Many Texas drivers take the option of adding Uninsured/Underinsured insurance protection when buying auto insurance. Since many San Antonio and Texas automobiles are not insured, or only have minimum required liability insurance, paying for this coverage makes sense. If you are in an auto accident with a driver that causes serious injury, and the at-fault driver does not have insurance, or does not have enough insurance to properly compensate you for your losses, the uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) insurance protection on your policy is supposed to compensate you for any losses that are not covered by the at-fault driver.
For years, Texas courts held that since an injured person was dealing with their own insurance company, and seeking compensation for losses covered by UM/UIM protection, that an insurance company must act in good faith and reasonably pay those claims. There was an added consideration – since the insurance policy is a contract – Texas law provides that when a contract is breached, the party in violation owes attorney fees as an additional penalty. Therefore, when a UM/UIM claim was submitted, the insurance company acted reasonably to avoid paying additional penalties in the form of attorney fees.
However, in late 2006 the Texas Supreme Court decided that insurance companies do not have an obligation to pay attorney fees until a person takes the company to court, and obtains a verdict against the company, and then, ONLY, if the insurance company does not pay within 30 days, can attorney fees be added. Essentially, today, UM/UIM insurance companies have been placed in the position of being able to sit back and force their policy holders to go to court, without incurring any penalty. All the while, the insurance company is earning interest on the money, and hoping that policy holders will not have the stamina to fight to the end.
If you have been injured by an uninsured driver, or if the injuries you have received exceed the liability coverage of the at-fault driver, you need experienced help fighting these claims if you want to recover your legal losses.