If a driver causes an accident that results in injuries or property damage to someone else, the injured driver has a few options to recover damages. Most people choose to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
While this is an effective option, not all drivers carry liability coverage, even though it is required by law in Texas.
Unfortunately, this may leave you wondering what to do and unsure where to turn. While it can be a confusing time, our uninsured accident lawyers from The Burkett Law Firm can help. We have years of experience representing drivers when trying to recover compensation from uninsured drivers. You can learn more about these situations and your rights here.
Texas Auto Insurance Requirements
If you are a licensed driver in Texas, you are required (by law) to purchase auto insurance coverage that provides $30,000 for every injured person and a total of $60,000 for each accident. The auto insurance policy you purchase must also provide coverage of up to $25,000 for property damage. This is often called 30/60/25 coverage.
When accidents involve someone who has the minimum coverage amounts, and the damages they cause are more expensive than what their policy will cover, the at-fault driver should expect to have a lawsuit filed against them by the injured driver.
In an auto insurance policy, liability coverage is designed to pay for lost wages, medical costs, and all accident victims’ pain and suffering. The policy I also designed to cover repairs to or the replacement of the injured driver’s vehicle and may also cover the cost of rental vehicles, if needed.
Liability coverage can also cover up to $250 for bail if the at-fault driver is arrested after an accident and can help with attorney fees. You should note that the minimum coverage that Texas law requires may not be enough to cover all the damages caused by a car accident.
Options After Being in an Accident with an Uninsured Driver
According to Texas state law, you have the right to hold a motorist legally responsible for your accident and sustained damages. You may wonder if you can sue an uninsured driver, and while you have this legal right, it may not be worth the time or money it takes.
Factors that impact the case include general circumstances, the facts that are available about the incident, and how serious the damages or injuries were. In some situations, suing an uninsured driver for damages may not be wise because the driver doesn’t have the money to pay for the damages. On average, uninsured motorist payouts are low, with most being under $10,000.
You may also find out that the uninsured party failed to renew their insurance and has the funds to cover the accident and damages they caused. This is when litigation can be helpful.
A good first step is to contact our uninsured legal team. We can help with the following:
- Analyzing and understanding your existing insurance policy.
- Investigating the accident and the parties who are at fault.
- Determining fault through negligence by the uninsured driver.
- Filing a claim with the necessary documentation.
- Acquire the settlement that you deserve from your insurance company.
Filing a Lawsuit Against an Uninsured Driver
When a driver causes an accident and is uninsured, they will face significant legal challenges compared to insured drivers who are in the same situation.
For example, the at-fault driver will likely face legal consequences for driving without the required auto insurance coverage. Additionally, if the injured party files a personal injury lawsuit, the at-fault driver won’t have any coverage to fall back on.
As an accident victim, you will likely file a claim against your own insurance policy and then get to know what options you have to act against the other driver. This can be helpful in these situations if you have uninsured motorists’ coverage as part of your auto insurance policy.
Sometimes, you won’t have the option to file a claim against your auto insurance policy. If this happens, you can only recover by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver. The plaintiff must show that the defendant is the one responsible for the plaintiff’s damages and prove how severe the damages were.
The steps to file a Texas uninsured car accident claim include the following:
Get a Copy of the Police Report
The police report will include details related to potential liability and negligence. It will also include if the police officer gave any citations and if the party provided proof of their auto insurance.
Get Medical Attention
After an accident, you may receive immediate attention from EMS workers and then at the ER. However, if you haven’t received medical treatment, you must do this immediately.
Not only is this necessary for your health and well-being (many accidents result in injuries that only a medical professional can identify), but you also need documentation of the injuries and treatment you received for your accident claim.
Contact Your Auto Insurance Provider
If you find out the other party involved in the accident doesn’t have insurance coverage, you must turn to your own insurance provider to receive compensation. This compensation is provided under the uninsured portion of the policy (if you have this coverage).
It’s important to note that you may believe that your insurance provider will help since you are their customer, but this is not always the case. The insurance company still wants to protect its bottom line, so without legal assistance, you may not be able to get a fair amount of compensation.
Remember, the insurance company is running a business. They may try to use egregious or manipulative tactics to avoid having to pay your claim – even if you are their customer.
Be sure you don’t agree to any recorded statement or conversation, and don’t give the company permission to access your full medical history. You should also avoid accepting a first settlement offer from an insurance company, as these are usually low and unfair.
It’s smart to have a Texas car accident attorney from our law firm review a settlement offer before you decide to accept it. This is particularly important if you have sustained an injury.
Types of Compensation You Can Receive When Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
You can recover several types of compensation after an accident as an injured party. While each accident is unique, some of the most common types of damages you can recover include:
- Medical costs: The injured party has the right to sue for the cost of medical treatment caused by the other driver’s negligence.
- Pain and suffering: It’s also possible to recover compensation for the mental suffering and physical pain caused by the at-fault party’s negligence.
- Property damage: The plaintiff (victim) can recover the costs related to replacing or repairing their vehicle or any damaged property in the accident.
- Lost income: It’s possible to recover wages lost because of time missed at work due to the injuries sustained in the accident.
- Survivor benefits: If the accident causes someone’s death, the victim’s family can receive survivor benefits by filing a wrongful death claim.
What type of injuries can you get in a car accident?
Car accident injuries range in severity from burns and decapitations to mild abrasions and amputations. The actual injuries you suffer depend on the type of accident you are involved in if your passengers wear seatbelts, the speed at which the vehicles are traveling, and the types of vehicles involved. Even in minor accidents, common injuries include increased feelings of anxiety, bruises, and trauma.
Who determines fault in car accidents?
Usually, it is the insurance company adjusters who will determine fault in a car accident after they review the evidence and police report. They may also ask the drivers and witnesses about what happened to determine who is at fault.
Why do you need a personal injury attorney to help with a car accident claim?
Hiring an attorney to handle your car accident claim is not required. However, using the services of our experienced legal team will pay off in the long run and help you get the compensation you deserve.
How Can a Texas Car Accident Attorney Help You?
If you experienced injuries or losses because of a car accident, you have the right to recover compensation from the negligent party or your own auto insurance policy. During this process, if you discover that negotiating with your auto insurance company is frustrating and adversarial, our legal team at The Burkett Law Firm can help you understand your legal rights and ensure you get the compensation you deserve.