What is a Stowers Demand?

June 6, 2019

Re-post from original post on Law Office of Bryan Fagan Website:

 

I previously discussed in other articles of auto accident cases and/or personal injury claims, including, how to get more money after a car accident, and the auto insurance policy limits for your injuries in Texas and how much you can get. I briefly also mentioned the Stowers demand. In this article, I will discuss what is a Stowers demand.

Stowers is a demand that can potentially put more money in your pockets than a policy limit allows:

When you get into a motor vehicle car accident, you and your attorney can demand for a certain amount of money from the auto insurance carrier. When liability is clear and the damages exceed the policy limits. In this scenario, you and your attorney can send a demand to the insurance company for the either the actual damages, or an option for the insurance carrier to provide the maximum policy limits coverage for that particular policy. If the insurance company denies offering the policy limits in this scenario, then you can take your car to trial and if the judgment exceeds the policy limits, then the insurance company is also responsible for paying the excess damages over the policy limits they are generally required to pay.

What happens if the insurance company accepts the Stowers demand?

If the insurance company accepts the Stwoers demand and offers the full policy limits within the reasonable time given to evaluate and respond to the case, then you are only limited to getting that money and will not receive excess damages.

Should I even send a Stowers demand?

This is a very specific case by case analysis and depends on the facts and severity of injuries. Generally, Stowers guarantees that you at least receive the policy limits amount from the insurance company. This is money you are guaranteed to get. Whereas if you decide not to send a Stowers demand, and you file a suit, then the insurance company is not responsible to pay any damages in excess of the policy limits. This means the other driver would personally be responsible for paying the excess amount. This causes many issues. For example, many individuals do not pay the judgment because Texas law allows for a good portion of an individual’s assets to be exempt from collection. This leaves you with a piece of paper called a judgment that says a person owes you money, but they end up never paying you. Insurance companies always pay.

What are the policy limits on a motor vehicle insurance?

The policy limits on a motor vehicle insurance have previously been discussed in another article I wrote, but I have put them here again for your reference

Texas requires a minimum $500,000.00 injury policy for any commercial vehicles that are used within Texas state lines.

If the vehicle is used to travel across state lines, then federal law controls. The following are the limits for vehicles used to travel across state lines:

  • $300,000 for trucks weighing less than 10,001 lbs. and transporting nonhazardous materials.
  • $750,000 for trucks weighing at least 10,001 lbs. and transporting nonhazardous materials.
  • $1 million for trucks transporting oil.
  • $5 million for trucks carrying hazardous materials.

For commercial vehicles that travel across state lines and can fit 16 or more passengers, such as buses, the minimum limit is $5 million, and if same vehicle can only carry 15 or less passengers then the limit is $1.5 million.

Policy limits for personal vehicles:

For personal vehicles, policy limits are much lower. Currently, policy limits for personal vehicles in Texas are $30,000 per person for your injuries with a maximum of $60,000.00 coverage. Meaning for example if there are passengers in the vehicle, insurance would only be required to pay $60,000.00 maximum for everyone combined. Further, the limits for property damages, which are the damages to your vehicle, is at $25,000.00; this is known as the 30/60/25 coverage.

Contact Us

If you have been involved in an accident, or simply have some questions, and you are looking for a car accident  attorney in North Houston, car accident attorney in the Woodlands,  car accident attorney in Tomball, Cypress, FM 1960, Galveston, and surrounding areascall me, Amir Tavakkoli, Houston from the A.T. Law Firm for a free consultation. We also handle cases in different counties including but not limited to Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Ford Bend County, Waller County, and Brazoria County. Contact the A.T. Law Firm by calling (832) 800-5590 for a free consultation.