As an auto accident lawyer in San Antonio, I often get asked whether drivers should have PIP and UM/UIM coverage. In the last couple of years I have noticed a significant increase in car accidents involving uninsured drivers. This could be a result of the recent economic downturn, or perhaps an influx of undocumented immigrants who are not able to get insurance. No matter what the cause, accidents involving uninsured drivers have been on the rise in Texas. These accidents have devastating consequences for persons who are injured by the negligence of uninsured, or underinsured drivers in Texas. on persons injured by no fault of their own.
As a personal injury lawyer, I am painfully aware of the hardships presented to those who are injured by and under insured motorist. Medical bills start to pile up, you’re missing work as a result of your injuries, and you wonder who will pay your medical bills and living expenses while you recover from injuries. And, sadly, the uninsured motorist has little to offer you. Unfortunately, this is a scenario I see nearly every day in Texas. In fact, Texas leads the nation in uninsured motorist, And the laws are insufficient to prosecute and hold accountable those who decide to drive without insurance.
As I have told my clients for years, the only way to protect yourself from uninsured motorists is by purchasing two separate types of insurance coverage. First, all Texans should purchase uninsured and underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage. Second, I’ll text and should also purchase personal injury protection coverage, often referred to as PIP. As I often tell my clients, driving in Texas without UIM coverage and PIP coverage is like playing Russian roulette – it’s simply a poor choice.
So, let’s talk about these two types of insurance coverages for moment. Let’s start with PIP insurance.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
Personal injury protection is additional coverage that you purchase from your own insurance company. In fact, under Texas law insurance providers must offer you PIP coverage, and if you decline coverage, you must sign a document stating that you have declined this coverage.
After an accident, many people are but have PIP coverage are hesitant to utilize it for fear that their insurance rates will increase. However, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, it is against the law in Texas for insurance company to raise your rates simply because you utilize your PIP coverage. PIP coverage is extra protection that you pay for, and as I often tell my clients failing to utilize your PIP coverage is like holding a winning lottery ticket but refusing to cash it in-which obviously makes no sense.
One of the real benefits of PIP coverage is that you can often times make a PIP claim quickly, and receive some money to assist you with your medical bills and lost wages while you are receiving treatment and recovering from your injuries.
The second coverage that I recommend all Texans purchase is Uninsured/Underinsured Coverage (UM/UIM).
Uninsured/Underinsured Coverage (UM/UIM)
UM/UIM coverage protects you in two different ways. First of all, if you’re here by driver with no insurance at all, or if you have been the victim of a hit-and-run accident, you’re under insured motorist coverage is there to provide you with compensation up to the amount of coverage you have purchased. I generally recommend having at least $50,000.00, but preferably $100,000, in uninsured motorist coverage.
Secondly, if your histories car accident with someone who has minimum limits Insurance coverage, which is generally $30,000 in Texas, it is very likely that your medical bills Will exceed the available $30,000 in coverage. In this case, you’re under insured motorist protection Will compensate you the difference between the other drivers limits up to the amount you have selected in underinsured motorist protection. In other words, it will step in to provide you with some additional coverage to pay for your medical bills lost wages and pain and suffering.
Because Texas has extremely low minimum coverage limits, especially considering the rising cost of healthcare, I think it is essential for every text to carry at least $50,000 in UM/UIM protection. This added coverage does not cost much, and will be in valuable to you and your family if you’re involved in an accident by someone who either has no insurance, or very little insurance coverage.
In most cases involving UM/UIM insurance coverage, the person claiming this coverage will almost always need to be represented by an attorney. This is because, unfortunately, a person’s own insurance carrier will often deny or try to minimize their claims. After all, they are an insurance company, and they do not make billions of dollars every year by treating others fairly, which includes their own insured.
If you have been seriously injured by a driver without insurance, or by someone without sufficient insurance to cover your claim, it is important that you consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer in order to understand and protect your right following an accident. Barrus Injury Lawyers offers a free consultation, and our no fee guarantee ensures that you will never pay a fee unless we win your case. Give us a call at (210) 593-8709 or request a free consultation via our website.