Texas Auto Accident: Negligent Entrustment

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In the last few years we have seen a growing problem with defendants in auto accidents that do not own the vehicle.  The insurance carrier on the vehicle tries to deny the claim on the premise that their insured was not a party to this action

As you will hear from us quite often, you do not sue an insurance company; you sue a party who may be insured.  Your cause action against the defendant driver is clear.

If the defendant driver is an excluded driver on the auto policy, it is very unlikely that the insurance company will defend him/her.  The defendant driver may have an auto policy that covers him/her.  If it is found that the driver did not have insurance, he may lose his license.  But, it is unlikely that this will be discovered until the litigation process begins.

You may also have a cause of action against the owner of the vehicle for Negligent Entrustment.  The owner’s insurance company may then get involved to cover the owner.  To establish Negligent Entrustment you must show that:

1) The owner entrusted the automobile;
2) to a person who was an unlicensed, incompetent, or reckless driver;
3) who the owner knew or should have known was incompetent or reckless;
4) the driver was negligent; and
5) the driver’s negligence proximately caused the accident and the plaintiff’s injuries.

When it comes time to file a lawsuit, you need to discover all potential parties.  Next, find each defendant’s insurance carrier or at least make sure that the defendant is not completely judgment proof.

The Morris Firm, info@themorrisfirm.net, (214)357-1782

Texas Injury Law

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We talk to people every day that have been injured as result of an accident.  I doesn’t matter if they were injured in an auto accident, work related injury or any other accident.  There are certain facts that we share with our clients to help their claims to run smoother and are generally a good practice.

Report the Accident:

Report all accidents.  Even if no one appears injured, it is good to fill out and incident report or contact your insurance carrier about the accident.  This will protect you if you later find that you have property damage that went unnoticed or if you find that you’re injured from the incident.  It is always easier to turn down assistance, then to request it for an incident that was not reported.

Get a Medical Examination:

After a traumatic event, our bodies go into shock.  You may feel like it is nothing serious after the accident, only to find out later that you’re dealing with serious injuries.

Therefore, even if it does not feel that serious right after the accident, get examined by a medical provider.  If it is nothing serious, you’re out a just a little time of a day.  If it is a condition that will require treatment, the insurance is more likely to accept a condition that is discussed soon after the accident.

The Insurance Company is not your friend:

It should come as no surprise to anyone that insurance companies are for profit businesses.  The huge profits made by insurance companies, are not made by paying premiums.  Profits are made by denying or minimizing claims.

Like any other business, there are good and bad people that work for insurance companies.  However, when dealing with an insurance claim, make sure that you provide only accurate information.  Do not state facts that you are not sure of or that you don’t remember.  They will record and use any inconsistencies against you.  Good legal representation will help to these problems.  Get legal advice early in your claim to avoid serious problems with your claim.

Conclusion:

Most people prefer to have never been involved in an accident that caused injuries.  However, life happens.  When it does, follow the above steps to make your path to recovery as easy as possible.

 

info@themorrisfirm.net  (214)357-1782, The Morris Law Firm

Texas Auto Accident: What is Liability Coverage?

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Liability coverage is the minimum coverage to meet the financial responsibility requirement by the State of Texas.

Who it Covers:  Liability coverage covers the policy holder, their family members and people driving the vehicle with the policy holder’s permission.  The policy may cover the above while driving another vehicle (i.e. rental, company car, etc.).

However, there are policies (Named Driver Policies), do not cover people who live with the policy holder, including family members, unless they are specifically named in the policy.   The declarations page must list the names of the people the policy covers.

What does it Cover:  It covers car repair or replacement costs, car rental, medical and funeral costs, lost wages, and compensation for pain and suffering to the people in the other car involved in an accident that you or someone covered by your policy caused.

It also pays defense costs, including attorney fees if someone sues the policy holder or driver because of the accident. If arrested following an accident, liability insurance will pay up to $250 for bail.

The Morris Firm, info@themorrisfirm.net, (214)357-1782

Texas Auto Accidents: What is Collision Coverage?

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If you’ve been involved in an auto accident in Texas, it is important that you understand the different types of insurance coverage to protect your health and finances.  Collision coverage will cover damages to the vehicle when you, your family members, passengers in your car, and others driving your car with your permission.

The cost of repairing or replacing your car after an accident. You will only receive the amount of your car’s actual cash value, minus your deductible. Actual cash value is the market value of a car like yours without damages.

This coverage is mandatory if you are still making payments on your vehicle.

Texas Auto Insurance: Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage

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Most drivers in Texas carry insurance on their vehicles to protect them from damage they may cause to others or their property.  However, Personal Injury Protection coverage (PIP) is coverage for you and possibly the other passengers in your vehicle.

What does it cover:  Personal Injury Protection coverage pays medical payments coverage, plus 80 percent of lost income and the cost of hiring a caregiver for an injured person.

Who does it cover:  You, your family members, and passengers in your car, regardless of who caused the accident.

An insurance company must offer you $2,500 in PIP, but you can buy more. If you don’t want PIP, you must reject it in writing.  You should get the maximum amount of PIP coverage your policy will allow.  After an accident, PIP makes it a little easier handle your expenses.

The Morris Firm, info@themorrisfirm.net, (214)357-1782

The Day of The Car Wreck

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Most of us will get in at least one auto accident during our lifetimes. Sometimes the experience runs smoothly. However, the more common experience is one of frustration. Your actions immediately following the accident will influence how your claim is handled and ultimately resolved. At the scene of an accident, most of the people involved are in shock and may not be thinking clearly. Though not usually admissible in court, do not make expressing fault or that you were not injured. In my own car wreck, I claimed that I was fine, even though I needed twelve stitches across my forehead and woke the next morning unable to move my head for over a month.

At the scene of the accident: Get as much information as possible:

-Contact information from all the other drivers
-Title and insurance information from all the vehicles involved
-Name and contact information from all the witnesses
-Take pictures of the vehicles involved and the accident scene

Vehicle
What is the condition of your vehicle after the wreck?
Is it drivable?
Does your vehicle have to be towed?
There are storage lots that charge up to fifty ($50) dollars a day to store your vehicle.

Call (214)357-1782 at the scene of the accident; the attorney can contact a body shop that will give you a fair rate and quality work. If your vehicle is totaled, take your personal items at the scene of the accident. If it is not possible, do it as soon as you can.

Injuries
Even if you’re not taken to the hospital, you may have injuries that require medical attention. Your attorney can assist you in finding the right clinic. You will need a clinic that will provide proper care without over charging or providing services that you don’t need. Make sure to get a medical exam as soon as possible. Even if you only feel sore, some injuries manifest as soreness, and then get worse as time goes on.

Insurance
Contact your insurance company to report the claim. However, do not contact the other driver’s insurance company. Never give the other driver’s insurance company a statement or sign any paperwork without the attorney.

Conclusion
If you follow these simple but essential steps, you will avoid many of the pitfalls that people encounter after an accident. At the Morris Law Firm we can assist you through the whole process. Call us at (214)357-1782 Immediately, we are located in Dallas, but can serve clients throughout the state.