Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Car Wrecks
If you require the help of a Dallas uninsured motorist injury lawyer, please contact us at (972) 599 4100 and we will begin working on your case immediately. The Law Office of Doug Goyen provides aggressive, experienced, and powerful representation for car accident injury cases. Our track record of success in obtaining full settlements for our clients in auto accident injury claims is consistent and dependable.
Since 1997, the Law Office of Doug Goyen has represented Texans needing a Dallas uninsured motorist lawyer. In Attorney Goyen’s practice as an auto accident injury attorney, we have settled thousands of cases and recovered millions of dollars for our clients.
- Are you concerned about how your medical bills will be paid?
- Are you concerned that you won’t be able to afford the medical treatment you require for your injury?
- Are you concerned about lost work time and wages?
- Are you concerned about receiving the full settlement value of your auto accident personal injury claim?
- Are you concerned about finding a personal injury lawyer who can get you the compensation you deserve?
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you should contact the Law Office of Doug Goyen. We get results for our clients. We get you the money you need to pay your medical bills. We will assist you in locating a medical facility that can treat your injury. We get you the money you need to make up for lost wages. We get you the full amount of compensation you deserve for your injury case. Call us at (972) 599 4100 or use our website’s contact form.
Yes, if you were injured in an auto accident caused by an uninsured driver, you will need a lawyer to recover the full compensation you are owed in your case. Uninsured motorist cases typically include the following types of cases:
- Hit-and-run cases;
- People who were driving someone else’s vehicle without permission sometimes do not have insurance (but sometimes they do – depending on the facts of the case – your lawyer should be able to ask the right questions to verify if there is coverage or not);
- People who let their insurance lapse, or never got around to getting an insurance policy for their vehicle.
Hit-and-run car accidents: If you were injured by someone who committed a hit-and-run and has no identification for the person who fled the scene, you will most likely need to use your Uninsured Motorist Coverage. The police are sometimes able to locate the other driver. If the other vehicle has insurance, there should be coverage for the collision they caused. Sometimes the other driver will claim that they were not the one driving the vehicle and that it was stolen or taken without permission. If this occurs, they may not have coverage, and you will need to use your Uninsured Motorist Coverage.
If you were injured in an automobile accident and believe you may need to use your Uninsured Motorist Coverage to pay for your claim, you should hire a lawyer to assist you with your case. In this case, your insurance company steps into the shoes of the uninsured driver’s insurance, which they should have had. As a result, your insurance company will defend the other driver in terms of liability and damages.
Insurance companies will examine the evidence in the case to see if they can pin some or all of the blame on you, and if they can, they will be able to avoid paying your claim. They will look over your medical records and bills to see if they can attribute your injury to a preexisting condition.
Insurance companies will review the bills to see if you treated them unnecessarily or if your medical facility charged more than they should have charged and will deny portions of your claim based on their findings. An experienced Dallas uninsured motorist injury lawyer can assist you in pursuing your case and ensuring that you receive the appropriate amount of compensation for your claim.
You are not limited to seeing only doctors recommended by your auto insurance company. If you want, you can visit the medical professionals covered by your health insurance plan. If your deductibles and copays are too high and you will be unable to afford the treatment you require, you can inform your auto accident lawyer, who will provide you with a list of doctors who accept automobile injury cases.
These facilities will see patients on the basis of a letter of protection from your attorney’s office, which guarantees payment once the claim is resolved. That way, you won’t have to pay anything until your case is finished, and your attorney can deduct the amount owed to the doctors from any money received for those doctors. Please contact our office to discuss your case. We can assist you in determining which option is best for your specific situation.WHAT CAN I GET IN A CASE OF UNINSURED MOTORIST INJURY?
Your attorney can recover any amounts that they could have recovered from the uninsured motorist for your injury claim, up to the amount of uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage on your insurance policy. In Texas, the minimum amount of coverage available for this coverage is $30,000.00. However, your policy may be more expensive depending on what you purchased when you obtained your insurance policy. Punitive damages are not recoverable under your Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage because Texas automobile insurance policies prohibit you from recovering them.
Medical bills, pain and suffering, mental anguish, lost earnings, physical impairment, disfigurement, and other general and special damages related to your auto accident injury claim are all recoverable. Your auto accident lawyer will be able to go over your case with you and determine which claims you can make and what evidence you will need to present to prove your claim.
