My son was assaulted and robbed after a car accident...

by Janie
(Wills Point, TX)

My 18 year old son ran a stop sign which ended in a fender bender with another 33 year old man (driver). Before my son could even get out of the car, the other driver started beating on him, knocking out teeth and punching my son so hard he ended up in the emergency room.

The other driver was arrested for assault and robbery because he also stole my son's phone and wallet. We settled with the insurance company for our car's damage and the other driver's mother's car to be fixed.

Can we still receive money for my son's injuries, medical bills and treatment, even if those injuries weren't caused by the accident itself? Also, the other driver's insurance was not good. Should we try our insurance? Will any insurance company pay for injuries from an assault? What can we do? We live in Texas and have PIP ins.

Thank you for any information you can give.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "My son was assaulted and robbed after a car accident...":

Janie (Wills Point, TX):

Texas is a traditional fault state for car insurance purposes, also known as a third party liability state. This means when a car accident occurs, the victim has the right to seek compensation from the at-fault driver, from the victim's own insurance company, or file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.

The at-fault driver may be liable for paying for the cost of repairs to your son's car, as well as property damage. The driver's insurance company will pay out to your son up to their insured's policy limits. After that, your son has a right to sue the driver for additional damages.

Texas law requires all drivers carry the following minimum policy limits:

- $25,000 for injuries to one person in a single accident

- $50,000 for injuries to two or more persons in a single accident

- $25,000 in property damage liability coverage in a single accident

While the at-fault driver's insurance company is legally obligated to pay up to the driver's policy limits, the insurance company is NOT legally obligated to pay for injuries and resulting costs stemming from their insured's criminal acts.

Unfortunately, to recover additional amounts for your son's injuries and resulting medical treatment, your son will have to sue the driver personally.

Your son has the right to look to his Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance to cover medical bills and related costs not paid for by the at-fault driver. However, PIP will also not cover physical injuries to your son resulting from the criminal assault. Once again, in this situation your son would have to sue the other driver personally.

If the driver has no assets your son can pursue for compensation, there still may be a way to have his medical bills resulting from the assault paid...

Get a copy of the police report, then contact the district attorney's office. Ask to speak with the prosecutor assigned to the case. Tell the prosecutor you (your son) was the victim.

If the court (the judge) decides to give the driver probation for his assault and robbery, the judge can order as a condition of the driver's probation that he reimburse your son for medical and dental bills resulting from the assault.

If the driver misses a payment, he will be in violation of his probation. Violating his probation can result in the judge sentencing the driver to the full jail term associated with the assault and robbery case. That is strong incentive for the driver to pay.

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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