As personal injury lawyers, we are often asked by our clients about what kind of preventative measures they can take in case they are ever involved in another car accident. Most clients are aware that the minimum bodily injury liability coverage that one must carry in Texas is $30,000 per person or $60,000 per accident. Anyone who has been injured in a car accident and has tried dealing directly with the insurance company will know that convincing them to accept liability is often an uphill battle. Even if the insurance company accepts liability, the minimum coverage amount may not be enough to pay all of a client’s medical bills. In these instances, the client’s insurance coverage, not just the at-fault driver’s coverage, can come into play.
Personal Injury Protection
Personal Injury Protection, or PIP, is no-fault coverage. Generally, the minimum amount of Personal Injury Protection coverage offered by an insurance carrier is $2,500, but some companies offer $50,000 in PIP or more. Personal Injury Protection coverage can be especially helpful in cases where liability is in dispute or where the amount of medical bills is particularly low. Because this coverage is no-fault, all that is usually required to collect under PIP is for an insured to submit copies of their medical bills (that are related to the accident) to their carrier.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured and underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage might be the most important features of a client’s insurance policy. Unfortunately, not all drivers on the road in Texas are carrying the minimum insurance coverage that Texas law requires; some drivers are uninsured entirely! In other cases, an insurance policy may have a specific coverage exclusion for the driver who caused an accident, or the driver may have let their coverage lapse due to non-payment. When these situations arise, a client’s uninsured motorist coverage may be the only way to recover the cost of the client’s medical bills.
In some cases, a client’s injuries may require medical care that exceeds the $30,000 minimum policy limit required in Texas. As the name indicates, underinsured motorist coverage was designed to address these situations. After the at-fault carrier has tendered their policy limits, a client can make a claim under their underinsured motorist coverage by submitting their medical bills to their own insurance carrier.
As personal injury attorneys, we strongly suggest that all of our clients carry PIP and UM/UIM coverage on their personal auto insurance policies, if at all possible.