A driver may be uninsured for a variety of reasons, including failing to pay their premium, engaging in road rage, purchasing a new car and failing to notify their insurance company, allowing an excluded driver to operate their vehicle, failing to purchase insurance in the first place, unauthorized use of the vehicle, and many others…
It is estimated that between 14 and 15% of all Texas drivers do not have insurance coverage while driving. Furthermore, if you include those people who DO have insurance coverage but are violating the terms of their policy by missing a premium payment, committing an intentional act such as road rage and hitting another vehicle, forgetting to add a person or vehicle to their policy, allowing an excluded driver to operate their vehicle… This is especially upsetting if you were injured in the accident in question.
Uninsured motorist coverage is required. You don’t know if the person who hits you has insurance or adequate coverage to cover your claims. Check with your auto insurance company to ensure you have this critical coverage. If you do not have it, request that it be added.UNINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE
Uninsured Motorist Insurance is an important type of insurance that covers “you” for both bodily injury and property damage. Typically, the limits are comparable to your liability limits.
Uninsured Motorist Property Damage: If someone smashes your car in the parking lot and then flees without providing any information, your uninsured motorist property damage coverage will pay for the damage to your vehicle.
If someone causes an auto accident with your vehicle while it is occupied, injures the occupants, and then flees the scene, your uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage will step in to replace the hit and run driver (note: in a hit and run, you MUST report the hit and run to the police in order to use your uninsured motorist coverage).UNINSURED MOTORIST INSURANCE MUST BE PROVIDED
When you purchase a liability insurance policy for your car, your insurer is required to provide you with uninsured motorist coverage. In fact, if your insurance company claims that you do not have uninsured motorist coverage, they must have a copy of your signed written rejection of the uninsured motorist insurance, which shows that they offered you the coverage but that you declined it. If they can’t find a copy of the signed written rejection, you have uninsured motorist insurance (at the minimum limits), even though you never paid for it. This is very similar to the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) portion of your insurance policy, where a signed written rejection is also required for no coverage.WHEN THE UNINSURED DRIVER IS UNKNOWN, ACTUAL PHYSICAL CONTACT IS REQUIRED
If you file a claim for uninsured motorist insurance and the at-fault party is “unknown,” you must make “actual physical contact” in order to collect on your coverage. This occurs when a vehicle cuts you off and you swerve to avoid it, but you collide with something else in your attempt to avoid the other driver (avoiding contact with the unknown driver). In this case, you will be unable to collect uninsured motorist insurance unless you can obtain the identity of the person who caused the collision in the first place.LIMITS OF COVERAGE FOR UNINSURED MOTORISTS
Your insurer is required to provide you with at least the minimum limits of liability in uninsured motorist insurance coverage for auto accident injury claims, but your limits in uninsured motorist insurance cannot be increased to an amount greater than your liability limits under the liability portion of your auto insurance policy.
There is a $250 deductible for uninsured motorist insurance property damage claims. The insured has the option of selecting which coverage to use for property damage. For example, if you have collision insurance with a $500 deductible and uninsured motorist insurance with a $250 deductible, you can use your uninsured motorist coverage. However, if your collision coverage has a $100 deductible, you would most likely choose to use your collision coverage instead, which is legal.THE BURDEN OF PROOF IN THE CASE OF THE UNINSURED
If it is unclear whether the other driver is uninsured or not, the insurance company bears the burden of proving that the other driver is insured. If the insurance company is unable to prove that the other driver has insurance, you may file an uninsured motorist insurance claim.UNDERINSURED MOTORIST PROTECTION
If the other driver causes an auto accident but does not have enough insurance to cover all of your medical bills or other damage, you can file a claim for “Underinsured” Motorist Coverage for the amount that the other driver was underinsured for. For example, if your claim is worth exactly $40,000.00 and everyone agrees that this is the amount your claim is worth, and you file a claim against the other person’s insurance – if they only have $30,000.00 in coverage, that is all they will pay you. They will not pay more than the amount of coverage purchased. If you have Underinsured Motorist Coverage, it will pay the remaining $10,000.00 that you were shorted because the other driver was underinsured.
