If you are injured in an auto accident with an uninsured motorist, there are several coverages that may come into play with your claim. Of course, if you have uninsured motorist coverage (UM) , it will take the place of the liability insurance that the other driver should have had. But what if you also have personal injury protection (PIP)?
In Texas, your insurance company is entitled to take a credit for any amounts paid under the PIP coverage. Here’s how it works. Let’s say you are involved in an accident and have medical expenses of $2,000. If your bodily injury claim is worth $5,500, then your PIP will pay $2,000 for the medical expenses and the remaining $3,500 of your claim is paid under the UM portion of your policy.
At the same time, let’s say your medical expenses are $10,000 and you only had PIP of $2,500. Then the PIP will pay out the entire $2,500 in benefits, and the rest of the value of your claim is paid from the UM portion of your policy.
But what if your claim is worth more than the combined PIP and UM coverage? If your carried $2,500 in PIP benefits, and $30,000 in UM benefits, then the total amount of coverage that is available for your bodily injury claim is $32,500. Therefore, if your claim is worth more than this amount, then your insurance company will pay the total benefits of the PIP and then pay the total benefits of the UM coverage.
An attorney can get the most value out of your claim because they have the education and experience to properly evaluate and present your case to the insurance adjuster. An attorney also holds the threat of filing a lawsuit which is something an unrepresented person cannot do themselves.
Your attorney can also help you protect your insurance benefits. If your doctor collects the PIP directly, then you lose the opportunity to control the total funds of your settlement. If you hire an attorney, your attorney can take steps to secure your PIP benefits until the entire claim is settled. Then your lawyer will try to work out a compromise with your doctor on the medical expenses based upon the total value of your claim. This way, you get the benefit of the PIP rather than the whole amount being paid solely to the medical providers.