What is the Purpose of Obtaining Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
Although every driver is required to be covered by auto liability insurance — insurance that covers for another driver’s expenses if you cause an automobile accident — some drivers either have no coverage, coverage that has lapsed, or coverage that will not sufficiently cover damages in the event that they cause an accident. According to the Insurance Information Institute, about one in eight drivers were uninsured in the United States in 2012.
If an uninsured or underinsured driver crashes into your vehicle and you are injured, you may be stuck with thousands of dollars in out of pocket expenses.
In these cases, it is vital to have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, sometimes referred to as UM/UIM coverage. In some states, it is required to have UM/UIM auto coverage. In other states, like Texas, by law you are afforded the opportunity to purchase UM/UIM coverage with your auto insurance policy. It is crucial to purchase this optional coverage to protect you, your passengers, and your finances.
What is Covered by Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
Purchasing UM/UIM coverage can protect you from having to pay out of pocket for a variety of expenses, including:
- Medical expenses for you and your passengers
- Funeral expenses
- Damage to your vehicle
- Rental car
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages from missing work
- Permanent disability
In addition, if you are the victim of a hit-and-run auto accident or if you were struck by a vehicle as a pedestrian, UM/UIM coverage can help you get the compensation you need for the damages that you incurred.
Have you been involved in a hit-and-run crash? Learn more about your legal options in our blog post: What can I recover for a Texas hit-and-run injury?
How does Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage Work?
In the event of an accident caused by another driver, you may discover that the adverse driver’s liability coverage limits are not sufficient enough to cover your damages. If, for example, your damages total $50,000 but the adverse driver’s liability coverage only covers $25,000, if you have an underinsured motorist coverage policy (with a limit such as $50,000), your insurance company will pick up the remaining difference of $25,000.
Without UM/UIM coverage in this scenario, you will likely have to sue the adverse driver to recover the difference. In many cases, uninsured or underinsured drivers will not have the assets to pay for the remaining damages, which means that you will have to foot the bill for the remaining costs.
If you’re unsure if you have UM/UIM coverage, contact your auto insurance provider. Purchasing this coverage can save your and your family from unexpected and expensive costs in the event of an accident.
Injured in an Accident with an Uninsured or Underinsured Driver?
If you have been the victim of an accident involving a driver without a sufficient amount of liability coverage to compensate you for your injuries, contact Thomas J. Henry. Call our law offices today for a free case review — available 24/7, nights and weekends.
There are often important procedures and processes involved in receiving compensation in uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage claims. Our experienced accident attorneys can help you get the full amount of compensation that you are owed and ensure that the insurance companies are looking after your best interests.
Do I Need an Attorney if the Insurance Company is Cooperating?
Generally, it is best to speak to an attorney following an auto accident which results in injury, death, or contested liability, even if it seems like your insurance company and the insurance company of the at-fault driver are cooperating.
This is simply due to the fact that insurance companies are in the business of making money. As such, it is in their best interest to low-ball injured victims on settlement offers, limit liability wherever possible, or look for opportunities to deny injury claims outright.
What Do I Risk By Not Contacting an Attorney?
The risks of not contacting an attorney after an accident resulting in injury or death cannot be overstated –you are risking your entire claim to recovery.
Insurance adjusters are familiar with claim procedures and motorist liability. When an insurance adjuster calls you with questions concerning your crash, they are looking for information that limits the liability of their driver and information that can be used to downplay the extent of your injuries.
Further, adjusters will often ask that you provide a recorded statement concerning the crash. While they may say that the sole purpose of the recorded statement is to gather information needed to move your claim forward, the statement can actually used to erode your case and right to recovery.
Providing a recorded statement without consulting with an attorney can often result in:
- Unintentional inconsistencies – Crashes are hectic and disorienting. As time moves on, you will likely remember less and less about the events leading up to and following a collision. When an insurance company goes back to compare all the statements you made over a period of weeks or months, they will claim that any inconsistencies were attempts by you to mislead the company and label them as lies before a judge or a jury.
- Exposure to trick questions– Representatives often ask trick questions or word their inquiries in a way meant to trick or trap you. You may even be pressured into agreeing to facts that are not completely accurate just to get the representative off your back. Even an aggravated response of “I don’t know, maybe” or “I guess” can come back to haunt you later.
- Exposure to leading statements – Even a statement that seems innocent on its surface can damage your claim depending on your response. For example, by giving a positive response to statements like “I hope your back is starting to feel a bit better” or “Wow, it’s a miracle you weren’t more seriously injured”, you could be tricked into understating the severity of your injuries.