For one reason or another, approximately 15-20% of drivers on the road in Texas do not have auto insurance coverage (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). If you are in an automobile accident with one of these drivers, you MUST have Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage on your auto insurance policy. This coverage is intended to replace uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage if the driver does not have insurance. Auto insurance companies, like Personal Injury Protection, are required to provide you with this coverage.COVERAGE DIFFERENCES
If you have been injured in an automobile accident, you will have various types of insurance coverage that may or may not apply to your case. One of the reasons you need a Dallas auto accident lawyer is that you need someone who understands how these coverages work when to file claims, and how to file claims so that you don’t void your coverage and recover the full amount of your claim.
These are TWO separate and distinct types of insurance.
- Uninsured Motorist Coverage: This is intended to replace someone who has no insurance and was at fault in an automobile accident.
- Underinsured Motorist Coverage: This is for situations where the other driver has insurance but not enough to cover the entire claim.
The goal of uninsured motorist coverage is as follows:
- Replaces the uninsured motorist’s coverage, which they should have had. Its purpose is to put the insured person in the same situation as if the uninsured person had been properly insured.
- When purchasing an automobile insurance policy in Texas, Uninsured Motorist Coverage must be offered. If there is no coverage, a signed, written rejection of the coverage is required. The Texas Legislature mandated that this be made available in order to protect people from financial loss caused by irresponsible drivers – those who did not have insurance.
Most Texas auto policies include the following language in their uninsured motorist coverage:
We will pay any damages that a covered person is legally entitled to recover from the owner or operator of an uninsured motor vehicle as a result of bodily injury or property damage caused by an accident.
The term “Covered Person” refers to:
- You or any family member; (most courts have defined this as immediate family members – or people living in the same household as you – even if they are in someone else’s car).
- Any other person in your covered vehicle; (so if you have a friend riding in YOUR car and are hit by an uninsured motorist).
- Any person for damages that person is entitled to recover as a result of bodily injury sustained by a person described above.
Uninsured motorist coverage is available in the following forms:
1) Property Damage: A $250 deductible applies.
Means harm, destruction, or loss of use of:
- Your covered vehicle, excluding any temporary substitute (such as a rental car);
- Any property owned by a person listed in the “Covered Person” section; (You, your immediate family members, anyone else listed on the policy).
- Any property owned by you or a family member while contained in any auto not owned by you or a family member but being driven by you or a family member. (For example, if you were riding in someone else’s car and your laptop computer was destroyed.)
2) Physical Injuries: There is no deductible. Will pay for an injury to a covered person up to the limits of the insurance policy (whatever coverage you have purchased for Uninsured Motorist Coverage).
3) Uninsured Motorist: Is a land-based motor vehicle or trailer that has no liability bond or insurance at the time of the accident, or a hit-and-run accident in which the operator or owner cannot be identified, that hits you, a family member, a vehicle you or a family member are in, your covered auto, or in which the insurance company had coverage – but later denied coverage for some reason.
Uninsured Motorist – Hit and Run Coverage Requirements:
- Actual Physical Contact: between your vehicle and another vehicle is required (so if you swerve to avoid someone, then run into a pole, and you never make contact with any other vehicle, and the person who caused you to have to swerve drives away, this is not covered under the Uninsured Motorist Coverage).
- Police Report: In order to have Uninsured Motorist Coverage for a hit and run, most insurance policies require you to report the accident to the police.
Things Not Included:
- If you or your family members are injured and have a vehicle that you or they own or use on a regular basis but have not informed the insurance company about it, and you are injured while in that vehicle, they will not cover the loss (because they would have charged more or different premiums for that additional vehicle).
- If you are injured and hit by a governmental vehicle, even if that vehicle has immunity from suit (meaning you cannot recover from them under the law), you cannot recover under your uninsured motorist coverage because the government is not considered uninsured.
- If you are injured and are hit by something that runs on rails (such as a train) or crawler treads (like a construction backhoe).
- If you are injured by something designed primarily for off-road use and the accident occurs off-road. (For example, a three- or four-wheeler ATV hitting you or your vehicle on the beach).
