If you get into a car accident in Dallas, you typically will file a claim with the insurance company that covers the driver who caused your crash. However, you may also end up filing a claim with your own insurer. Because you will almost always need to go through insurance of some kind in order to recover compensation, you should understand how insurance works after an auto accident.
Let’s focus first on liability coverage. This insurance coverage pays for the property damage and bodily injury that a driver causes others to suffer in an accident. So, if you are involved in a crash, you usually will file a claim through the at-fault driver’s liability policy.
In Texas, drivers must carry liability insurance that provides coverage in at least the following minimum amounts:
- $30,000 for bodily injury to one person
- $60,000 for bodily injury to more than one person in a single accident
- $25,000 for property damage that result from a single accident.
Many Dallas drivers buy liability insurance in those minimum amounts. It is commonly called “basic coverage.” Buying basic coverage simply costs less than getting more extensive protection.
However, basic coverage typically fails to cover the full extent of a car accident victim’s damages, including medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering. Even worse – insurance industry research indicates that roughly one out of every 10 drivers on our roads has no coverage at all.
If you get into an accident with a driver who has no insurance or has only the basic amount of coverage, you may still file an insurance claim. However, you will have to go through your own policy. You will benefit from consulting with an experienced car accident attorney who can review your policy and determine what types of coverage it provides to you.
For instance, if the other driver in your crash has no insurance, you may be able to file a claim through your own uninsured motorist (UM) policy. If the driver has insurance that does not pay for all of your damages, you could file a claim through your underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage, which would cover the difference between what the other driver’s insurance pays and your damages (up to the limits of your policy).
Because car accidents with uninsured and underinsured drivers frequently occur in Dallas, we highly recommend that you purchase UM/UIM in amounts greater than the minimum amounts that the law requires. For only a few extra dollars in premium payments, you will give yourself important protection and reduce the risk of facing extensive out-of-pocket expenses after a crash.
Additionally, you may have other insurance coverage available to you, including collision, comprehensive, medical payments or personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Again, a lawyer can review your policy and identify all coverage that is available to you.
Insurance companies focus on maximizing their profits. They want to collect as much as possible in premiums and pay as little as they can in claims. So, when you file a claim – even a claim with your own insurer – you may find that the insurer challenges its duty to pay and/or the amount it must pay.
A lawyer will protect your rights and aggressively pursue the full amount you are due. The lawyer will work hard to make sure the insurance company does the right thing. In short, the lawyer will focus solely on maximizing your recovery.
To learn more about how auto insurance works after an accident and to discuss how an attorney can assist you in filing an insurance claim, contact Kraft & Associates, P.C., today. We will provide a free consultation.