Frequently Asked Questions
Each case is unique and we give each case the individual attention necessary. Because no two cases are alike, there are no generic answers to frequently asked questions. Here are some examples of frequently asked questions:
Automobile Insurance Made Easy
- What am I entitled to recover for my injuries?
- Will my lost wages be paid by the insurance company?
- Should I keep a record of my doctor visits?
- Should I keep a diary of my injuries and complaints of pain?
- Should I have my car photographed before repairs are done?
- Should I talk to an insurance adjuster who calls and wants to record my statement?
- Should I sign any papers concerning the accident which are sent to me by the insurance company?
The Information that follows is only to provide general information. It is not intended to be legal advice and you should not rely on it as such. Each person's situation is different and you should consult a Board Certified Attorney for advice specific to your situation.
Your Case is Unique.
(1) Do not move the vehicles until directed to do so by the police
(2) It is important that someone immediately call the police and report the wreck;
(3) Be sure that the other vehicle driver and passengers do not leave the scene of the wreck before the police arrive;
(4) Make sure that you have the name, address, telephone number and insurance information (company name, policy number) of the other driver;
(5) If you are hurt, seek medical attention immediately;
(6) As soon as possible, contact your insurance agent and report the wreck;
(7) If you are injured contact an Attorney who is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law (You do not have to hire one to make an initial call and discuss your situation. Many persons do not need an attorney but nearly everyone can benefit from talking with one as early as possible);
(8) Get pictures of your vehicle before it is repaired.
Texas Motor Vehicle Insurance Information
There are many elements to your automobile insurance policy. Many times a person relies on the advice or suggestions of their insurance agent in deciding what coverage to maintain. It is important to have at least a basic understanding of the available policy coverage that is available.
PART A - Liability Coverage
Liability coverage covers you if you are legally responsible because of a motor vehicle wreck. It is important to remember that your amount of coverage should be sufficient to cover your assets so as not to expose those assets in the case of a substantial injury or major property damage caused by you. In Texas, the minimum liability coverage for bodily injury is $25,000.00 per person and $50,000.00 per occurrence. The insurance company will not pay more than $25,000 to any one person and no more than a total of $50,000 for all claims. What this means is that for each person that is in a vehicle in which you negligently injure them, you are protected by your insurance company up to the limits of your bodily injury liability limits. You are protected up to $50,000.00 for all injuries of all the occupants of that vehicle.
For example: Let's assume that you cause a motor vehicle wreck in which you are solely at fault. Situation 1: there is only the driver in the vehicle in which you crashed into and that driver sustains damages (not including property damage) in the amount of 25,000.00. Your insurance company will pay $25,000 for the damages. Situation 2: there are three people in the vehicle that you crash into. Assume that the driver has $35,000.00 in damages and passenger 1 has $12,500.00 in damages and passenger 2 has $12,500.00 in damages. Your insurance would pay $25,000.00 to driver for his damages (because of the $20,000.00 per person limit) and pay each of the passengers their full damages of $12,500.00 each. This totals $50,000.00 and that is the maximum amount of coverage that you are afforded per occurrence.
All permissive drivers (i.e., someone driving with the permission of the owner) of a covered vehicle are protected by the policy of insurance on the vehicle. If a permissive driver causes a wreck then the insurance on the vehicle first applies and then if the permissive driver maintains insurance on his own vehicle then his insurance would be secondary (the secondary insurance would cover damages above the limits of the primary policy).
Property damage liability limits cover the insured for property damage (including both other vehicles and other property that is damaged) that caused because of the insured's negligence. The minimum limits in Texas for property damage liability is $25,000.00.
