How Do Underinsured and Uninsured Motorist Claims Work?
An Accident Lawyer Explains What to Do If You Are the Victim of an Underinsured or Uninsured Motorist
Insurance agents work for insurance companies and are in the business of making money for their employer, not necessarily protecting you. That means even though you may purchase a “full coverage” car insurance policy, it may not cover as much as you think. Unfortunately, many people do not find this out until it is too late. This can leave victims and their families on the hook for property damage and medical bills they cannot afford following car accidents, such as hit and run crashes or wrecks involving uninsured or underinsured motorists.
Accident lawyer Mike Love and the legal team at Mike Love & Associates, LLC offer a wide array of services to help people make sure they truly have full coverage auto insurance and to assist people who are the victims of underinsured motorists.
Our East Texas law firm offers free car insurance policy reviews to drivers statewide before you get into an accident. Having an independent third party review your auto insurance coverage is one of the best decisions you can make for your and your family’s future. It will help you ensure that if you are ever in a car accident, you and your family will not be left to cover expenses, such as hospital bills and vehicle repairs or replacement, on your own, because your coverage will actually be full coverage.
Is Texas a No Fault State for Car Accident Insurance?
Generally, a no-fault state is a state where your insurance company covers your financial losses due to a car accident regardless of who was at fault for the wreck. Texas is not a no-fault state. Instead, in Texas, drivers must adhere to a fault system, which requires fault to be assigned in an auto accident, and that the at fault driver provide compensation to victims for property damage and medical expenses.
What Is Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance?
Uninsured and Underinsured motorist insurance (UM/UIM) provides compensation for your medical expenses and any vehicle/property damage you suffer as the result of a car accident caused by a driver without insurance or whose insurance coverage is not enough to cover your medical bills and other accident-related expenses. In many cases, medical costs and vehicle repairs can far exceed the compensation that minimum car insurance coverage provides to victims. If you do not have UM/UIM coverage, you and your family can be left without a way to afford expensive medical treatments that you need if you suffer a severe injury, such as a spinal cord injury or traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Do I Need Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
Most people need the financial assistance that car insurance provides in order to pay for the vehicle damage and medical expenses following a wreck. Recovering compensation from your own insurance company following wreck involving an underinsured or uninsured driver may be possible if you have UM/UIM coverage.
In fact, it is actually illegal for insurance companies to sell you a policy that does not include UM/UIM, unless you agree to reject the coverage. The car insurance market is competitive and insurance agents often look for any way they can to gain an edge on the competition, which, generally, means offering lower premiums than their competitors. As such, even though you may request full coverage, to get your business, insurance agents will sometimes gloss over the fact that they had you waive your UIM and PIP coverage to make the premium slightly lower than the competition.
Can I Just Sue the Uninsured Driver?
While it is possible to file a personal injury lawsuit against an uninsured driver and secure a judgment against him or her, if the person you sue cannot afford to pay the judgment, it is basically worthless. In fact, even if you sue someone who is a high earner, if he or she only owns exempt assets (house, car, 401K), the judgment may still be uncollectable. Unless you are suing someone with non-exempt assets, such as vacation homes, rental property, boats and the like, you may not be able to recover compensation if you receive a favorable judgment against him or her. The reality is that people who have non-exempt assets typically do carry car insurance.
Does Uninsured Motorist Cover Hit and Run?
Yes. If you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident, generally, your UIM insurance should provide coverage for your injuries and any vehicle and/or property damage related to the incident. However, your UM/UIM insurance will not pay your medical bills as they are incurred, in other words, you have to find your own means of paying for your medical treatment and then request the insurance company reimburse you once your treatment is complete.
Will I Need an Accident Lawyer for an Uninsured Motorist Claim in Texas?
Most likely, yes! Once you make a UM/UIM claim your insurance company acts as the at fault driver’s insurance. If they can come up with a reason that the accident was really your fault or an argument that the accident did not really hurt you, then they will refuse to pay for your damages and medical bills. This means your insurance company has a financial motive to start working against you from the moment you contact them about making an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim. You should speak to an experienced accident lawyer before you ever contact your insurance company.
Mike Love & Associates, LLC represents injury victims and families throughout Texas. We offer free auto insurance policy reviews, so you can know what coverage is available in the event you are the victim of an accident. In addition, if you or someone you love has been the victim of a car accident, you can speak to an experienced accident lawyer at our law firm for free. We will answer your questions, tell you whether you have a viable case and provide you with information about the best options for you and your family.
To set up a free consultation, just give us a call or submit your information to us through the online contact form on this page.