Texas has a mandatory personal injury protection (PIP) auto insurance requirement. The mandatory minimum coverage that insurance companies must provide is $2,500 per accident, although individuals can choose to purchase more or choose to waive their right to PIP coverage.
PIP insurance can include compensation for lost wages, but not always. Simply put, lost wages are financial damages suffered as a result of time taken off work to recover from injuries. In the state of Texas, employees may be able to recover 80% of the total lost wages resulting from an accident.
PIP covers medical bills and up to 80% of lost wages. PIP insurance does not cover drivers or passengers not in your vehicle at the time of the accident. PIP is something your insurance provider offers to you, family members, and anyone else inside your vehicle at the time of the accident, regardless of which party was at-fault for the accident.
One problem that people might run into if they are involved in an accident is lost wage coverage under "independent contractor" status. Because independent contractors are not viewed as regular employees, insurance companies may reject lost wage claims under PIP.
The Texas Department of Insurance makes no differentiation between independent contractors and regular employees in regard to lost wages through PIP insurance. If you have not waived your right to PIP insurance, then you can be compensated for medical expenses and lost wages up to the amount included in your policy.
What happens if the other party has accepted full responsibility?
If the other driver's insurance company informed you that they accept full responsibility for the accident, then they should pay costs associated with:
- Vehicle damage repair or replacement
- Cost of renting a vehicle while yours is being repaired
- Accident-related medical bills
- Lost wages resulting from an accident-induced injury
- Pain and suffering (emotional damage)
What might happen in this situation is that the at-fault driver may have PIP, but at a limit less than your total lost wages. For example, you may be out $5,000 in lost wages, but the other driver only carries the minimum PIP of $2,500. What you can do is file a claim with your own insurance company to make up the difference. So in this scenario, you could receive $2,500 from the at-fault party's insurance and file a claim with your insurance company for the difference of $2,500.
It is against the law for Texas insurance companies to delay or deny payment to you in order to manipulate you to sign a settlement release. Before you sign anything or agree to a settlement, contact an attorney.
Call (713) 364-0915today to speak with Houston Car Accident Lawyer John Daspit about your auto accident claim for lost wages.