Maximum auto insurance coverage not enough for medical bills?

by Todd
(Stafford, TX, USA)

I was T-boned by a guy that ran a red light, knocking my truck across the median into another vehicle. It turns out the guy driving didn't have a license and it wasn't his car. The police found the driver guilty of running the red light, driving without a license, and operating a vehicle with an expired inspection sticker.

Luckily, the actual owner of the car did have insurance. Thus, I am working my way through this mess and am now dealing with the BI (bodily injury) portion. As a result of the accident, I was transported to the ER and ultimately needed to have surgery on my shoulder. I'm currently in physical therapy.

While dealing with his “cut-rate” insurance company, I was informed the insurance has “minimal max-limits,” meaning they will only pay so much per person, per claim. As I understand it, they have $25K property and $30K BI, not to exceed $60K.

I am relatively certain that between the ER visit, the ambulance, the Dr, MRI, X-rays, the surgery, and the physical therapy - $30K will not cover this. My truck was older and they totaled it, giving me $4K (fair amount) and $600 loss of use for the time I was without a truck.

My question is: Can any of the personal property monies be redirected to medical expenses? What about my lost wages, pain and suffering, etc.? Right now it seems like my personal health insurance will be the one on the hook for my remaining bills after $30K, and I am just out of luck on pain/suffering, lost wages etc.

Thank you for your time and non-binding legal perspective.

Visitor Question:
Disclaimer: Information provided in our response is NOT formal legal advice. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Under no circumstances should the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Our response does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. Always get a formal case review from a licensed attorney in your area.

ANSWER for "Maximum auto insurance coverage not enough for medical bills?":

Todd (Stafford, TX):

We aren't aware of any Texas laws prohibiting an insurance company from redirecting payout funds from property damage to bodily injury. With that said, you will have to convince the at-fault car owner's insurance company's claims adjuster to agree to redirect those funds.

Unfortunately, it is likely the adjuster won't agree. For the insurance company to do what you are suggesting means they would need to have some generosity. They don't.

The car owner paid a specific amount of money in premiums to the insurance company. Based in those premiums, the company must pay out up to the maximum amount of bodily injury and/or property damage. In your case, it appears they are "maxing out" the claim by tendering policy limits. The law requires them to do nothing more.

The alternative is to sue the car driver and owner personally for compensation above and beyond the policy limits. You are entitled to do so, and such a lawsuit could include compensation or your pain and suffering.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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