Understanding Auto Insurance
There are at least 12 different types of insurance policies that should be considered when working on any car accident. However, don’t worry, we can take care of all of this for you, and please feel free to skip this section because it is written only for those who want to understand insurance in detail.
Also, realize that regardless of the type of insurance involved, insurance companies are very hard on claims because if they can deny or limit paying a claim, their profits increase. It’s for this reason that they will assert every defense available and look under every rock in an attempt not to pay you or pay you an amount that is only a fraction of your total damages. However, our mission is just the opposite. We will do everything we can to get you top dollar for your case by looking at all of the following 12 types of insurance policies:
Third Party Liability Insurance
In Texas every driver of an automobile is required to have minimum automobile insurance coverage of $30,000.00 per person for bodily injury, $60,000.00 per accident for collective bodily injuries of more than one person, and $25,000.00 for damages to property such as other automobiles. Many people have limits higher than the Texas minimum requirements.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
PIP insurance is an optional insurance on your own auto insurance policy that pays for your medical bills and 80% of your loss of income from employment if incurred within three years from the date of the accident. It can also pay for expenses for service(s) to replace the service(s) you would normally perform if not for your injury.
Medical Payments Coverage (Med Pay)
Med Pay is an optional coverage under your own auto insurance policy that pays for your medical bills incurred in an accident. Not everyone carries Med Pay, but if you do, it is worth looking into as a way to pay some of your initial medical bills.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance (UM/UIM)
Unfortunately, there are some people who do not obey the law and fail to carry auto insurance, while others simply do not carry enough auto insurance. We believe that carrying a large UM/UIM insurance policy can provide you with a lot more protection if you are involved in a wreck. The purpose of UM/UIM coverage is to place the insured (you) in the same position as if the uninsured/underinsured motorist had been properly insured. However, for UM/UIM insurance to become effective, we must first either prove that the defendant was not insured or did not have enough insurance and that we have obtained all the insurance available and acquired a consent to settle from the UM/UIM carrier. UM/UIM insurance is an optional insurance on your own auto policy, and if it comes into play, your insurance company will, in effect, step into the shoes of the defendant driver and advocate his/her position in an effort to deny or limit the amount paid. We highly recommend everyone carry high limits of UM/UIM insurance.
Your Collision Policy
When your car is damaged in an auto wreck, you usually have the choice to have the repairs paid for by the person’s insurance that caused the wreck or by your own collision policy. Your collision policy will usually pay for your car a little quicker, but they will withhold your deductible, which they usually will normally try to collect for you from the defendant driver’s insurance company. However, if you prefer not to involve your insurance regarding the repair or total loss of your vehicle, the claim can be asserted against the defendant driver’s liability insurance policy.
Although not frequently seen, some people, and companies to a higher degree, carry an umbrella policy that can potentially pay for your damages if their primary automobile insurance policy is not adequate.
Employer’s Insurance Policy
Many times during a wreck the defendant (wrongdoer) driver was working for a company and was within the course and scope of employment. If this was the case, the employer’s insurance policy may be an additional policy that can be used to pay for your damages. This type of insurance could be either a direct policy insuring a company vehicle or a non-owned auto policy that covers a vehicle owned by an employee or agent of the company.
Workers Compensation Insurance
Sometimes we have clients who were injured while they were on the job. If this is the case for you, we may be able to use workers compensation insurance (or a private plan that replaces it) to initially pay for your medical bills. Ultimately, we will seek to collect the same medical bills from the defendant driver and repay the workers compensation plan for its lien on the case. We can usually negotiate a discount for you to repay the plan less than the amount it actually paid, which will result in more money in your pocket.
Insurance of a Car Manufacturer
Although most injures are caused by a defendant driver, sometimes they are made much worse due to a car that does not provide proper protection for you. For example, we have handled cases against such companies as GM and Chrysler where a roof crushed in and injured our client. We have also claimed against these companies for failing to install electronic stability control (ESC) on the vehicles, which caused the vehicle to skid off the roadway and roll over. There are other areas of product defects on vehicles such as failure of an airbag to deploy, tire defects, and others that should also be considered.
Private Health Insurance, Medicare, & Medicaid
These types of insurance can also be used to initially pay your medical bills. Although they may agree to pay the medical bills, we will still claim all of these medical bills against the defendant driver. Medicare and Medicaid will have liens on the case that require reimbursement to Medicare or Medicaid. Additionally, if you have a private insurance plan with a company such as Blue Cross Blue Shield, United Healthcare, Cigna or others, they have a subrogation clause (right of reimbursement clause) in their contracts that require repayment when we collect from a defendant driver. Regardless of which organization has paid your medical bills, we will most likely be successful in negotiating down the amount of reimbursement to them, which will result in more compensation to you.