Friday, November 16, 2018

Personal Injury, Recovering All Damages in an Accident You are Entitled to!

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HOUSTON: If you or a significant other suffered bodily injuries in a car accident, there will most likely be several bills that need to be paid by the negligent driver’s insurance!  There will be the ambulance expense, hospital bill, emergency physician’s fee, and more.  If there was health insurance available, the health insurance will cover a portion of those bills leaving the patient’s portion of responsibility for the bill outstanding.  Please note that the first offer of payment for bodily injuries by the negligent driver’s insurance will be unreasonably low.  Most people want to resolve their case immediately and would accept this unjust offer without being properly compensated.  Thus, always talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer who will fight for the true worth of your damages, have all bills paid, and all treatment completed before the case is closed forever.

Never settle with the auto insurance company for your bodily injuries without just compensation!  When you are hit by a negligent driver, their insurance policy should pay all your medical bills depending on policy limits available, ranging from $30,000.00 and up.  However, the insurance company will never offer the correct value of all your medical bills, as it is their job to devalue your case.  Further, if health insurance paid for the bill, which is always significantly less than the original bill, the auto insurance will now value your case at that reduced cost instead of the original bill.  This significantly reduces the value of your case and therefore, how much you recover for your damages.  Thus, do not sign any bodily injury agreement and never settle for less!   It is highly advisable to hold off on using any health insurance to pay for medical bills in order to circumvent this issue so that your case is valued at its full potential.

Further, once your attorney receives policy limits from the at-fault driver and exhausting the policy limits, you are also entitled to underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) compensation from your own insurance which ranges from $30,000.00 and up, depending on your policy.  Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM), protects those involved in an accident with an at-fault driver whose insurance coverage does not cover all damages and/or medical expenses so that you are fairly compensated.  Full coverage also includes Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage to protect those hit by an at-fault driver who does not have any insurance on their vehicle and therefore unable to pay any damages they have caused in an auto accident.  Although, if the negligent driver who caused the accident is affluent and does not have insurance, you may sue this person to recover all damages.  Most often however, uninsured drivers do not have significant assets in which you may attempt to recover from.  

Full coverage policies also include Personal Injury Protection (PIP), usually $2,500.00 and up depending on the policy, allows you to recover your medical expenses no matter who is at fault for the accident.  It is in your best interest to protect yourself with full coverage auto insurance policy so you are not left with outstanding medical bills caused by a negligent driver.

Moreover, hospitals and health insurance companies are both allowed to recover their liens or expenses through one’s recovery against the negligent driver’s insurance but not through one’s own personal insurance policy, as prescribed under the Texas Property Code.  On the other hand, Medicare/Medicaid may seek reimbursement for any payments made for an accident under not only the negligent driver’s auto insurance, but also through one’s own insurance settlement under UM/UIM and PIP.  However, all subrogation claims may be negotiated and reduced down when applicable.  Thus, never settle without having a knowledgeable personal injury attorney on your side!  A good attorney will recover not only your economic damages but non-economic damages such as physical pain and mental anguish.  Additionally, punitive damages, designed to punish the at-fault party, may also be recovered by your attorney.

Mala Sharma

About the Author: Mala Sharma has been practicing family law and personal injury with her family at the Law Offices of Sharma & Associates, founded in 1997.  Mala is chair of the American Bar Association GP Solo and GP Solo YLD division, Board member of the Houston Trial Lawyers Association, President Emeritus of the Houston Northwest Bar Association, and prior board member of the South Asian Bar Association. She is also a member of the Houston Bar Association.  Mala has also been selected as 10 Best Attorneys by the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys, Top 40 Under 40 by the National Trial Lawyers, and also selected Texas Rising Star by Super Lawyers.

This material is available for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.

If you require advice or assistance, you may contact her at office number 281-893-8644 or by email at mala@sharmalaws.net to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.



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