- Failure to report undiagnosed injuries – Most doctors agree that the full extent of any injuries suffered in a car accident may not be evident until several days after an accident has occurred. If a claims adjuster contacts you within 24 hours of a crash and asks about your injuries, chances are you will not be able to provide a complete list of injuries. This will not stop the insurance company from questioning and attempting to dismiss any injuries that became symptomatic after that initial recorded statement was made.
- Provide material for cross-examination – By the time deposition or trial occurs, chances are the defense counsel will have reviewed your recorded statements dozens of times. They will craft questions for cross-examination with the understanding that you likely don’t remember everything you said or agreed to in that recorded statement. And when you misremember or contradict yourself in a moment of confusion, they will try to claim your misstatement proves your testimony is not credible.
Are There Risks Associated with Hiring an Attorney?
A reputable personal injury attorney will work on a contingency fee basis. This means they will not collect any attorney’s fees or litigation expenses unless they win your case. At Thomas J. Henry, we call this the “No Fee Guarantee.”
“The No Fee Guarantee helps ensure my clients have faith in me as their attorney because I take on all the risk,” Thomas J. Henry stated. “I only take cases I believe I can win. I spend the money needed to develop the case and take it to trial. My clients can have faith in me because I have their back.”
Additionally, Thomas J. Henry offers free consultations to all injured victims. This means an attorney will look at the facts of your case, free of charge and with no obligation, and recommend a favorable course of action.
Taking all this into consideration, there is really no risk associated with contacting a personal injury attorney following your crash.
What Should I Consider Before Hiring a Texas Auto Accident Attorney?
There are multiple factors to consider when deciding whether or not you need legal representation following an auto accident. While every auto accident is unique, there are several situations in which you should definitely consider contacting an experienced auto accident attorney.
- Did a serious injury or death occur? If you or a loved one was seriously injured or killed in an accident, contact an attorney immediately. Hiring an attorney in a timely manner can help protect your rights and ensure that essential evidence is preserved. Serious injuries include broken bones, soft tissue damage, head and face injuries, neck and back injuries, or any other injury requiring hospitalization.
- Did the crash result in loss of wages? If an accident has cost you time away from work and resulted in lost income, you may be able to recover those lost wages from the responsible party.
- Was a commercial vehicle is involved? If you were involved in an accident that involved a commercial truck, such as a delivery truck or an 18-wheeler, it is better to err on the side of caution. Accidents involving company vehicles can become complicated very quickly as company vehicles are subject to additional laws and regulations. You need an attorney who has the experience and resources to navigate these complex cases.
- Is there contested liability? If there is any dispute about who caused the accident, an attorney can help you make sure that any fault determinations are correct. In Texas, civil litigation is decided on preponderance of evidence. This means that a party found to be 51% liable or more is unable to recover damages. Additionally, insurance companies will often dispute liability and assert their policyholder was not entirely responsible for a crash to mitigate payouts.
- Will the insurance company offer a fair settlement? If it appears an insurance company is not going to offer a fair settlement, it is time to contact an attorney. Insurance companies are in the business of making money – as such, they will attempt to payout as little as possible. If you believe you deserve more than what an insurance company is offering, do not be afraid to seek legal representation.
- Is the insurance company ignoring you? Some insurance companies will drag their feet and ignore your phone calls as a tactic. The hope is that you will be so fed up with the process by the time they make an offer that you will accept a settlement that is less than what you deserve. If you feel that an insurance company is ignoring you or attempting to delay the closure of your claim, contact an attorney to apply pressure.
- Was your claim denied? Occasionally, and insurer will attempt to deny a justified claim outright. If you feel that your claim should be covered under a policy, contact an attorney.
- How well do you know your rights as an accident victim? If you are ever unsure about your rights following an accident or have questions about how you should proceed, contact Thomas J. Henry for a free consultation. One of our experienced personal injury attorneys will review your case and help you determine if legal representation is right for you. Our attorneys are available to assist you 24/7, nights and weekends.
Do I Need to Contact My Insurance Company About My Texas Car Crash?
If you have been involved in a car crash in Texas, it is very important that you notify your insurance company to inform them about the accident. However, you may wish to contact an attorney prior to providing a recorded statement.
Why Is Notification Important?
There is a common misconception that you do not have to notify your insurance company of an accident if you are not at fault. This is false. If you plan on seeking any damages, whether they be to your vehicle or to your body, notifying your insurance company is necessary.
Insurance companies provide a number of services, which you are already paying for! These include towing coverage, medical expense coverage, and collision coverage. In order to take advantages of any of these coverages on your policy, you are required to report the accident to your insurer. Failure to do so in a timely manner may result in coverage being denied.
Another reason it is essential to notify your insurance company is that the other driver may try to say you are at fault and pursue a claim against you. In such a situation, your insurance company is required to provide a defense to you free of charge.
