Legal Rights of Spouses Injured as Passengers in Fort Worth Car Wrecks

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. This is why hiring a personal injury attorney would work for your benefit. Personal injury attorneys understand how the other side (the insurance company that wants to deny your claim) works, and here at the Anderson Law Firm we have ample amounts of experience dealing with stubborn insurance companies. Not only that we have an excellent track record of providing our clients with the compensation they deserve, and even more. Tired of dealing with the insurance company? Are they not answering or returning your calls? Read this article, and you may find the answer to what options you have available to follow. 

Insurance and Texas Law

Not only does the law in Texas provide a means for drivers who have been injured in a car wreck to pursue the compensation they may be entitled to receive, it is also legal (and encouraged) for any passenger who was in the vehicle at the time of the accident to pursue compensation if they were injured. 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.

Get the Help You Deserve

One of the biggest and most important reasons that spouses of a driver who was hit by another driver and have sustained broken bones, muscle spasms, or other different types of injures go to a personal injury attorney is because they can provide them two very important things. To begin, through what is called a LOP (Letter of Protection), victims can seek medical attention without having to pay for it. Letters of Protection are used to make sure that the victim seeks the required medical help while the case progresses and it is a way of ensuring a doctor or clinic that the medical bills that will be generated will be paid for when the settlement is finished. Equally important, drivers and their spouses who have sustained any injuries can be entitled to get compensation for their medical bills (as recently stated), lost wages due to time taken off to treat any injuries, pain, suffering, and much more. Contact the Anderson Law Firm today to discuss your case with a board certified Fort Worth personal injury and wrongful death lawyer. 

Hiring an attorney might seem like a strange idea, but it makes perfect sense to do so. Many people believe that lawsuits involved in car accidents are aimed for the driver themselves, when the party that actually handles the lawsuit and is responsible to paying the injured party their compensation is the insurance company of the at-fault driver. Also, it is important to remember that due to the fact that you did not cause the accident, it would not be fair for you to pay for any of the accident-related expenses that came with it, including property damage, medical expenses, time taken off work, and the like (as will be discussed in the section below). The only task at hand that you should be focused about is getting a full and complete recovery, not figuring out how to pay for a wreck you did not cause.

Mark A. Anderson
Board Certified Personal Injury Lawyer in Fort Worth, Texas