Who Pays For Car Accident Compensation In Texas?
Car wrecks are common in Houston, Galveston and throughout Texas. If you've been involved in a wreck, it can change your life in an instant. It can leave you with serious injuries that require extensive medical treatment. Those injuries may leave you unable to go back to work, while other bills continue to come in. Faced with such a frightening situation, you may wonder how you will make ends meet.
You deserve compensation for your injuries, but insurance companies often don't play fair. That's why you need a strong, reliable car accident attorney on your side. That's why you need the Law Offices of Gene S. Hagood. We understand how the legal system works in Texas and how to get results.
Our legal team can investigate your accident to find out what really happened and look for evidence that your injuries were caused by the negligence of another. Then we can explore your options for recovering compensation.
Texas 'fault' insurance system
Every state has its own, unique insurance system when it comes to compensating car accident victims. Texas is a "fault" car insurance state. This means if you are injured in a car wreck, the driver who caused your crash is considered "at fault" and is responsible for financially compensating you for your damages. In Texas, there are several different ways to get compensation you deserve for your car wreck:
- File a "first-party" claim with your insurance company
- File a "third-party" claim with the at-fault driver's insurance company
- File a lawsuit against the at-fault driver
We can help you decide which option works best for you and help you every step of the way.
Filing a "first-party" claim with your own insurance company
In Texas, drivers are required to carry minimum amounts of liability coverage for injuries and property damage caused in a car accident. The minimum insurance coverage in Texas is:
- $30,000 for each injured person
- $60,000 total for all injuries in an accident
- $25,000 for property damage
There are also optional types of coverage you can choose to buy. One is personal injury protection (PIP), which pays for medical expenses and a percentage of lost wages while you are recovering from injuries you sustained in a car wreck. Another is collision coverage, which pays for damage to your vehicle.
Filing a "third-party" claim with the at-fault driver's insurance company
If the other driver was responsible for the accident, you can file a claim for damages with that driver's insurance company. But the insurance company may make you an offer that does not come close to the true cost of your accident. They may even try to blame you for what happened. That's why you need an experienced attorney on your side, to help you negotiate a better offer and stand up for your rights.
Filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver
In some cases, when a fair settlement can't be negotiated, your best option is to take the at-fault driver to court. The driver's insurance company will represent their interests. An aggressive lawyer can build a strong case, calling on witness testimony and if needed, accident reconstruction experts to prove the other driver's negligence caused your injuries.
Under Texas law, you have 2 years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. That deadline is known as the statute of limitations. And once the statute of limitations expires, you often forfeit your right to pursue legal action in the future.
When the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured
It's the law that all drivers in Texas must have a minimum amount of liability insurance. But some people don't always follow the law, and are uninsured or underinsured. What if you are injured in a wreck caused by an uninsured driver-or an underinsured driver who does not have enough coverage to pay for the damage? There are basically two options.
If you chose to buy uninsured or underinsured motorist protection (UIM) with your insurance policy, you can file a claim with your own insurance company for compensation. Or, you can file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. But that driver may not have enough assets to cover the damages in your accident.
If you've been injured in a car wreck, you need an experienced, aggressive attorney who will vigorously fight for your rights. Contact the Law Offices of Gene S. Hagood. Call (800) 632-9404 to schedule a free case evaluation.