What Precautions Should I Take When Calling My Insurer?
While you are required to notify your insurer of an accident, you should not be pressured into providing a recorded statement until the full extent of your injuries are known. As such, it is recommended that you keep your notification as simple as possible. Try to limit your call to:
- The fact that you were involved in a crash
- General background information concerning the crash
- Date of the accident
- Time of the accident
- Location of the accident
- Names and addresses for all parties involved
Why Should I Refrain From Providing a Recorded Statement?
Recorded statements are admissible in court and tend to carry significant weight even though the statements are not made under oath. Making a recorded statement before understanding the extent of your injuries or truly understanding how a crash occurred can result in confusion, inconsistencies, and may weaken you claim to compensation.
It may seem like your insurer is on your side at first, but that can quickly change if you found to be even partially responsible for your accident. Statements made to your insurance company can then be used against you to limit your insurance company’s financial liability.
An experienced auto accident attorney can help you prepare a recorded statement that accurately reflects your accident and your injuries. Your attorney can also help you identify potentially leading questions that could damage your credibility or limit your insurance company’s financial liability.
Contact an Experienced Car Crash Attorney
Our attorneys are available to respond to auto accidents at any hour, day or night. Our lawyers understand that the immediate acquisition, or acquiring, of evidence is paramount to understanding how the accident occurred. Remember, your choice does matter. Contact our offices- we are available 24/7, nights and weekends.
Cellphone Video Shows Alleged Road Rage Crash
Two men on their way to work in Santa Clarita, California witnessed an alleged case of road rage which led to multiple cars crashing on the 14 Freeway.
Details of the Violent Collision
According to the Washington Post, Chris Taber and Tim Morrison were driving to work on June 21st when a motorcycle and a silver sedan drove past them at high speeds. The two men decided to film what was happening in front of them.
The video shows the motorcyclist driving up alongside the silver sedan and kicking the side of the car. Then, the sedan suddenly veers towards the motorcyclist and hits a cement guard wall. Upon hitting the wall, the sedan rebounds off and slams directly into a white pickup truck, causing the pickup to flip over in the middle of the highway.
Nobody was killed in the crash, but the driver of the pickup sustained some injuries.
A report from ABC7 with a statement from California Highway Patrol officer Josh Greengard states that the motorcyclist fled the scene of the incident, so it’s “technically a hit-and-run”. The officer said that they would like all sides of the story to put together what led to the crash, and to find a definitive cause.
Road Rage Statistics
The information provided below is from the American Safety Council:
- Aggressive driving causes 66% of traffic fatalities.
- Half of drivers who are on the receiving end of an aggressive behavior while driving admit that they respond with more aggressive behavior.
- Road rage attributed to 218 murders and 12,610 injuries over a seven year period.
4 Dead, 9 Hospitalized in Collin Co. Collision
Details of the Fatal North Texas Crash
According to KXII, the crash occurred around 4 pm at the intersection of Texas 121 and County Road 528.
Reports indicate the crash began when a car that was traveling northbound on Texas 121 was rear-ended by a pickup. The impact caused the car to spin into the southbound lane where it was hit by another car which then drifted into the northbound lane and struck a second pickup.
Abigail Kendall, 15, Brianna Gesino, 15, Wayne Trimbe, 51, and Julie Trimble, 51, were killed in the collision. At least nine others were injured in the crash with two being airlifted from the scene.
The accident remains under investigation.
Texas Car Crash Statistics
The following information was provided by Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT):
- 3,773 people were killed in car crashes in 2016, marking a 5.45-percent from the 3,578 deaths recorded in 2015.
- Of the traffic-fatalities recorded in 2016, 1,942 were attributed to accidents that occurred in rural area of the state.
- An additional 265,076 people were injured in car crashes in Texas in 2016.
- TxDOT estimates a reportable crash occurred in Texas every 57 seconds in 2016.
Alleged Car Thief Causes Fatal Accident in La Marque
Police Investigating Car Theft and Fatal Crash
According to KHOU, a 26-year-old man was fleeing Texas City after stealing a Lexus from when he slammed into a Ford F-150 pickup at the intersection of Highway 3 and FM 1765 at around 10 pm Sunday.
Both of the vehicles caught fire, and the driver of the pickup was pronounced dead at the scene. The identity of the deceased has not been released.
The suspect survived the crash and was taken to UTMB in Galveston. His condition is currently unknown.
Police are still investigating the crash as well as the initial car theft. Authorities believe the owner of the Lexus may have been injured in the carjacking.
Texas Traffic Accident Statistics
- The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) recorded 3,773 traffic fatalities in Texas in 2016, marking a 5.45-percent increase from the 3,578 deaths reported in 2015.
