Uninsured Motorist Attorney

Texas requires insurers who sell Texas Auto Insurance Policies to offer customers Personal injury protection (PIP) and uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage at the time the auto policy is sold.  If the insurer (or its agent) is unable to produce evidence that the coverages were offered at the time of the sale, then the insurer is required by law to include the coverages in the policies.

Since Texas has this requirement, it would make sense that these coverages are important to Texas drivers.

Personal injury protection (PIP) and uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage

Personal injury protection (PIP) is no fault insurance coverage that provides benefits (up to the amount of coverage that is sold – typically in $2,500 increments not exceeding $10,000) for medical expenses and a portion of lost income when an insured driver is injured in any car crash – regardless of which driver was responsible.  Unlike many forms of health insurance and “medical payments” coverage (also a type of coverage sold by auto insurers), PIP coverage does not contain a right of subrogation.  This is important because the PIP insurance carrier has no claim for reimbursement against the injured victim’s recovery obtained from person responsible for her injuries.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage provides benefits when the crash victim is injured by another driver who either has no liability insurance or inadequate liability insurance.  Many folks are familiar with idea of UM coverage that is available to protect them when they are involved in a crash with someone who has failed to purchase liability insurance or pay the insurance premiums.  The need for UIM coverage is less recognized.

Car crash victims are often carried away from the scene of the collision by an ambulance and taken to a hospital’s emergency department where they will be examined by an ER doctor and may receive diagnostic testing in the form of MRIs or CT Scans  – sometimes the victim is admitted to the hospital or immediately scheduled for surgery.  These emergency services alone are very expensive.  In some cases, a crash victim may leave the hospital with an unpaid bill that is tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Yet, the driver that caused the victim’s injury only has liability coverage limits in the amount of $30,000 – the minimum amount of liability coverage that Texas requires all drivers to maintain.  This story is common.  Consequently, the need for UIM coverage is apparent.

It is also important to note that UIM claims have an interesting condition precedent that should be completed before the claim will be processed.  Unless the crash victim has carefully read the terms of his UM/UIM coverage, the condition could be easily overlooked.  The Texas Auto Policy UIM coverage requires the consent of the insurer before accepting any settlement with the responsible driver.  This requirement is designed to protect the UIM insurer’s subrogation rights.  The crash victim’s failure to obtain consent to settle the liability portion of her claim could bar her claim for UIM benefits (though there are exceptions).  Behr Law Firm assists its clients with navigating all potential claims associated with their personal injury and guides them past potential pitfalls such as the requirement to obtain consent to settle before collecting UIM benefits.

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