Accidents Involving Uninsured or Underinsured Drivers

Strategies for Recovering Compensation for Your Losses

Car accident sceneWhen you have been hurt in a motor vehicle accident caused by the carelessness or negligence of another person, especially in Texas, your first course of action is typically to seek compensation from the at-fault party's auto insurance provider. Unlike many other states, Texas is not a "no-fault" state for purposes of motor vehicle insurance. Every driver in Texas is required to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance to cover the losses of another driver in a motor vehicle accident.

But making it a legal requirement doesn't mean that someone will do it. It's not uncommon for the at-fault party in a Texas car crash to either have inadequate insurance or no insurance at all. According to the Insurance Research Council, more than two million of the 15 million licensed drivers in Texas do not have any liability insurance at all! What are your options, should you suffer losses in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist? Are you simply without recourse? Not necessarily.

Do You Have Uninsured Motorist / Underinsured Motorist Coverage on Your Policy?

You may be able to pursue compensation through your own insurer. In Texas, while it's not mandatory, insurance companies can offer additional coverage that provides some benefits in the event you sustain losses because of the carelessness or negligence of an uninsured or underinsured driver. It's commonly referred to as UM/UIM coverage and is offered as a rider to your policy at an additional premium. There are typically limits to the amount of coverage you'll get under your UM/UIM policy.

If you discover that the other driver either had no insurance or only had coverage for property damage, your first course of action should be to determine whether you added the UM/UIM coverage to your policy. Don't expect your insurance agent to volunteer that information—the insurer maximized its profit by minimizing its payouts. Instead, it's a good idea to hire an experienced attorney who can review your policy and clarify your coverage.

Are There Other Potential Defendants?

When you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you may be able to take legal action against anyone who acted negligently. That may include:

  • The actual owner of the other car, if it was being borrowed at the time of the crash — Under a theory of vicarious liability, the owner of the vehicle may have some legal responsibility. Typically, you will have to show that the owner knew or should have known that the actual driver posed an unreasonable risk. A common example of this is when a parent allows an inexperienced teen to drive a car.

  • The at-fault party's employer, if the accident occurred during the course of employment — Under the legal theory of respondeat superior, an employer can be held liable for the acts of an employee.

  • The individual or establishment serving the alcohol, if the accident was caused by a drunk driver — The dram shop and social host liability laws in Texas may impose liability on someone who either knew a person was impaired or served a sufficient quantity of alcohol to a person that would reasonably lead to impairment.

  • The municipality responsible for road maintenance, if the accident was caused by a pothole, loose gravel, uneven pavement or other roadway defects

  • Any party in the chain of distribution, if the accident was caused by a dangerous or defective product, such as a faulty tire, brakes or automotive part

Contact the Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys at Bailey & Galyen

At Bailey & Galyen, we offer a free initial consultation to every personal injury client. For an appointment, contact our office online or call us at 844-402-2992. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Welcome to Bailey & Galyen

I'm J.C. Bailey with the law firm of Bailey & Galyen, one of the largest consumer law firms in the state of Texas. Well what does that mean? Big businesses have lawyers, the government has lawyers but what about individuals and small businesses? Who represents them? Well, Bailey & Galyen does. With at least 20 offices spread across Texas, with 50 plus lawyers and hundreds of years of experience. We offer you the opportunity to be heard, to be listened to and we want the opportunity to speak to you about your legal problems.

If you would, call us or email us and we will give you a free consultation. We want to help.

Choosing an Attorney

Choosing an attorney can be a difficult decision. Unless you have a referral from a trusted source, it is hard to gauge a lawyer’s abilities and experience. Here are some suggestions: 

• Consult their website.
• How long have they been in practice?
• What types of cases do they generally handle?
• Do they have specialized training or Board Certification relevant to your case?
• What kind of fee structure do they employ?
• How much will it cost?

Many attorneys have generalized practices and do not specialize in any given area. Avoid attorneys with little experience in cases like yours. You don’t want a tax attorney to handle your divorce.

Experience is important. But it is vital that you choose a lawyer you trust.

Meet with several attorneys before making your decision.

