While we regularly talk about the claims that car accident victims can file against negligent drivers and other responsible parties, an issue we don’t often address is how victims can seek compensation from their own insurance companies. Why would you do this? There are actually a number of important reasons, and understanding when it makes sense to file a claim with your own insurance can be critical to making sure you are able to cover your medical bills and other losses.
What we are talking about is commonly referred to as “no-fault” insurance coverage. Under Texas law, unless the policyholder waives his or her rights, all auto insurance policies are required to include three primary types of no-fault coverage. These are:
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM)
- Medical payments coverage (Med Pay)
- Personal injury protection (PIP)
Three Types of No-Fault Insurance Coverage: UM/UIM, Med Pay and PIP
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM)
What happens if you are injured in an accident and the other driver doesn’t stop? Maybe it was a hit-and-run, or maybe the other driver ran you off of the road and never realized that they caused an accident. Whatever the reason, suddenly you are facing a mountain of medical bills, you need to fix your car and you are losing money because you have to miss work to recover from your injuries.
In these situations, it pays to have UM/UIM coverage on your policy. Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage provides compensation for property damage, medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, disfigurement, and permanent or partial disability. It covers not only the policyholder, but also his or her family members, any passengers in the insured vehicle and anyone else who was driving the vehicle with the policyholder’s permission.
Medical payments coverage (Med Pay)
The second type of no-fault insurance coverage is commonly referred to as “Med Pay.” This type of insurance covers both medical and funeral expenses for the policyholder, the policyholder’s family members and any passengers in the insured vehicle.
Personal injury protection (PIP)
Personal injury protection is similar to medical payments coverage, but it can also cover up to 80 percent of your lost income and the costs of hiring a caregiver. Unless you rejected it, your policy should include a minimum of $2,500 in PIP coverage.
How to Use No-Fault Insurance Coverage to Your Advantage
Before you try to claim no-fault coverage under your insurance policy, it is important to understand how to do so without jeopardizing your rights. By accepting an insurance settlement you may waive your right to seek additional compensation, so you do not want to do anything without first having a thorough understanding of how it affects your claim.
For example, depending on the circumstances, you may be able to “stack” your no-fault insurance coverage with the coverage of other members of your household. With some no-fault policy limits (such as PIP) being fairly low, stacking can be crucial to securing the money you need to cover your medical bills and other losses. If you accept an insurance settlement without stacking, you could be leaving money on the table.
This is just one of the many complex issues involved with no-fault insurance coverage. For more information, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation.
Contact Morrow & Sheppard LLP about Your Texas No-Fault Insurance Claim
The Houston injury lawyers at Morrow & Sheppard LLP provide experienced legal representation for car accident victims throughout Texas. To find out how you can get the most out of your no-fault insurance coverage and see if you can seek compensation from other sources, call (800) 489-2216 or complete our online case evaluation request form today.