No one gets into their car first thing in the morning expecting to get into a car accident.
However, it happens more often than we like to think. Accidents occur so often on public roadways that it is probable that every person will be in at least one accident during their lifetimes.
Ideally, when you do get into that accident, it’s a simple matter and no one is seriously injured. Some car accident situations, however, can become far more complicated than others. For example, when you get hit by an uninsured driver.
All states require drivers to have some form of automobile insurance in place, but that doesn’t mean that people always follow the law. What do you need to do in this tricky situation?
Read on and we’ll walk you through the details.
Auto Insurance in Texas
Most states across the country have policies that require the owners and operators of vehicles to have some form of insurance in place. This insurance helps to protect themselves and other drivers should an accident occur.
The costs that arise from a car accident can be quite steep. When you take into account damage to a vehicle and the high cost of medical care, there’s a lot that needs to be covered. It’s not something the average person might be able to handle on their own.
An insurance company can step in and handle these payments.
In the state of Texas, all drivers are required by law to have insurance in place to prove they can pay for accidents they may end up causing. Most Texas drivers do this through liability coverage.
Within the state, Texas drivers must have at least $30,000 of coverage for injuries per person covered by their insurance. The minimum is $60,000 per accident and an additional $25,000 for property damage.
These are minimums and many drivers have coverage that extends over these amounts.
What Is an Uninsured Driver?
Despite these strict laws set down by the state, there are many drivers that decide to get on the road without auto insurance. A study conducted by the Insurance Research Council found that more than 10% of Texas drivers are not insured.
That is a lot of drivers out there on the roadway that are not able to cover the damages they may cause by getting into accidents. These individuals may be family members using a vehicle that they themselves are not covered for. It may also be people who are knowingly driving without any insurance.
As you can imagine, getting into an accident and finding out the other driver has no insurance can be alarming. Normally, you would rely on that driver’s insurance company to get the compensation that you need.
What can you do now to ensure that you’re made financially whole?
What to Do After an Uninsured Accident
The steps you take in the immediate aftermath of an uninsured accident will play a big role in determining how the rest of your experience plays out.
First and foremost, you’ll need to file a police report. Once the police are notified of the accident, they will arrive at the scene to gather all the necessary details.
Even if the accident is minor in nature, you’ll still want to have the police come. You never know if any damage or injuries might reveal themselves to be more serious later on.
This police report will become a core part of the evidence you’ll need to proceed through the following steps. It’s important that you get a copy in your possession as soon as possible.
While you’re waiting for the police to arrive, take as much documentation from the scene of the accident as possible. Use that handy phone in your pocket to record photos and videos of the accident. Be sure to highlight the damage done to yourself or your vehicle.
All of this will be useful to have, no matter what your next step is.
You might feel lost about how to get the compensation you so desperately need at this moment. Generally speaking, after an uninsured accident, you’ll have three options for getting this compensation.
- file a claim with your own insurance company
- rely on your health insurance
- file an injury lawsuit with the help of personal injury attorneys
Let’s discuss each of these options in more detail.
Filing With Your Insurance Company
In a perfect world, the coverage you have with your own auto insurance company should help you in this situation. What you’ll need to do is file an uninsured motorist claim with your provider.
Should you be approved, your insurance provider should cover both your medical bills and the property damage to your vehicle. You may have coverage limits in place, but ideally, this will cover a good portion (if not all) of the damage done.
There is generally a small window of time to file an uninsured motorist claim. For that reason, you’ll want to move quickly in order to make your provider aware of the situation.
You’ll want to gather all that evidence you got from the scene of the accident and include it with your claim. If you can, also include as much evidence as you can proving that the other driver did not have their own insurance.
Your provider will need to be able to verify this for certain before they will be willing to pay for the damages incurred.
If you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage, you might be able to rely on your own collision coverage for the damage to your vehicle. However, you’ll be out of luck when it comes to your medical bills.
The good news is that most people in Texas do have this kind of coverage. You can hire experienced legal help to aid in your claim and ensure that it is approved.
Relying on Health Insurance Coverage
If this occurs, you might turn to your health insurance coverage to help manage the steep cost of care for the injuries you sustained.
In some situations, this might feel like the only option, but it is not a recommended one. If you go this route, you’ll also need to cover all the co-pays and deductibles.
If you’re below or far above your coverage limits, you’ll be faced with steep charges as well. This can make it difficult to overcome the costs associated with the accident that wasn’t your fault, to begin with.
While this is an option if you have to help mitigate costs, it’s not something you should consider unless you’ve exhausted the other options that will be more beneficial to you.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
You might also have the option of bringing a lawsuit forward against the uninsured driver. An experienced lawyer can help you determine if this is the best course of action for you. Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t.
It will depend on the resources the driver in question has to their name.
If a driver has allowed their insurance to lapse but still has plenty of money to their name to cover your damages, it’s well worth bringing a personal injury lawsuit forward. They are liable after all and you deserve compensation for your injuries.
However, it’s often the case that an individual does not have insurance because they are already struggling financially.
In this situation, it might not be worth bringing a case forward because there is little to be gained. The individual does not have the money needed to pay for the compensation that would be required, even if ordered by the court.
Car Accident Help
Do your best to understand the liable party’s financial situation before making a final decision on how to handle your uninsured accident. The decision will also depend on the kind of coverage you have in place and the extent of damage that resulted from the accident.
Speak with an attorney as soon as possible following an accident. An experienced car accident attorney will have handled cases just like yours dozens of times in the past.
They will be able to look at the facts of your case and determine what the best course of action might be.
What to Do If You’ve Been Hit By an Uninsured Driver
A car accident of any sort is an unwelcome surprise, but there’s little less pleasant than getting into an accident with a driver without insurance.
What should you do if you’ve been hit by an uninsured driver? The information presented above can help you walk through the big decisions you’ll have to make in the wake of the accident.
Do you need immediate assistance with your case? Give us a call anytime for expert guidance.