- Of the deaths recorded in 2016, 1,942 occurred in rural areas of the state. 814 deaths were associated with crashes that occurred at or in relation to an intersection.
- An additional 265,076 people were injured in traffic accidents in 2016.
- Based on reportable crash data for 2016, TxDOT estimates that:
- One person was killed in a traffic crash in Texas every 2 hours and 20 minutes.
- One person was injured every 1 minute and 59 seconds.
- A reportable crash occurred every 57 seconds.
12-Year-Old Killed in Donley County, Crash
About the Fatal Donley County Collision
According to KFDA, DPS authorities were called to the scene of a crash on U.S. 287 around 6:00 pm Saturday.
Authorities say Katherine Monroe, 43, was traveling eastbound on US 287 about a mile west of Hedley when she was rear-ended by a vehicle driven by Erika Roberts, 34. Reports indicate Monroe was slowing down to complete a left turn when the collision occurred.
12-year-old Allison Monroe, who was riding in the backseat of Monroe’s vehicle, was pronounced dead at the scene. Katherine Monroe and an unidentified 10-year-old female passenger were air-lifted to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.
Roberts’ vehicle caught fire following the crash, but she was able to escape uninjured.
Texas Car Crash Statistics
- The Texas Department of Transportation recorded 3,531 traffic-related deaths in 2105. This averages to about one death every 2 hours and 29 minutes.
- 1,925 of those deaths were attributed to crashes that occurred in rural areas of the state.
- An additional 246,335 people were injured in auto accidents in Texas in 2015, or one injury every 2 minutes and 8 seconds.
- Based on reportable crash data for 2015, TxDOT estimates a reportable crash occurred in Texas every 61 seconds.
2-Year-Old Girl Killed in Jones County Crash
Details of the Fatal Jones County Crash
According to KTXS, the single-vehicle accident occurred around 9 pm Sunday about nine miles northeast of Hawley, Texas.
Taylynn Carrol Cumpton, 2, was pronounced dead early Monday morning after being transported to Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth. The driver of the vehicle, Marleigh Patterson, 19, was taken to Hendrick Medical Center with serious injuries.
Authorities say Patterson was driving south on FM 1226 when her vehicle went into a skid and struck a tree. The crash remains under investigation.
Texas Car Crash Statistics
The following information was provided by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT):
- 3,531 people were killed in traffic accidents in Texas in 2015. This averages to about one death every 2 hours and 29 minutes.
- Single vehicle, run-off the road accidents accounted for 1,255 deaths.
- An additional 246,335 people were injured in car crashes in Texas in 2015.
- TxDOT estimates a reportable crash occurred in Texas every 61 seconds in 2015.
3 Dead, 2 Injured in Martin County Crash
Details of the Beeline Highway Collision
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the collision involved a 1993 Honda Civic and a 2003 Mercury Marquis and occurred around 6:24 am.
Early reports did not indicate which vehicle crossed the center line; however, WPTV did confirm that three occupants of the Civic died in the crash.
Two occupants of the Marquis were airlifted to St. Mary’s Medical Center where they were listed in critical condition.
Witnesses to the crash are urged to call Florida Highway Patrol at (561)357-4000.
National Car Crash Statistics
The following information was provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
- 35,092 people were killed in traffic accidents in the U.S. in 2015.
- This marked a 7.2-percent increase from the 32,744 traffic-related deaths recorded in 2014 – the largest percentage increase in nearly 50 years.
- Of those killed in 2015:
- 22,441 were occupants of passengers vehicles
- 5,376 were pedestrians
- 4,976 were motorcyclists
- 818 were pedalcyclists
- 667 were occupants of large trucks
- An additional 2,443,000 people were injured in auto accidents in 2015.
2-Year-Old Dies from Head Injuries Sustained in Crash
Details of the Crash and the Toddler’s Death
According to KFDM, the child sustained significant head injuries Thursday when the car she was a passenger in was struck head-on by a pickup on FM 770.
Police believe the driver of the pickup, 63-year-old Billy Ray Briscoe, Sr., fell asleep behind the wheel, resulting in his truck drifting across the center line and into oncoming traffic.
Briscoe and the driver of the other vehicle, 24-year-old Cody Norman, were hospitalized with minor injuries.
Troopers said the toddler was properly secured in a car seat when the accident occurred.
Texas Car Accident Statistics
- The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) recorded 3,531 traffic-related deaths in 2015. This averages to one death every 2 hours and 29 minutes.
- 1,925 of those deaths occurred in rural areas of the state and 807 were associated with head-on collisions.
- An additional 246,335 people were injured in car crashes in Texas in 2015 with 17,011 people suffering serious injuries.
- On average, a reportable crash occurred every 61 seconds in 2015.