Emotions often run high after car accidents. You may be feeling angry, frustrated, and overwhelmed, and the insurance company may seem like an easy target.
Many car accident victims assume that they must sue the insurance company to seek fair compensation for the crash. In reality, your state’s law may prohibit you from suing the insurance company directly.
Do you need to file a lawsuit against the insurance company after an accident? Probably not, but you may want to take other forms of legal action. Learn about the circumstances in which filing a lawsuit makes sense.
Can You Sue the Other Driver’s Insurance Company in Texas?
In most cases, Texas courts do not permit a victim of a car accident to sue the at-fault driver’s insurance company. The court’s reasoning behind this is that the car accident victim did not have a contract with the other insurance company.
If the insurer denies your claim, the court believes it is within the insurance company’s right to do so, and you’ll need to handle the appeals process without the court’s intervention.
What If the Insurer Denies the Claim?
Insurance companies are notorious for denying insurance claims and low-balling claimants. “Deny, Delay, Defend” often feels like the motto of every insurance company as you try to seek compensation for your injuries. If the at-fault driver’s insurance company denies your claim, you have a few options:
- File an appeal through an internal process. The insurance company may ask you to submit additional evidence of your injuries and damages, then reconsider its initial decision.
- Ask for an external review. If you believe the insurance company acted in bad faith when it denied your claim, you can ask for an external review.
- Negotiate for a higher offer. If the insurer approved your claim but didn’t offer enough compensation to cover your damage, you can consider negotiating for settlement offers.
- Sue the driver directly. You may need to sue the at-fault driver if the insurer refuses to budge.
Your attorney can inform you of the most effective way to seek compensation without filing a suit against the insurance company.
When Should You Consider a Lawsuit After a Car Accident?
While you probably won’t be able to file a suit against the insurance company, you may take legal action against the at-fault driver directly — if it makes sense to do so. Here are a few situations that may warrant a suit.
The Driver Did Not Have Sufficient Liability Insurance
Texas drivers are legally mandated to carry $30,000 in liability coverage per person or $60,000 total per accident. Yet many drivers drive their vehicles without the proper coverage in place.
Driving without liability insurance is illegal, but it also leaves accident victims with few options. You can’t seek compensation through the at-fault driver’s insurer, so your next step should be contacting your own insurance company.
If you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage on your own auto policy, it should cover your damages in a not-at-fault car accident. If you don’t have this insurance, you can consider suing the driver for damages.
You Seek Additional Damages
Suppose the driver only carried the minimum liability coverage, which was not enough to pay for all of your expenses. In that case, you may file a claim through their insurer and take legal action against them directly.
Through a lawsuit, you can seek additional economic damages and non-economic damages, accounting for your pain and suffering and emotional distress. If the other driver was under the influence or driving recklessly, you could even seek punitive damages to punish their behavior.
While you typically can’t file a suit against an insurance company in Texas, you can seek compensation through other means. Contact Fadduol, Cluff, Hardy & Conaway, P.C., today at 432-335-0399 for professional legal guidance.