When you are in an auto accident in Dallas or elsewhere in Texas, you have to consider how you are going to recover from the property damage and injuries. Will you be forced to incur the cost yourself, or can you get your insurance or the other driver’s insurance to pay for the damage? Following a crash, you can make a first- or third-party insurance claim, or both, and pursue compensation for your property damage, medical bills, pain and suffering and more.
First-party insurance claims and third-party insurance claims differ in a number of significant ways. A Dallas personal injury attorney from Brooker Law can advise you of your rights during each process, and if you wish, handle the insurance claim process on your behalf. We are skilled in negotiating settlements with our clients’ own insurers and at-fault driver’s insurance companies.
Texas Auto Insurance Requirements
Every state requires drivers to carry a certain amount of liability insurance in case they cause an accident. In Texas, all drivers must have at least bodily injury coverage of at least $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident. They also must have property damage coverage of at least $25,000 per accident. You may see this displayed as 30/60/25 coverage.
Texas requires that all auto insurance policies in the state include personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. PIP coverage pays for your and your passengers’ medical expenses, lost wages, and certain other non-medical expenses arising from an accident. If you do not wish to pay for PIP coverage, you must inform the company in writing.
Additionally, Texas law requires insurance companies to offer you uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. This type of policy can pay for your medical bills or property damage (depending on the type of policy) if you are injured in a crash in which the other driver lacks insurance, or their coverage is too low for your damages. It also is helpful if you suffer property damage or injuries in a hit and run. If you do not want UM/UIM coverage, you must tell the insurer in writing.
First-Party Insurance Claims
A first-party insurance claim is one you make against your own insurance policy. This is true for any type of insurance coverage, including liability, PIP, and UM/UIM coverage after a car crash. You are the policyholder and considered the first party. The insurance company is the second party.
Your rights and the insurance company’s obligations are defined by law, but also predominantly by the insurance policy. Your policy is a legally binding contract as long as you have been making full and timely payments.
After an accident, you may file a claim against your PIP policy to get your medical expenses and lost wages covered. An insurance adjuster will be assigned to your case. They will investigate the accident and your injuries to determine whether the current circumstances and expenses are covered by the policy.
If your claim is approved, then your insurance will payout based on the policy. That being said, there are many times when an insurance company fails to properly approve a claim or, despite approving a claim, does not provide the payout it should under the policy.
If at any time you believe your insurance company is not treating you fairly, you should contact a Texas personal injury lawyer at Brooker Law. An attorney may be able to represent you in a bad faith claim against your insurance company.
Third-Party Insurance Claims
In a third-party insurance claim, you file a claim for compensation against another individual’s insurance policy. Following a collision in Dallas that was caused by a negligent motorist, you will file a third-party claim against that driver’s liability insurance.
The other driver is the policyholder, the first party, while the insurer is the second party. Under these circumstances, you are the third party.
It is important to realize that during a third-party insurance claim, you do not have any contractual rights with the insurance company. The insurer’s legal duties are to their policyholder, not you. Because of this distinction, we recommend that you be represented by an experienced Dallas personal injury attorney who can ensure your legal rights and interests are protected throughout the claims process.
If the insurer wrongly denies your claim or refuses to settle for a fair amount, you may be entitled to pursue compensation from the at-fault party through a personal injury lawsuit.
Were You Injured in an Accident in Dallas, TX?
If you were hurt in an accident in Dallas and another person or business is responsible, you should speak with a Texas personal injury lawyer at Brooker Law. We are highly experienced in investigating a wide range of accidents to determine what happened, who was directly at fault, and who is liable for compensating the accident victims. We also will identify all relevant insurance policies and guide you through a first- or third-party claim or both.