How a UIM or UM Claim Works
Texas car insurance law requires that all motorists carry basic liability coverage in the event a driver causes a car accident. The minimum level of insurance coverage is rarely enough to cover all the actual expenses of a car accident, including medical bills, lost wages or salary, property damage, and other general damages. Drivers without enough insurance to provide adequate compensation for actual damages following a car wreck are called underinsured motorists, or UIM for short. Drivers without any car insurance are called uninsured motorists, or UM for short. Uninsured motorists can also include hit-and-run drivers or unidentified drivers who cause an accident.
By law, your car insurance company is required to offer additional insurance coverage that covers your expenses if you are in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist. This type of insurance is called UM/UIM coverage. Take a quick look at your insurance policy: if you have uninsured and/or underinsured motorist accident coverage, it will be on the face of your policy and list three numbers you can recover from your own insurance company if the other party is uninsured or underinsured. These three amounts are known as bodily injury damage, maximum injury coverage, and property damage coverage. A policy that states “UM/UIM 20/40/15” is interpreted to make that the insurance provider will pay up to $20,000 for bodily injury to any one person, up to a maximum of $40,000 to all people involved in the accident, and up to $5,000 for any property damage by all parties combined if the other driver who caused the accident is uninsured or underinsured.
Bodily injury damage coverage provides for medical expenses, pain, suffering, disfigurement, mental turmoil, lost income, and permanent disability. There is no deductible to meet with bodily injury coverage.
Property damage coverage provides for damage to your car or most other property in the car at the time of the accident. This coverage also provides for a rental car while your personal car is with a mechanic for repair. Property damage coverage requires a deductible to be paid by you and is set by the state at a minimum of $250.
If you carry uninsured or underinsured coverage as part of your personal car insurance policy, these amounts are available to you in the event you are involved in an accident where the other party cannot meet their legal and financial obligations to you. However, your means of collecting this money falls under the normal personal injury claim obligations whereby you have the burden to prove that your own insurance company has to compensate you. To perfectly clear, your insurance company will not just give you money. You have the burden to prove that they should compensate you. Technically, you have up to four years after the date of the accident to claim any UM/UIM benefits available to you through your own insurance company. The primary way that your attorney will compel your insurance company to compensate you is to through the threat of filing a bad-faith lawsuit if they unfairly deny your claim. This lawsuit can only be filed within a year from the date of the unfair denial so the aforementioned four-year period is largely irrelevant and the issue should be addressed sooner than later.
Be warned: even your own insurance company will be reluctant to provide you with any funds following your car wreck. It is strongly recommended you contact our Law Office to protect your legal rights to your own insurance coverage – or risk settling for much less than you rightfully deserve.
If you do not carry this type of coverage, other options may be available, depending on your personal situation. These options vary depending on the severity and necessity of your particular case but may provide you and your family with enough compensation that you need. A Texas car wreck lawyer experienced in cases of uninsured and underinsured motorists will help you get the compensation you and your family are entitled to following a car wreck in Texas. Call him today to determine the best options for your family and to get the compensation you deserve.