Under Texas law, anyone who has been injured in a motor vehicle collision resulting from someone else’s negligence has the right to make a legal claim for compensation against the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. Unfortunately, as a Fort Worth personal injury lawyer, I know that this is not always as straightforward as it should be, which is why it is so important that injured car accident victims always hire an attorney to help them get the justice – and the compensation – they deserve.
The fact of the matter is that insurance companies detest paying out on personal injury claims. Why? Because the compensation involved typically runs into tens of thousands of dollars at minimum. Over the years, insurance companies have become very experienced at finding ways to either deny such claims outright or otherwise to pay out as little money as possible.
One of the ways in which the insurance companies attempt to do this is by asserting a family exclusion clause in their auto liability policies. The family exclusion basically means that if the driver’s husband, wife, or children were injured as a result of their driver’s negligence, they couldn’t make a claim against that insurance policy. This sounds incredibly unfair – and it is, which is why the exclusion is not legally enforceable in Texas. Unfortunately, the insurance adjustor assigned to your case will bank on you not knowing this – and they will point out the clause as the reason why you cannot claim any compensation, despite your injuries.
In actual fact, the Texas Supreme Court has ruled that since the state mandates a minimum amount of liability – the purpose of which is to ensure all road users have some compensation available to them in the event of being injured in a traffic accident – then all insurance companies must honor injury claims brought by their insured’s relatives to this minimum limit.
What this means in practical terms is that passengers injured in a car crash where their spouse was the driver at-fault can only recover compensation up to the minimum insurance limit (currently $30,000 in Texas). So even if your husband or wife has $100,000 in liability insurance, the total amount of damages you are entitled to recover is limited to $30,000. However, you may be able to recover additional compensation if your spouse also has personal injury protection (PIP) insurance which is a no-fault form of insurance, which means it should cover you regardless.
Call the Anderson Law Firm today to discuss your case with a board certified Fort Worth personal injury and wrongful death lawyer. Call toll free at 800-354-675 or locally at 817-294-1900.
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