I’ve represented a lot of people over the last 34 years who were hit by an underinsured driver, and since I posted about uninsured drivers yesterday, I’d explain how this related topic works today.
I just represented this hard-working client during the required recorded statement with his insurance company’s adjuster in Austin this morning. I’m fighting to get him more than the $30,000.00 from the at-fault’s insurance company (the total limits available) and $5,000.00 Personal Injury Protection benefits that have been paid. If his company doesn’t agree to tender his $30,000.00 policy, I will file suit to recover that amount. I believe that we have a strong case and that we will win.
And it meant a lot when my client shook my hand several times after the statement and said that he appreciated all the hard work I had done in a short period of time and that he considered me his friend. Here’s a selfie I took of us just last week when I met him downstairs in our parking garage (to save him the trip upstairs) to give him the first check.
What Is Underinsured Motorists Insurance?
Underinsured motorist coverage provides payments for injured drivers when the at-fault driver doesn’t have enough insurance to fully compensate the injured party for his injuries. An underinsured motorist is someone who has chose — like most people, as I discussed in the blog post yesterday — to purchase only the minimum liability policy of $30,000.00 per person for bodily injury required by Texas law. Both uninsured motorists and underinsured motorists coverage are combined under Part C of the standard Texas auto policy, so if you’ve got one, you’ve got the other.
How Do You Collect benefits?
A party generally must first establish that the underinsured driver was at fault and that he suffered significant injuries. In the case of underinsured motorist benefits, the injured party must also collect the at-fault driver’s policy limits before collecting under his or her own insurance policy or give a credit for the amount not collected. Any other payments, like P.I.P., are also added in to the equation. If medical bills, lost wages, disfigurement, pain, and other damages exceed this amount, the underinsured motorist carrier must pay additional money. This is a complicated area of personal injury law.
Can You Only Get Paid Under One Policy?
No, underinsured motorist coverage is “stackable” here which means that you can add coverage from several auto policies or from different family members together. We have been successful in filing under multiple policies in the past.
We Can Help
If you are in an accident with someone who is uninsured or underinsured, do not settle with the other driver’s insurance company without first contacting our law firm. There are confusing procedures and requirements that you do not know about.
For example, carriers will not pay its own insured if he settles with the at-fault driver and didn’t obtain its consent to settle first. Further, the standard Texas personal automobile insurance policy requires the company to produce a written rejection that you didn’t want to purchase underinsured motorists benefits, and a good lawyer can help smoke the company out if and when it refuses to produce this document. Those people who are not familiar with the legal system or insurance industry will be at a loss.
We have extensive experience successfully helping people these claims. It’s what we do, so we’d better be good at it. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with an aggressive Fort Worth underinsured motorist accident attorney who can fight for you and get you the money you deserve.