Houston Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Attorney
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Claims
There are over 4.1 million uninsured drivers on the road in the State of Texas according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. If you get into a car accident with one of those uninsured drivers and you do not have uninsured motorist coverage, the odds of you getting the money to cover your medical expenses and damages out of those uninsured drivers is very low. Texas homestead laws prevent you from taking away a persons home, car, tools of trade, and up to $60,000 in personal property that they choose, to pay a judgment they owe to you as a result of their causing injury to you in a car accident. Most people do not have enough assets to get over this protected level. Thus, if an uninsured driver hits you, you are often stuck looking to your own insurance.
Uninsured motorist insurance coverage is insurance coverage that you purchase to protect yourself and your family against drivers who have no insurance. If you do not have a significant amount of it, you are exposed to unnecessary risk. Uninsured motorist insurance coverage kicks in to cover losses from a car accident that you can prove are caused by another’s negligence when the negligent tortfeasor has no insurance at all. In order to recover under your uninsured motorist insurance policy, you must prove that an uninsured motorist caused you damages by his/her negligence and that he/she had no liability insurance to cover it. Furthermore you must prove the amount of those damages. As a result, it is very important that you retain an experienced uninsured motorist claim lawyer to represent you in these claims. At Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., our car accident lawyers are experienced in these kind of claims and we are here to help you.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM)
Current Texas law requires that drivers carry a minimum of only $30,000.00 per person and $60,000 per incident in liability insurance coverage. With today’s rising costs of medical care, $30,000.00 is often not enough to cover an injured victim’s damages who has been seriously injured in a car accident.
Underinsured motorist insurance coverage is similar but slightly different than uninsured motorist insurance coverage. The two are sold as one policy in Texas, but they do differ. Like uninsured motorist coverage, underinsured motorist coverage is insurance that you purchase to cover you and the occupants of your vehicle. However, it only kicks in to provide additional or supplemental insurance when a negligent driver hits you and has insurance but not enough to cover your damages. Again, to be entitled to recover, you must prove the amount of the damages done to you as a jury would award.
One thing you need to be aware of regarding underinsured motorist insurance coverage is that you must seek and obtain the permission to settle with the tortfeasor from the underinsured motorist insurance company before you settle your case and sign a release or you could waive your right to file a claim. This is just one of several mistakes you cannot afford to make in making your claim. At Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., our auto accident lawyers regularly handle these types of claims. The initial consultation is always free and there is no charge to you if there is no recovery.
The “Requirement” Of Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance Coverage
Texas law requires that insurance companies offer uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to all drivers. This is achieved by requiring that uninsured/under insured motorist insurance coverage be provided unless the policy holder specifically signs a waiver of this coverage. Many fly-by-night insurance companies will try to get you to sign that waive without fully explaining what it is. This is they way you protect yourself and your family so you should never waive this coverage.
Is Having Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage Enough?
Just because you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage does not mean that they will automatically pay when you are in an accident. Every policy contains coverage defenses. For example: Unnamed and under-aged persons maybe excluded from coverage. Also, when a vehicle runs you off the road but makes “no contact” you are not covered by uninsured motorist coverage. There are numerous reasons your own insurance policy may deny your claim. Remember, they are in the business of collecting premiums, not paying claims. Just because they are your own insurance company does not mean they will look out for your rights. You should speak to a personal injury lawyer who handles uninsured/underinsured motorist claims before speaking to any adjuster. More specifically, you should NEVER give a recorded statement to your own insurance company without your own lawyer present.
At Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. we handle numerous under insured and uninsured motorist insurance policy claims from the beginning all the way through trial. In this era when the insurance companies have such strong influence to draft laws and obtain court rulings that allow them to reduce your life to a ‘business decision,’ you need an experienced uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance claim lawyer on your side. Call us for a free consultation with one of our car accident lawyer’s today. Our attorneys are here to fight for you. There is no charge for the initial consultation. We work on contingency fee arrangements where there is no fee or expense to you unless we make a recovery.
Other information related to uninsured/underinsured motorist cases:
- So you think you have enough Underinsured Motorist Coverage? Think again.
- Texas laws pertaining to hit-and-run accidents
- The “No Contact Rule” explained