- If your injury is caused by a vehicle designed to be a residence (such as a trailer home), while it is located or used as a trailer home (that is, while it is in the trailer park and not being driven around – and if something fell off the trailer home and injured you, you could not file an uninsured motorist claim because it was not being driven and was being used as a residence).
- If you are injured while driving your vehicle for a fee (such as using it as a taxi, or renting it out to someone to use). Because this coverage is designed for a personal policy, insurance companies do not want to cover your “work” (not a work policy).
- If an injury occurs as a result of someone taking the vehicle without permission. So, if your vehicle is stolen and the person who stole it is involved in an accident, the person who stole it cannot claim uninsured motorist coverage if the other person caused the accident.
- If an injury or accident occurs as a result of a deliberate act. If someone intentionally slams their car into yours, there is no uninsured motorist coverage (this makes sense when you consider that all liability insurance policies do not cover intentional acts, so since an uninsured motorist policy is intended to replace a liability policy, why would it provide coverage when the liability insurance would not have covered either).
Offsets for PIP:
Unless the claim is worth more than the available Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury coverage, the insurance company may “offset” the amount of their offer for your Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury settlement by the amount already paid under Personal Injury Protection. As an example: If you have $30,000.00 in coverage, your total claim is $15,000.00, and the insurance company has already paid you $2500 under PIP, they will owe you an additional $12,500 after applying the PIP offset. On the other hand, if you have $30,000 in coverage and your claim is worth $35,000, and your insurance has already paid you $2500 in PIP, then you get the full $30,000 in Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury coverage without any offset because allowing an offset would be unfair because you paid for both coverages, and your claim was worth more than both combined (in other words, there is no “double reimbursement”).
Other Uninsured Motorist Coverage: If you have two Uninsured Motorist Coverage policies that will cover you (for example, if you were a passenger in your friend’s car, your friend’s uninsured motorist coverage would cover you, as would your own uninsured motorist coverage on your own vehicle). The insurance policies state that they will pay their pro-rata share of the claim in that case. You have the right to file a claim against any policy you want, but the insurance company will usually ask the other insurance company to contribute a percentage based on the size of the policies available (on a pro-rata share). In this situation, you do not have two recoveries, but you do have an additional insurance policy, which basically increases the amount of coverage available – in case your claim is worth more than one of the uninsured motorist coverages.
Underinsured Motorist Protection:
Is coverage for you if the person who hit you does not have enough coverage to pay the full amount you have a legal right to recover from the person who caused the accident.
- Amount Payable: The amount payable under Underinsured Motorist Coverage is limited to the policy limits for Underinsured Motorist Coverage.
- Permission to Settle: If you intend to use your Underinsured Motorist Coverage, you must first obtain “permission” to settle from your Underinsured Motorist Insurance company before settling with the other person’s insurance company. In theory, this is so that they can run a check on the other side to ensure that they truly are underinsured and that you haven’t jeopardized any rights your insurance company may have to recover against other assets the underinsured motorist may have before you sign any releases that may restrict your insurance company’s rights.
If you have been injured by an uninsured motorist, or if you believe your injury may entitle you to recover for your underinsured motorist coverage, you should contact the Law Office of Doug Goyen to discuss your case with our Dallas car crash lawyer and ensure that your rights are protected and that you recover the full value of your case.IN AN UNINSURED MOTORIST INJURY CASE, HOW MUCH DOES A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY CHARGE?
Auto accident attorneys work on a contingency basis. This means you don’t have to pay anything upfront for the case. The lawyer will take a percentage of whatever they are able to recover for your injury claim. This aligns with the lawyer’s and your interests. The more the lawyer can do for you, the more the lawyer will be paid in the case. There is no fee unless and until you win.FREE CONSULTATION
If you or someone you know needs help from a Dallas uninsured motorist injury lawyer, call (972) 599 4100 for a free consultation and strategy session about your case. If you have been injured as a result of an uninsured motorist insurance claim, we would like to hear from you to see if there is a way for you to recover. The strategy session includes a summary of your case, identification of the legal issues involved in your case, and identification of those legal issues that will help maximize your recovery in your case. We will send you an email with a copy of this strategy session for your records. Call us right away.
Directions to our main North Dallas Office: (Click the following link for directions to our Addison office:
Law Office of Doug Goyen
15851 Dallas Pkwy #605
Addison, Texas 75001
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