I Got Into an Accident With an Uninsured Driver – Now What?
Across the country, about 13 percent of all drivers are uninsured. In Texas, the number of uninsured drivers is slightly higher, at 14.1 percent. This is true, despite the fact that anyone who owns a car is legally required to purchase and maintain a valid car insurance policy.
Today, that includes minimum coverage of:
- Bodily Injury Liability: $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident; and
- Property Damage Liability: $25,000.
Drivers must also purchase at least $2,500 in Personal Injury Protection, unless rejected in writing.
Texas requires drivers to have this coverage in case they get into an accident. The benefits are intended to make sure that victims are able to get the money they need and deserve after a collision.
What happens when you get into a car accident with one of those drivers who doesn’t have insurance? What about an accident involving a driver who has insurance, but not enough to satisfy state minimums? Here’s what you need to know.
You Can File a Claim With Your Own Insurance Provider
When you purchase car insurance coverage in Texas, companies are required to offer something called Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UMC). You don’t have to buy it, but it’s highly recommended. Why? UMC covers costs related to an accident involving an uninsured or underinsured driver. So, if you get hit by someone without insurance, you can simply file a claim to recover UMC benefits.
If you’re hit by an uninsured motorist, you can recover damages up to your policy limits. If you’re hit by an underinsured motorist, you can recover the difference between what their insurance policy will pay and your damages, up to the limit of your policy.
What if damages resulting from your car accident exceed what your UMC covers? At that point, you’d have to consider a civil lawsuit to recover additional compensation.
You Can File a Lawsuit Against the At-Fault Driver
After an accident, insurance is the primary source of compensation for injured victims. When an at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance, that primary source isn’t there. So, you can simply decide to hold them personally accountable for the harm they’ve caused. You have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against that driver and ask a court to order them to pay you the money you need and deserve.
However, it’s important to consider that a driver who doesn’t have insurance coverage might not have the resources or ability to pay, even if you win your case. Fortunately, there may be other ways to obtain compensation after an accident with an uninsured driver.
You Can Sue Other Negligent Third Parties
Accidents aren’t always straightforward. Many times, more than one person shares fault for a collision. This is true, even in situations where it seems clear that one person is to blame. In Texas, under the state’s comparative negligence rules, you have the right to seek compensation from any party who shares fault for your accident.
That might include:
- Electric scooter operators
- Other drivers on the road
- Employers of negligent parties
- Government agencies
- Companies responsible for manufacturing defective vehicles or products
- Transit companies, and more.
That can be really important, especially when one responsible party doesn’t have insurance. A thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding your accident, led by your Austin personal injury lawyer, can help to identify anyone who may have played a role.
When multiple parties share responsibility, liability is apportioned between them. The more someone contributes to an accident, the more liability they’ll shoulder. So, even if someone is only 10 or 15 percent responsible for an accident, that’s still an important source of compensation for you.