What Happens After a Texas Car Accident with an Uninsured Driver?
At-fault drivers in Texas are typically liable for the harm they cause. Therefore, you may be unsure of what happens if the driver who hit you is uninsured.
Options for Compensation After an Accident With an Uninsured Driver
Drivers are required by law to carry liability insurance to pay for any property damage or injuries they cause in an accident. Since Texas is a “fault” state, normally you would file an insurance claim directly with the at-fault party’s insurer. When an uninsured driver hits you, you will have to turn to your own auto insurer for coverage or sue the at-fault driver personally.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Protection (UM/UIM)
One of the most immediate sources of compensation in this scenario is your own insurance policy. If you carry this optional form of coverage called uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM), this can be a lifeline. This coverage is designed precisely for situations where you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured driver. This type of insurance can help pay for medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage.
Collision coverage is another optional form of insurance you may carry. If so, you can file a claim with your insurer to help pay for the repairs or replacement of your vehicle, regardless of who was at fault. However, you will be responsible for paying your deductible.
Filing a Lawsuit Against the At-Fault Driver
If your damages exceed the limits of your uninsured motorist coverage or if you don’t have this coverage, you may consider filing a personal injury lawsuit against the uninsured driver. This involves taking legal action to hold the responsible driver personally accountable for your losses, which can include medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, if the uninsured driver does not have any assets to cover the costs of the accident, you may have to pay out of pocket.
What To Do After an Uninsured Driver Hits You
There are critical steps to take after an accident with an uninsured driver:
Call the Police
It is always a good idea to call the police after an accident, especially when the other party involved does not have auto insurance. The police report will include critical information that your insurance company will use to help determine fault. The at-fault driver may ask you not to call the police and offer you money instead. However, accepting this offer can end up costing you more long-term if your injuries are severe.
You will need the uninsured driver’s contact information, and if there are any eyewitnesses, ask how to contact them as well. Their statements can be very beneficial when filing your insurance claim or a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Take pictures or videos of the scene, including the damage done to the vehicles, their final resting positions after impact, the other driver’s license plate, any traffic signs, debris, and your injuries.
Seek Medical Care
If you are not taken to the hospital, seek medical attention as soon as you leave the scene. Some severe injuries can have delayed symptoms, plus it is critical for medical records to link your harm to the collision.
Notify Your Insurer
Report the accident to your insurance company, discuss your coverage options, and file a claim.
Consult With a Car Accident Lawyer
Speak to a car accident attorney in Waco as soon as possible. They can help you by discussing your legal options and advising you on the best course of action.