PART B1 - Medical Payments Coverage (MED PAY)
AVOID THIS COVERAGE. Some insurance agents try to sell this coverage to their customer instead of Personal Injury Protection (PIP). MED PAY costs a few dollars less than PIP but it covers less and you will have to pay back to your insurance company the amount they pay out pursuant to this coverage when you settle with a negligent person. This benefit will pay only your medical bills or funeral expenses, up to the limit stated in the policy (sold with limits of $2500, $5000, or $10,000), that are incurred within three years from the date of your wreck. This benefit pays whether you are at fault or not. This benefit covers any passengers or permissive users of your vehicle. This coverage also applies if you or a family member residing in the same household are a pedestrian and struck by a vehicle.
If you collect MED PAY benefits from your insurance company and then collect damages from another driver (or his insurance company) at fault in a collision you have to repay the MED PAY benefits back to your insurance company (called subrogation rights).
PART B2 - Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
Everyone should have this coverage! This benefit (PIP) pays whether you were at fault or not. This coverage, in the amount of $2,500.00, is required on every Texas automobile insurance policy unless the insured rejects this coverage in writing (signature or initials). However, your written rejection remains in force when you renew your policy if your policy continues with the same insurance company. PIP pays 100% of your necessary medical or funeral bills and/or 80% of your lost wages and/or reasonable expenses for household help if you are unable to perform these tasks and you are an income or wage producer. What separates this coverage from Med pay is that if you are paid these benefits by your insurance company and then you collect damages from the person who negligently injured you (or his insurance company), you do not have to return the money to your insurance company which they paid you out of this coverage (in other words, no subrogation by your insurance company).
This coverage is sold in increments of $2,500.00. The base amount is $2500 but you can purchase increased limits of $5000 or $10,000. PIP covers you and any member of your immediate family in your insured vehicle or any other vehicle in which you or a family member may be riding. This benefit also covers any passengers in your vehicle or permissive users of your vehicle (someone you permit to drive your vehicle). This coverage also applies if you or a family member residing in the same household are a pedestrian and struck by a vehicle. If you are driving someone else's vehicle and you have this coverage then it will pay if you have a wreck in the other vehicle (i.e.-the coverage goes with you).
PART C - Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists Coverage (UM/UIM)
This coverage, in the amount of $25,000.00, is required on every automobile insurance policy unless the insured rejects this coverage in writing (signature or initials). However, your written rejection remains in force when you renew your policy with the same insurance company. This coverage is beneficial in the following situations: (1) the at fault driver did not have liability insurance; (2) the at fault driver had liability insurance but the limits were not high enough to fully compensate for the damages you or others in your vehicle incurred; (3) the at fault driver was an unidentified hit and run driver that made actual contact with your vehicle (There is also an additional requirement that the collision must be reported to the police within 24 hours.).
This benefit pays you the same amount that you should have received if the at fault driver was fully insured (up to your UM/UIM limits). This coverage applies to bodily injury as well as property damage. Recovery of this benefit depends on proving the negligence or fault of the uninsured/underinsured motorist. If you are driving someone else's vehicle and you have this coverage then it will pay if you have a wreck in the other vehicle (i.e.-the coverage goes with you).
If making a claim for UM/UIM benefits, DO NOT SETTLE WITH THE AT FAULT PARTY WITHOUT A WRITTEN AGREEMENT FROM YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY WHICH GIVES YOU PERMISSION TO SETTLE WITH THE AT FAULT PARTY AND THEIR INSURANCE COMPANY.
UM/UIM claims can be technically difficult and it is important that you hire a Board Certified Attorney to maximize your recovery and to make sure that you do not do anything that would waive your coverage or allow your insurance company to deny benefits.
PART D - Collision Coverage
This coverage affords you protection for direct and accidental loss to your covered auto, including it's equipment. If your vehicle is damaged by another object your vehicle is covered for repairs under this benefit. The limit of benefits will be the lesser of the repair value, actual cash value or limits of coverage. Payment will be made once you pay your deductible.
The preceding discussion does not attempt to cover all the technical provisions of the Texas Automobile Liability Policy. It is intended as a general overview and you should not rely on this information as there may be limitations, restrictions, or even additional benefits that may apply to your specific situation. We are not attempting to render legal advice about your specific situation.
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