Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP
How Attorneys Can Help With Underinsured Motorist Claims
Every year there are hundreds of thousands of car accidents on American roads and highways, many of which cause extensive injuries and property damage. Lawyers who help clients deal with the aftermath of auto accidents may determine during the claim handling process that filing an underinsured motorist claim is necessary. This type of claim is filed when the person responsible for the accident and any resulting injury claims was not carrying enough auto insurance at the time of the accident to pay for all the claims being made.
There are many different reasons why the policy limits carried by an individual on their auto may be inadequate to cover all injury claims. Attorneys note that many drivers on the road are underinsured, which can create a complicated legal situation when car accidents happen. These type of cases require the assistance of skilled car accident lawyers who understand the laws pertaining to underinsured motorists and how they affect injury claims.
What Is an Underinsured Motorist?
Texas insurance laws require drivers to carry a certain amount of liability insurance to protect themselves and others in the event of an auto accident. The State’s minimum coverage for auto injury liability coverage is $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident. In addiiton, $25,000 for property damage must be carried. Every driver must carry this minimum amount of insurance to legally drive in Texas.
Contrary to how it may appear, this is not a large amount of coverage for the cost of many auto accidents. According to a recent study published by the NHTSA, auto accidents cause nearly $836 billion every year in damages, including the cost of injuries, fatalities, economic losses, and other types of losses.1 This figure clearly indicates that the minimum $30,000 of required liability insurance per person leaves many motorists actually underinsured.
Motor Vehicle Injury Claims
When a car accident happens and there are damages or injuries, someone is responsible for the payment of those damages. Liability insurance is written to cover the cost of injuries and property damage if a person has an accident and is found to be responsible for the accident. If the coverage that a motorist carries is inadequate to pay all resulting damages, the individuals seeking compensation can also file a lawsuit directly against the at-fault driver for the damages in excess of the carried amount. Such action would likely require the services of auto accident lawyers to handle.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Auto accident lawyers advise that the State of Texas requires insurance carriers to offer uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to their clients. The only way to not carry this coverage is for the named insured to reject it in writing. When an accident with injuries happens, the at-fault driver’s insurance company pays up to the limits carried on the applicable policy. If that amount does not cover the entire amount of claimed injury damages, the injured person can file a claim with their own insurance company for the remainder of the claimed damages under their Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage or UM/UIM Coverage. Experienced car accident attorneys advise that this is a difficult type of claim to handle and is best pursued by attorneys who handle car accidents and are familiar with claims against underinsured motorist coverage.
Lawyers who help clients with auto accident claims strongly urge all drivers to carry an appropriate amount of liability insurance to protect themselves when driving. In addition, they recommend that motorists include uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage with their policies as additional protection. This may not completely eliminate the possibility of a challenging injury claim with an underinsured motorist; however, it does offer some degree of with the help of lawyers experienced in handling car accidents who will work to project their client's interests and seek a reasonable settlement of their injury claim.