Texas handles car accident claims under a “fault” system. This means that the driver responsible for the accident is also responsible for the damages caused by the accident. Because of this, Texas requires all drivers to prove they can cover the costs associated with an accident. Most drivers carry car insurance policies to satisfy the coverage requirement.
While this requirement helps resolve many car accident claims, there are still plenty of accidents where it’s not so simple. This is especially true when the damages caused by an accident – including medical bills, property damage, and more – exceed the other driver’s policy limits.
Here, we are going to take a look at minimum cover requirements, how they affect your case, and what options you have if your damages are greater than the insurance coverage of the other driver. For someone unfamiliar with car accident claims, the process can feel overly complicated and confusing.
At Patrick Daniel Law, we are here to help injured accident victims in and around Houston, all of Texas, and throughout the country understand their options and achieve justice. For a free case evaluation, get in touch with our Houston car accident lawyers today.
Texas requires what is called 30/60/25 coverage:
While the mandatory minimum covers a significant portion of damages in car accidents, some drivers choose to carry additional coverage. If damages exceed the policy limits, the at-fault driver would be held personally responsible for additional costs.
The primary way policy limits affect your claim is that it can become much more complicated if your damages exceed the other driver’s insurance coverage. Once you reach the driver’s policy limit, their insurance company is not obligated to pay any more.
Getting insurance companies to pay out the maximum policy limits is often a challenge in and of itself. Insurance carriers will generally do whatever they can to pay as little compensation as possible. They may claim that the accident was your fault or dispute the seriousness of the injuries and damages you claim.
In either of these situations, an experienced car accident attorney can help fight for your rights and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. Unfortunately, even if the insurance company does agree to pay up to the policy limit, it might still not be enough to cover all of your damages.
If your damages are greater than the other driver’s policy limit, there are ways you can recover additional compensation. First, if you have personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, medical payments coverage, and/or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, you can file a claim with your insurance company to cover additional expenses.
Insurance companies in Texas are required to provide these coverage options. If you do not want one or more additional coverage options, you have to tell the company in writing to have it removed from your policy.
If you do not have these types of additional coverage, it becomes more difficult to recover compensation beyond the at-fault driver’s policy limits. However, there are still some possible sources of further recovery.
For instance, if multiple parties were at fault for the accident, you may be able to recover compensation from more than one defendant. This can apply not only when multiple drivers are involved in an accident, but also when the driver who caused the accident was on the job for their employer when the accident happened (such as a commercial vehicle accident). In this latter case, you may be able to pursue compensation from the commercial driver’s employer.
Also, since Texas is a “fault” state, you might be able to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the driver for the damages above and beyond their policy limits. If the driver doesn’t have applicable assets to pay what you deserve, the court may order wage garnishment so you can be compensated for your losses over time.
It is easy to feel overwhelmed after an accident. You may be in pain, unable to work, and facing significant financial difficulties. Auto insurance is designed to cover another party’s losses when the insured causes a crash. However, if the at-fault driver only carried the minimum car insurance, you may be unsure where to turn.
Patrick Daniel Law is here to help when you need it most. We are committed to protecting your rights and pursuing the compensation you deserve. Our accident attorneys have extensive experience going up against the country’s biggest insurance companies, overcoming lowball settlement offers, and securing recoveries that often exceed the at-fault driver’s policy limits.
Please call Patrick Daniel Law at (713) 999-6666 today for a free case review. Our Houston car accident lawyers serve clients throughout Texas.