No, to file a personal injury claim you do not need insurance, per se. If you were walking down a sidewalk and a driver hit you, you could file a claim, and his car insurance would pay for your injuries.
Personal injury claims are one method of recovering damages in the event of an accident. Filing a lawsuit against an at-fault party is another method of recovering damages after certain accident types occur. For both methods, having insurance is not a prerequisite to filing a personal injury claim.
The most common type of accident is a car crash. In 2014, car accidents caused severe injuries to 17,152 people in the state of Texas alone. While Texas car insurance laws stipulate that the at-fault party (or that at-fault party’s insurance) be responsible for paying damages in the event of a car accident, injured persons also have the right to forego the car insurance system and file a personal injury lawsuit instead.
While not having car insurance is against the law, it will probably not play a large role in a personal injury claim as these claim types are based on fault. (Note: it is against the law not to have car insurance if you are operating a motor vehicle. If you are simply walking on a sidewalk you do not need car insurance to file a personal injury claim against someone driving a car.)
The difference between a personal injury lawsuit and a personal injury claim is this: a personal injury claim is between you at the at-fault driver’s insurance, where negotiations ensue, and an agreement is (hopefully) reached; a personal injury lawsuit occurs when no negotiation can be achieved. You can also file a lawsuit directly against the at-fault driver.
While a car accident may be the most common cause of injury, it isn’t the only one. Other causes of injuries in Texas include these.
For all these types of accidents, the victim must prove liability through these things.
Whether or not the victim has insurance may be irrelevant. When one of the above injury types occurs, the victim will usually file a claim directly against the at-fault party/party’s insurance.
If you do have insurance—homeowner’s property insurance, car insurance, health insurance, etc.—then that insurance may help to pay for some of your expenses related to the injury if applicable.
However, because one files a personal injury claim against another party and it is negligence-based, if you do not have insurance, you are not barred from seeking damages. If you do decide to pursue a personal injury lawsuit, Texas law requires that you do so within two years.
Both those who have insurance and those who don’t can feel comfortable calling Dallas’s personal injury lawyer Julie Johnson after an accident. We can figure it out — together — if your situation validates filing a claim. Let’s get started, call 214-290-8001 or fill out the contact form.