All drivers in Texas are required to carry a minimum of $30,000/$60,000 for bodily injury liability and $25,000 in property damage insurance coverage. When two or more insured drivers are in an accident, Texas’ at-fault laws state that the at-fault driver’s insurance pays for any injuries sustained in the accident.
Filing a Claim for Damages if You Were at Fault
If you were the primary cause of the accident, your own car insurance will have to cover your injuries. If your policy includes medical payments coverage or personal injury protection (PIP), you will be able to file a claim up to the limits you have set on your policy. Note that your bodily injury liability insurance does not apply to your injuries, only the injuries of others not at fault.
You may need to rely on other insurance such as your health insurance if your medical bills exceed your car insurance limits.
Filing a Claim for Damages if the Other Driver was at Fault
If the other driver’s negligence caused the accident, his insurance should cover your damages. You will file a claim with their insurance company and you should be entitled to damages up to their policy limits. Unfortunately, many drivers in Texas only carry the minimum insurance limits of $30,000/$60,000, meaning if your personal medical bills exceed $30,000 or the total of all injured parties’ damages is over $60,000, you may have to rely on your own insurance to obtain a fair settlement.
Having underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage (UM coverage) is a good idea to protect you in the event you suffer injuries in an accident caused by a driver with minimum coverage or no coverage at all. This type of coverage also helps in hit and run accidents; your insurance will treat the absent driver like a driver without coverage.
Make Sure You File Your Claim on Time
Some insurance companies have a timeframe for reporting an accident and filing your claim, so it is important to act as quickly as possible. You should contact your insurance company first to notify them of the accident, and then they can help you determine if you can file a claim against the other drivers’ insurance. Additionally, you must file your injury claim within two years of the accident to comply with Texas’ statute of limitations laws.
Remember that you have the right to seek help from a Texas personal injury attorney before and after you file your injury claim. Working with an attorney before you file can protect you from damaging your right to recovery and help you handle negotiating a settlement. Even if you have already filed, an attorney can assist you in proving fault in your case or appealing a denied claim.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Julie Johnson
Julie Johnson is Dallas, Texas’ answer to personal injury and family law legal support. Her law firm, The Law Office of Julie Johnson, PLLC, has a dedicated team for personal injury cases and a team for family law matters. Her personal injury team focuses on cases of truck driver negligence, car accidents, premises liability (slip and fall), and wrongful death. Her family law team manages cases of divorce, child custody and support, alimony, adoption, and same-sex marriage rights.
Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.