After a car wreck, one of the first things you may be wondering about is whose insurance covers an accident. This depends in large part on who is at fault. In Texas, you have the right to seek damages from the person that caused your accident.
It’s essential to understand, when filing Texas auto insurance claims, the rights you have and how to protect them. Contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your rights and whose insurance pays in a car accident.
What Does Auto Insurance Cover?
Every car insurance policy consists of several different components. Each of these components provides slightly different forms of protection. When you apply for car insurance, the options provided offer limits and deductibles for each component. Recommendations suggest obtaining more than the basic coverage amounts required by law.
If involved in an accident, out-of-pocket expenses become very high if your coverage is basic. However, it’s important to note that your premium costs will be higher as your coverage limits increase.
Texas auto insurance laws require drivers to purchase minimum liability insurance of 30/60/25 coverage. This basic liability insurance covers injuries up to $30,000 per person and $60,000 per crash. It also provides up to $25,000 in coverage for property damage. Despite sounding like a lot of money, these coverage limits are minimal and likely will not cover all costs in a severe accident.
Bodily Injury Liability
Bodily injury liability represents the part of insurance covering medical bills if you’ve injured someone in an accident. If you don’t think you can afford to risk having to pay high medical bills out of pocket, you may want to increase your coverage limit in this component of your auto insurance policy.
Property Damage Liability
Property damage liability represents insurance covering the cost of property damage you caused to another vehicle in an accident. As with bodily injury coverage, if you don’t want to risk paying additional costs out of pocket, you should consider increasing your property damage coverage limit.
Personal Injury Protection or Medical Payments
Personal injury protection (PIP) covers medical expenses for you and your passengers after an accident. Insurers must offer Texas drivers at least $2,500 in PIP coverage. PIP serves as a form of no-fault coverage. In other words, you can seek coverage under your PIP policy regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
PIP covers medical costs associated with an accident in addition to lost wages due to loss of work as a result of your injuries and funeral costs. Texas law does not require the purchase of PIP coverage.
Another option that might be available to you is medical payments insurance (MedPay). Insurers are not required to offer MedPay, but if they do and you elect coverage, it can help you pay for things like health insurance deductibles and copays. It does not cover lost wages.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UMI) coverage covers your expenses if you are involved in an accident with an underinsured or uninsured driver. Even if the other driver was at fault, their insurance coverage may not provide enough to compensate you for your losses adequately. When this occurs, your UM/UMI insurance may make up the difference.
Although Texas law does not require underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage, it’s a good idea to obtain this coverage in case you are involved in an accident with a driver who has inadequate insurance.
This type of insurance covers damage to your car after an accident. You may need this coverage if you are in a solo accident, such as hitting a tree or divider or if you were at fault in an accident with another driver. Collision insurance does not cover damage caused to another’s vehicle, only your own.
Comprehensive coverage covers damage to your car that happens when you are not driving it. Comprehensive coverage involves events out of your control, such as extreme weather, fire, falling objects, riots, vandalism, and animal damage. Comprehensive coverage also protects you in the event your car is stolen and subsequently damaged.
Carefully choosing your auto insurance coverage options ensures your costs after an accident don’t cause more distress than your actual accident. Speaking with an auto insurance representative may provide clarity and recommendations on auto insurance coverage components to protect you and your property.
What Type of Auto Insurance Claim Should I File After My Accident?
Filing a claim with your auto insurance aids in coverage for your losses and any damages suffered by others involved in the accident. Whose insurance pays in a car accident depends on which party was at fault.
When Your Car Is Damaged
The process of filing a claim for damage to your car depends on the cause of the damage.
You’ll need a comprehensive claim to cover damage for stolen cars, vandalization, or severe weather events. If you caused an accident, you will need to file a collision claim.
File a liability coverage claim with the other party’s insurance if your car suffers damage in an accident caused by another. If their insurance is insufficient, you may also need to file a claim under your UM/UIM insurance.
If fault is not apparent, file a claim with both your insurance company and the other driver to determine whose insurance covers an accident.
When You Are Injured
When injured in a car accident, file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Texas auto insurance claim rights permit you to recover from the at-fault driver. However, if the at-fault driver’s insurance is insufficient, you may need to file a UM/UIM claim with your own insurance.
If you have PIP or MedPay insurance, you may also file a claim under those policies. Both of these claims are no-fault, meaning that you can seek compensation under the policy no matter who was at fault for the accident.
When There Is Minimal Damage and No Injuries
It may be difficult to know if you truly escaped an accident without injury. Injuries do not always appear immediately following a collision. For this reason, always seek a medical assessment following an accident.
Additionally, while an accident may cause minimal to no injury to your vehicle, in the event another party is at fault for the collision, file a claim with their auto insurance policy. There may be injuries to your car not immediately apparent.
How Does Auto Insurance Work After an Accident?
Never discuss the fault with an auto insurance company. When you file Texas auto insurance claims, your rights include the right to recover compensation from an at-fault party. Insurance companies often seek to reduce their payout to injured parties, so they will latch onto any statement you make that may reduce their client’s culpability.
If the other party’s insurance company asks you for a statement, refer them to your attorney. Determination of fault requires careful investigation of facts and evidence surrounding a collision.
In a fault state like Texas, it’s essential to gather evidence after an accident to establish the collision’s facts. Whose insurance covers an accident depends on who was at fault. Begin by taking photographs at the scene of an accident.
If fault is unable to be determined, a personal injury attorney may hire an accident reconstructionist to recreate the scene. Accident reconstructionists are helpful to assist in the determination of fault and move the settlement process forward.
Request Contact Information of People Involved in the Accident
Acquire the names of all witnesses to your collision. A personal injury attorney reaches out to these parties to support your claims following an accident. Additionally, the police may seek out these witnesses to obtain facts for their police report.
Follow up with Recommended Medical Care
Whether your injuries are severe or minimal, always seek medical assistance. As discussed, many injuries may not be immediately apparent. Additionally, if you suffer severe injuries, retain all medical reports evidencing your injuries from the accident.
Filing Insurance Claim
Depending on the facts surrounding the accident, you will then file a claim with either your insurance company, the other driver’s insurance company, or both. Once you file your claim, the insurance adjuster reviews necessary materials like the police report, photographs, and witness accounts.
While the immediate aftermath of a collision may seem daunting, take the essential steps necessary to gather evidence supporting the other party’s fault in your accident.
The qualified personal injury attorneys at Zimmerman Law Firm, P.C., work with each client to prepare a strong case on your behalf. Contact one of our four locations in Waco, Killeen, Round Rock, or Austin to discuss Texas auto insurance claims and rights you have as an injured person.
The attorney you meet the first time will be your attorney through your entire case. Contact our office for a free initial case review to discuss the facts surrounding your car accident.