's coverage if they had no insurance coverage. Like Personal Injury Protection, auto insurance companies are required to offer you this coverage.
Make sure you have adequate under-insured motorist coverage as well. Texas only requires that drivers carry $25,000.00 in liability coverage for property damage to another automobile. This means that a vast majority of drivers on the road only have $25,000.00 in auto liability coverage if they hit your car, since this is the minimum amount required, and is the cheapest rate, it is safe to assume, that this is the amount most people carry. This amount that the other driver likely carries with his auto insurance policy will not often cover a new automobile if yours is totaled by the other driver's negligence. This means that if you don't carry Underinsured Motorist coverage on your own automobile, you will be digging into your own pocket to pay for a loss caused by someone else. You MUST carry Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage to protect your vehicle in case the other person does not carry high enough limits.
Liability Coverage: Most people assume that they have adequate automobile liability insurance coverage if they purchase what is required under the law. This is simply not true in Texas today. The minimum auto liability coverage in Texas is 25/50/25, which means $25,000 per person for injury claims, up to $50,000 per incident for injury claims (so no matter how many people are hurt, they wont pay over $50,000 total for the claims. For example - if 5 people were all hurt with over $20,000 in medical bills each - they would likely just divide up to $10,000 for each person - only paying half of their medical bills for their injury), and $25,000 for property damage to an automobile regardless of the number of autos involved. If you are unfortunate enough to be the cause of an automobile accident, and that accident totals even 1 new vehicle, your minimum limits will not cover the entire loss. What will happen is the person you hit will be forced to use his own Underinsured Motorist coverage. Then that insurance company that paid under its Underinsured Motorist coverage will come back after YOU for what it paid. If you are unable to pay the insurance company back, they will file forms with the State of Texas to suspend your drivers license until you do pay the debt. They also can file liens against any property you own, including your house, which keeps you from being able to sell your home until the lien is paid off.
Be sure and check your auto liability limits for property damage and injury reasons, and purchase an adequate amount to protect yourself and your assets. Failure to do so can be devastating.
If you have an injury due to an auto accident in the Dallas / Fort Worth / North Texas area, call a Dallas automobile accident lawyer at (972) 599-4100 or CONTACT US ONLINE to help you navigate through your and anyone else' auto liability and other insurance coverage that may cover your injury claim.
Personal Injury Areas We Help With Are:
Auto Accident and Injury Cases, Personal Injury Cases, 18 Wheeler & Commercial Vehicle Injury Accident Cases, Motorcycle Accident and Injury Cases, Wrongful Death Cases, Pedestrian Injured by Automobile Cases, Slip and Fall & Premises Cases, Workplace & Constructions Injury Cases, Dog Bite Injury Cases, Bicyclers Hit by Automobile Cases .
By Doug Goyen, firstname.lastname@example.org