What Is Minimum Liability?
Every motorist has a responsibility, by law, to be insured. Insurance coverage comes in tiers, where you get better coverage for more money. The lowest level of coverage is the “minimum liability.” Minimum liability coverage in Texas is as follows: You can receive up to $30,000 for each individual harmed in a vehicle crash. This amount, however, tops out at $60,000 for all injuries. Property damage tops at $25,000.
As with any law, many people simply want to meet the bare minimum to keep themselves out of trouble. This is especially true when that law requires you to spend money. Some people simply don’t want to pay more than they are required. Others can’t keep up with monthly premiums that are higher than the minimum.
While it’s helpful to have a law that keeps drivers insured, the benefits may not be enough. Because of insurance laws, minimum liability could leave you in a bad situation, even after you’ve received your benefits.
Texas is an at-fault insurance state. Put simply, the driver who caused an accident is responsible for covering everyone’s damages. Their insurance company covers these damages, keeping the driver from having to pay directly.
Take another look at the figures above. Imagine you were injured in a car accident, one that wasn’t your fault. The insurance company can give you no more than $30,000. On paper, that seems like a lot of money. It might even be a large portion of your annual income.
However, consider the cost of medical care. If you are badly injured and need emergency care, the medical bills will be significant. The more serious an injury, the more money it costs to fix the damage. You will undergo several tests and treatments. There will be return visits, follow-ups, new tests and treatments, and possibly surgeries. Sometimes an injury requires physical therapy, helping you regain the use of your body.
For a direct example of the expense, consider those who suffer paralysis after a car accident. Recent estimates show that the medical cost of a spinal injury can be more than one million dollars in the first year alone. Each subsequent year, the cost decreases some, but to maintain quality of life, a paralyzed person can spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars every year. Look at that example, and imagine receiving only $30,000 after being in an accident.
Now consider receiving no more than $60,000 for you and everyone else that was in your car. What if multiple people suffered severe injuries? Your medical expenses may be doubled or tripled to care for your entire family, and $60,000 simply isn’t going to be enough to go around.
The same problem applies to property damage. Ideally, it shouldn’t take more than $25,000 to fix your car, especially if you drive a standard machine. You may have, however, been in an expensive sports car. Maybe you are a vintage automobile collector, and you were taking the car to sell at an auction. Cars can get pricey, and repairs often cost more than the minimum liability benefits.
Ultimately, minimum liability could leave you in a financial bind. The benefits you receive will certainly be helpful, and they may cover all your costs. You have no idea, however, what the future holds, and minimum liability simply can’t cover all potential situations.
How Can I Protect Myself?
Strong Insurance Policy
If you can afford it, you may want to consider a stronger insurance policy for yourself. When minimum liability is not enough to cover your expenses, your insurer can come in and help cover the rest. This is true for both car and health insurance.
Seek Legal Help
What if you are among those who cannot afford a higher tier of insurance? In that case, there may be only one solution. It’s time to contact an attorney. Sometimes, a lawyer can work directly with your insurer. They may be able to negotiate a higher payout to help cover your expenses.
When all else fails, you may have to take the matter to court. Remember that you are not responsible for this accident, and it’s not fair for you to bear this burden. Recovering from your injuries is hard enough without being plunged into a financial hole. You deserve care after your car crash, and sometimes, a lawsuit is the only way to achieve that need.
If you’ve been hurt by a negligent driver, contact our office today. We are ready to give you a free consultation and help you decide what to do next. Our number is (817) 591-4222, and you can contact us online.