Texas automobile insurance laws requires every owner of every car, truck and motorcycle in Texas to have a certain amount of liability insurance on their vehicles. Liability insurance provides compensation to any one hurt in an accident caused by another driving the insured car.
Thirty thousand dollars ($30,000) is the minimum amount of liability coverage required by law, however, you can purchase higher limits of liability insurance to protect your assets against the risk of higher damages being awarded against you in the event you cause an accident which causes more than $30,000 worth of damages.
When an attorney represents a person who is injured in any kind of an accident in Texas, one of the first things the attorney does is investigate all available insurance coverage that applies to the accident.
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The two kinds of auto insurance are first party coverage and third party coverage. First party coverage covers you and your property and includes coverage for medical expenses, damages to your vehicle and requires the insurance company to defend you in the event that you are sued for causing an accident.
Your third party coverage requires your carrier to pay for injuries to other people that you cause. This applies to people in your car as well as people in other cars in an accident with you that you caused.
The coverage and all applicable exclusions are set forth in your insurance policy. The insurance company promises to provide compensation in the event of certain occurrences in exchange for the payment of a premium.
Insurance coverage laws could occupy a small library so the following is a summary of the most typical coverage issues.
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As stated, $30,000 of this type of insurance is required by law for every car. The liability portion of an insurance policy defends and settles any claims and pays judgments rendered against the insured in a claim for negligence. If you are injured by the negligence of a defendant, a claim is made by your attorney under the bodily injury liability coverage of the negligent defendant’s liability insurance policy. If you cause an accident, the damaged party makes a claim against your liability policy.
Liability coverage is not health insurance; it is designed to pay for the damages caused by the accident. It is typically designed to pay a one-time settlement or payment for all damages caused by the insured.
Liability insurance minimums required by law in Texas are:
Most drivers buy liability insurance to meet the state’s financial responsibility law. You must buy at least the minimum amount of coverage. The minimum liability limits are $30,000 for each injured person, up to a total of $60,000 per accident, and $25,000 for property damage per accident. This basic coverage is called 30/60/25 coverage.
Medical Payments Coverage (“Med Pay Coverage”)
When purchasing car insurance for yourself, you should consider several additional types of insurance coverage in addition to liability insurance. One of these types of coverage is called medical payments coverage. Although it is not required by Texas law, it is recommended.
Medical payments coverage is a type of health insurance coverage. It includes med-pay and personal injury protection (PIP). It could also be called economic loss protection benefits.
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This coverage is available to an insured driver and any passengers in the insured’s vehicle. It covers loss for injuries sustained, regardless of the fault of the driver. The insurance policy of the negligent party does not pay med- pay or PIP benefits to an injured plaintiff; those are termed liability coverage. However, they all pay money. The difference is in the relationships and what exactly triggers the payments and whether or not liability is required to be proven in order for payments to be made.
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Med-Pay and PIP are benefits that are limited to be paid to the driver or passengers in the insured vehicle, regardless of fault. The insured looks to his own insurance policy or the policy on the vehicle in which he was a passenger for med- pay or PIP benefits.
The amount of med-pay benefits which may be paid to any individual is determined when the policy is purchased; it is stated in the insurance policy declarations sheet for the person who purchased the coverage.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Benefits
Two other types of coverage you can purchase are uninsured and underinsured motorist benefits. These types of coverage protect you and your occupants against a negligent defendant who illegally does not have liability insurance coverage or who has minimum coverage that is inadequate to fully compensate you for your injuries.
If you are involved in an accident with an uninsured but negligent driver, your lawyer would make a claim for you under your uninsured motorist coverage. Your own insurance carrier would then have to pay any claim or judgment which may be rendered, up to the limits of the policy which you purchased.
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If the person who caused the accident has liability insurance, but the policy limit of his or her liability insurance is less than the amount of damages caused by the accident, your lawyer can make a claim against the underinsured motorist coverage of your policy. The claim is for underinsured motorist coverage benefits.
With regard to just when each policy will be claimed against and for how much, this area of the law is somewhat complicated however a lawyer experienced in car accidents will be familiar with the issues and will know how to obtain the maximum amount of coverage for your claim.
Collision coverage is a type of coverage which provides compensation for the repair or replacement of your own vehicle after an accident, regardless of whether or not you are at fault. This is different from property liability insurance coverage discussed above which pays for damages you do to another person’s car.
An innocent victim of an accident may present either a claim for the property damage under his or her own collision coverage or under the negligent defendant’s property damage liability insurance coverage. Your own collision coverage usually includes a deductible unlike a claim against the liable party’s policy.
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After a claim has been paid under the non-liable party’s collision coverage, the insurance carrier who paid the claim can proceed against the other insurance carrier (the liable party’s carrier) to get reimbursed from that carrier for money it paid to its own insured. This claim is one of “subrogation”, and does not affect your recovery for damages.
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If you or a loved one has become a victim of an automobile accident or of any other personal injury claim, call our law offices at 972-325-0044 tel:512-900-6255 or complete the contact and case evaluation form to have your case evaluated by an attorney.
The initial consultation with our personal injury offices is free of charge and without obligation. If we agree to accept your case, we will work on a contingent fee basis, which means we get paid only if there is a monetary settlement.
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You may have a valid claim and be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires, so don’t delay.
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