Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Accidents
Accident victims can sue the responsible parties to recover damages for their injuries, but generally they can only recover money if the defendant is insured or wealthy. Most people driving without insurance are not wealthy, and it is not uncommon to get into a crash with a driver who does not have enough insurance or has no insurance at all. If you are in an uninsured motorist accident, you may need to make a claim against your own uninsured motorist coverage. This insurance is purchased when you buy liability coverage for your car, and it can allow you to collect damages from your own insurance company when another driver has insufficient or no coverage. For guidance after a car accident in the Dallas area, you can consult the attorneys at Feizy Law Office. We can help you explore your options and develop a strategy to pursue compensation.Pursuing Compensation from an Insurance Company
The Texas Insurance Code requires all automobile policies sold in Texas to contain at least a minimum amount of uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist coverage. This is presumed to exist by law unless the insured explicitly rejects the coverage in writing. All policies are required to have at least $20,000 for injuries to a person and $40,000 of coverage for the accident. The uninsured coverage will extend not only to the named insureds but also to family members, who are defined as anyone who resides in the same household and is related to the named insureds by adoption, marriage, or blood.
In addition to scenarios in which an at-fault driver is underinsured and another driver is hurt, uninsured motorist coverage can apply in a variety of other situations, such as hit and run accidents, pedestrians or bicyclists hit by a car without sufficient insurance, and passenger injuries in which both the passenger's own uninsured motorist insurance and the driver's uninsured motorist coverage cover the accident.
Usually, in order to recover under uninsured motorist coverage, injuries or damages must arise out of the ownership, use, or maintenance of a vehicle that is covered by the policy. Generally, this means that the car was being used as a car. Car crashes are covered, but other types of accidents involving presence in a car, such as drive-by or carjacking accidents, may or may not be covered, depending on the policy language.
Most policies require an insured to get the uninsured motorist carrier's consent to sue the uninsured or underinsured driver. It is not enough for the insurer to know of the suit. Instead, most policies require written consent. Generally, the person who is insured can sue an insurer directly, get written consent to sue an uninsured or underinsured motorist with a judgment binding the insurer, or sue the uninsured motorist without consent. If you sue the insured motorist without consent, the judgment does not bind the insurer, and the amount of your damages may be re-litigated with the uninsured motorist carrier. Due to the long timetable of most lawsuits, it is usually a wiser choice to get written consent from the uninsured motorist carrier.
Also of importance to remember is that in most cases, a carrier will not provide uninsured motorist coverage if you or your attorney settles a claim without the carrier's consent. This is because a carrier has a right of subrogation for any payments it makes to you, and this subrogation right is jeopardized when you settle without consent. However, if an uninsured motorist carrier denies you coverage unconditionally, it is deemed to have waived the requirement that you obtain consent to settle with an at-fault uninsured driver.Protect Your Rights after a Motor Vehicle Accident by Enlisting a Dallas Attorney
If you are in a car crash, you may be stressed and concerned about how you will pay your medical bills or make up for lost time at work seeking medical care or recovering. Our motor vehicle collision lawyers are available to help Dallas residents and other individuals protect their rights. Call Feizy Law Office at (214) 651-8686 or contact us via our online form for a free consultation. We also represent accident victims in Fort Worth, Garland, Irving, Arlington, and Plano, among other cities in Texas.