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While manufacturers continue to upgrade cars with enhanced safety features, the risk of getting into an accident can never be completely eliminated. The last thing a driver wants to worry about on their routine drive to work is their physical safety and financial health. The reality, though, is that accidents happen at any time with no regard for who is behind the wheel.
If not handled properly, an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist can completely disrupt one’s life. According to a survey published by the Insurance Research Council, one out of every eight drivers on the road has no auto insurance.
Car accidents can result in serious injuries requiring large amounts of medical bills, loss of salary from the inability to work, and severe physical damages. A professional legal advocate who specializes in cases against uninsured or underinsured motorists is crucial to ensure you get what you need after such an upsetting event. Contact our Dallas uninsured and uninsured motorist lawyers today.
An uninsured motorist is simply someone who is driving a car without having the car covered under an insurance policy. In Texas, automobile insurance companies are required to provide coverage in the case of an uninsured motorist under the Texas Insurance Code, §1952.101(b). However, a motorist can elect to decline that insurance so long as it is performed in writing. Uninsured motorist insurance coverage is designed to essentially give you the coverage that you would have had if the other driver 1) caused the accident and 2) actually had an insurance policy for their car.
An underinsured motorist is a driver who does liability insurance but whose coverage policy limits are not enough to cover the losses incurred by the accident. As opposed to an uninsured motorist, the issue for an underinsured motorist is not whether an insurance plan is in place but rather whether that insurance plan is enough.
Every state has mandated statutory minimum amounts that insurance plans must meet. In Texas, the rule is called the “30/60/25” coverage. According to the Texas Transportation Code §601.072, the minimum amounts of insurance coverage required to establish financial responsibility are:
While these amounts are the minimum required as statutorily defined, they are only a starting point. Motorists have the opportunity to increase their coverage by paying a higher premium and most typically do.
For drivers that do choose policies with only minimum coverage, the person who causes the accident may not sufficiently be able to have insurance cover all damages and will be required to pay expenses exceeding coverage out-of-pocket.
A driver may choose to obtain a policy with the bare minimum coverage levels in order to save money on vehicle insurance costs. However, if you cause an accident, the minimal liability coverage limits may not be sufficient to cover all of the damages. In that situation, you may have to pay for expenditures that exceed your coverage limits out of pocket. Typical examples include:
Some insurance plans will offer coverage in the case that the other driver is uninsured or underinsured. These cases can be complicated as the insurance company will have to pay a large amount if either of these definitions apply.
If the other driver does not have insurance coverage, the uninsured motorist policy under your insurance plan should apply. If the other driver does have insurance but does not have policy limits meeting the damages incurred, the underinsured motorist policy under your insurance plan should apply.
However, these policies do have limitations. For one, if you caused the accident, your insurance may refuse to provide coverage. Another limitation often seen is that the extent of the damage goes beyond the coverage policy limits. As such, these cases can be hotly contested by your insurer.
As mentioned, an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist has the potential to completely change one’s life. These cases require a thorough examination of evidence and robust legal strategy because the reality is that no one wants to pay when insurance does not offer coverage. Our Dallas uninsured/underinsured motorist lawyers can help you get the justice you deserve. Contact MR Civil Justice today for your free consultation.
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