Getting into an accident is stressful enough without learning the other driver has no insurance. Or later on discovering that any coverage he/she does have isn’t enough to pay for the damages. It’s important to learn what to do when you get in a car accident with an uninsured driver.
In Texas, the “fault” system is followed when it comes to accidents. This means whichever party was responsible for causing the crash is also liable for damages. Therefore, a claim would be filed with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
All motorists in Texas must carry a minimum of $30,000 bodily injury liability, $60,000 bodily injury liability (when two or more people sustain injuries) and $25,000 for property damage. But the reality is that not everyone has auto insurance. Some have allowed their policies to lapse, while others never bothered to get it.
Uninsured motorist coverage is one option to consider. Because it’s not mandatory in Texas, this is assuming the injured person elected to add it to his/her policy. If so, after a $250 deductible has been paid, this coverage will pay for medical bills and other injury-related expenses. Of course, they are paid up to the limits of the policy.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage for an Underinsured Driver Accident
It could be the other driver does have liability insurance. But he or she may have purchased the cheapest policy, and the amount his or her insurance company pays out won’t cover all of your injuries. This is known as an underinsured driver accident. Let’s say an accident victim sustains a concussion, multiple fractures and punctured lungs. Medical costs could well exceed the minimum $30,000 required on a policy. Even those who have elected to increase their coverage could still end up not having enough to pay for damages in an especially serious crash.
As with uninsured coverage, underinsured coverage is optional, so it would only be available if the injured person added it onto his or her insurance. The other driver’s policy would cover as much as it could, and the remaining amount would be covered by underinsured motorist coverage. But again, this is dependent on how much the damages are and the policy limits.
Personal Injury Lawsuit
Another option when injured in an accident with someone who has no insurance or insufficient coverage for damages is to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. It’s important to seek legal advice first. An attorney will determine if there is a valid claim — if there’s a strong case to be built against the other person. It must be proven that the other driver acted in a careless or reckless manner.
Of course, an attorney should be sought to find out what to do when you get in a car accident with an uninsured driver when serious injuries result. The repercussions could go beyond the medical costs. There may be a lot of missed time from work or even the possibility of never being able to return because of disability. Or it could be that other forms of compensation should be sought — such as pain and suffering or mental anguish.
Car accident attorney Julie Johnson knows what to do when you get in a car accident with an uninsured driver. You can call her Dallas office to get a claim started at 214-290-8001 or read through the Law Office of Julie Johnson blogs on car accidents to get more information.