At Bailey & Galyen, we offer free initial consultations and meet with you personally to assess your case. Give us a call.

Public Charge Policy

Hello, my name is Andres Martinez, Immigration attorney here at Bailey and Galyen. Today, I want to talk to you about the new Public Charge policy taking effect on October 15 of this year.

This new policy will make it more difficult for individuals applying for Adjustment of Status to obtain their permanent resident card. The Department of Homeland Security will be able to take into consideration many factors of an applicant’s life to determine if they are worthy of becoming a US resident, such factors include: the applicant’s age, health, education level, English-speaking ability, the applicant’s credit score, whether or not they’ve filed taxes, financial status, size of family, skills and employment, among others. Moreover, the new rule will define a public charge as a person who receives any number of public benefits for more than a total of 12 months over any 36-month period of time. Such public benefits include Medicaid, SNAP, Section 8 housing, and cash aid such as TANF and SSI.

Remember that this new rule will mainly impact those seeking permanent resident status through family member petitions. It does not affect individuals who are already residents who are trying to naturalize.

Please come see us so we can discuss this new law and the effects on your case.

Average Weekly Wage

Hi, my name is Kim Wyatt, i'm the Managing Attorney of Bailey & Galyen's Worker's Comp department. Are you being paid the correct amount per week under your Worker's Comp? The state average weekly rate right now is $938. This is calculated by what you made prior to your injury 13 weeks worth before taxes. You add it all up, divide by 13 and that is your average weekly wage. You want to make sure it contains bonuses, if your health insurance stopped you want to make sure they include that in your average weekly wage.

Give us a call today for a free initial phone evaluation of your case so that we can see how we might be able to help you.

Basics of Social Security Disability

When you find yourself disabled and unable to work there are two government programs available to provide for you and your family.

Social Security Disability Insurance or (SSDI)pays benefits to you and certain members of your family if you are found disabled and “insured,” meaning that you worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes long enough to obtain coverage.

Supplemental Security Income or (SSI) pays benefits based on financial need without regard for how much you may have paid into the system. SSI disability pays an average of 536 per month per individual. The maximum is set at 771.00 dollars in 2019, but social security will make deductions based on your living arrangements.
In order to qualify for SSI benefits you must demonstrate a financial need as well as have a finding of disability.

No more than 2K in the bank.

Typically your earned income cannot be higher than 751 dollars per month for a single and 2016.00 for a married couple.

Things like food stamps and sheltered provided by a NPO do not count.

In order to receive compensation from either program, you must prove that you have a physical or mental impairment which has lasted or will last for 12 months. This impairment must be severe enough to prevent you from working.

The determination of disability is based in large part on your medical records and your testimony at a potential hearing. It is important to have an experienced attorney represents you at your hearing in order for the judge to get the full picture of the disabling impairments that prevent you from working through your testimony.

A January 2019 Government study of hearings-level disability awards revealed that “claimants who had representation at their hearings, were awarded benefits at a rate nearly 3 times higher than those who proceeded without representatives.”

An Experienced attorney will ensure that all of your medical records are provided to the judge prior to your hearing. Your Attorney can also request that your doctor fill out forms and questionnaires specific to your individual injuries to maximize your chance at a favorable outcome. Lastly your attorney will be able to cross examiner potential vocational and medical experts during your hearing.

What is Personal Injury?

Hi my name is Joe Robles, Jr., Managing Attorney of the Pre-Litigation department at Bailey & Galyen.

So what is personal injury? Simply put personal injury is an injury caused by somebody else. It involves intentional torts and unintentional torts. An intentional tort includes your classic assault, battery, conversion, false improsonment among others. Unintentional torts is negligence.

Now what is negligence? Negligence is a 3 part test.

1. Does somebody have a duty to act?
2. Did somebody breach that duty?
3. Are there damages?

This 3 part test is used in a court of law to hold someobody liable.

So if you've been injured due to the negligence of somebody else please contact us at Bailey & Galyen for a free consultation.

When Should You Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?

if your losses were due to the carelessness or negligence of another person, you have the right to take legal action to pursue full and fair compensation. How soon should you hire an attorney? What are