There’s no blueprint for how to proceed in securing a financial recovery for financial and other losses related to bodily injury caused by a semi-truck accident. The complicating factors vary for every case, but one thing many semi-truck accidents have in common is that they leave the victims with distressing injuries and questions regarding compensation to cover medical expenses.
Semi-truck accidents can differ from ordinary wrecks in that there is often a third party involved: the company or carrier that employs the truck driver. This can make maneuvering through the insurance claims process quite convoluted, as there will often be a fight about whether that carrier is liable for the driver’s conduct. The injured party may not know whether they should rely on their own car insurance to pay for medical treatment and other losses related to their bodily injury or pursue a claim against one of the other parties involved.
We advise consulting (at no cost) with a semi-truck accident lawyer at FVF before you make any decisions about how to move forward with your case, but we hope this guide will help you better understand the circumstances in which you might need to use your own car insurance to obtain medical expense compensation.
Were You at Fault for the Accident?
First and foremost, Texas law only requires the semi-truck driver or their carrier to pay for your bodily injury damages if they were responsible for causing the accident. If you caused the accident, your legal ability to recover damages from the other insurance company will be limited or even non-existent.
If the semi-truck driver caused the accident, compensation for your bodily injuries will typically be taken out of the at-fault driver’s liability coverage. Because semi-truck drivers are hired by commercial carriers, the carrier’s insurance policy may ultimately be responsible for paying for those damages and expenses. A professional semi-truck accident lawyer can help you sort through these policies and decide if and how to pursue compensation.
You might not have to file a claim with your own car insurance company if you are not at fault for the accident.
If the semi-truck driver was responsible for causing the accident, whether you should consider filing a claim for damages relating to your bodily injury, such as medical expenses, lost wages, physical pain, and other losses to your quality of life, will depend on a number of factors. Typically, the two most important factors include the type and amount of coverage you have and the amount of liability coverage the semi-truck driver has.
What Kind of Car Insurance Coverage Do You Have Available?
In certain instances, you may want to use your own auto insurance coverage for harms and losses related to your bodily injury. Generally, there are three types of relevant insurance coverage: Personal Injury Protection coverage (PIP), Medical Payment coverage (MedPay), and Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage (UIM).
PIP insurance covers medical care and expenses for yourself and any passengers in your vehicle, as well as other costs and expenses associated with the accident, including lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, and funeral costs. Texas requires auto insurers to include PIP in all policies; however, drivers can elect to decline this insurance if they provide written notice to their insurance provider. Policy amounts usually range from $2,500 to $10,000, though some insurance carriers will provide much higher coverage amounts.
MedPay, on the other hand, pays for medical care and funeral costs only. That means you cannot use MedPay to cover lost wages, household expenses, or any other costs associated with your accident. In Texas, MedPay insurance is completely optional. However, you can use it to complement existing PIP or health insurance benefits. Importantly, unlike PIP, if you use your MedPay coverage, you might have to reimburse your car insurance company for those benefits if you ultimately collect money from the semi-truck driver’s liability insurance carrier. Like PIP, MedPay coverage amounts are typically $2,500 to $10,000.
UIM insurance covers almost all types of harms and losses (financial and otherwise) related to your bodily injury that the semi-truck driver’s liability insurance would cover. UIM insurance only applies, though, if the semi-truck driver is uninsured or does not have enough liability insurance to cover all the damage done.
Before deciding whether or not to file a claim through your auto insurance provider, it’s important to review your policy and determine all of the following.
- Whether you have elected for PIP, MedPay, and/or UIM
- The coverage limits of your plan
- The amount of the semi-truck driver’s insurance coverage
- How immediately you need access to money
- Whether you are required to reimburse your insurer for payments if you receive compensation for your injuries through a third party
How Much Coverage Does the Other Driver Have?
It’s unlikely that a commercial vehicle will be entirely uninsured, but it’s possible that it may be underinsured — meaning the amount of money you are owed for your losses exceeds the amount of insurance coverage that can pay for it. There are many instances where this could be the case, such as in catastrophic injuries or accidents resulting in death. Furthermore, it might be necessary to use your UIM if there are multiple people hurt in the semi-truck accident and there is not enough insurance to go around.
Even if using your UIM coverage is necessary, navigating through the insurance maze can be very challenging. Texas law is not very favorable to people who have to use their UIM insurance, often resulting in UIM carriers abusing their customers with unfairly low settlement offers. Additionally, it is important to fully understand all the potential sources of recovery, such as layers of liability insurance, before deciding whether it is even necessary to file a UIM claim. For these reasons, you should at least consult with an experienced semi-truck accident lawyer before trying to obtain coverage on your own.
Consult a Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in an accident, take advantage of a free, no-pressure evaluation with FVF’s semi truck accident lawyers. We will discuss the best route for seeking damages to cover your medical expenses. If your insurance or the other driver’s insurance is inadequate, you may find that pursuing a legal case is your best option. Contact us today to receive the support and guidance you need to pursue medical reimbursement.