No one, not even at-fault drivers, wishes for an auto accident as they ply the highway every day. However, motor vehicle accidents happen now and again and result in different types of injury and vehicle damage. Sometimes, these injuries are as severe as a traumatic brain injury and may even become fatal. What if the other driver doesn't have insurance in Dallas?
Texas Department of Transportation 2019 reports show that based on reportable crashes, a person does every 2 hours, 26 minutes. Since Texas is an at-fault state, every at-fault driver pays for the injuries and property damages the crash causes. As such, Texas Insurance Law mandates every motorist to have auto insurance coverage that covers certain damages when they cause an accident.
Unfortunately, not every motorist obeys this law, and sometimes, you may find a liable party who has no insurance. This article will help you understand what happens in such situations. However, it's best to let an experienced attorney guide you on a personalized approach to recovering your compensation.
What Types of Coverage Are Available to Texas Drivers?
Texas laws make it compulsory for motorists to meet certain minimum auto insurance conditions. Those minimum requirements fall under a type of insurance policy that makes up the liability coverage. This liability coverage covers the victim's medical bills, property damage, compensation for pain and suffering, etc. For Texas drivers, the minimum liability insurance they must have is as follows:
- $30,000 for bodily injury liability per person injured
- $60,000 for total bodily injury liability for two or more injured people
- $25,000 for property damage per accident
Texas drivers refer to these minimum automobile liability insurance requirements as "30/60/25". However, sometimes, the 30/60/25 policy limit isn't enough to cover the injuries and property damage in an accident. To avoid paying from their pockets in such situations, some drivers prefer to carry more liability coverage. They can also decide to take on an additional insurance policy to offer other coverage types.
The other types of insurance coverage available to Texas drivers are:
- Collision coverage
- Towing and Labor coverage
- Comprehensive coverage
- Underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage
- Rental reimbursement coverage
- Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage
- Medical payments coverage
These insurance policy types perform different functions and come in handy in different situations.
What Happens When the At-Fault Driver Has No Insurance?
There are many reasons why the driver responsible for a motor vehicle accident may have no automobile insurance policy. First, the liable party may have an invincibility complex, think that insurance is expensive, or may not trust the insurance company. Many other motorists see insurance as a couple of complicated jargon. Other times, the at-fault party may not realize that they don't have a valid insurance policy in the circumstances.
Regardless of the reasons uninsured drivers give, you can still get fair compensation for your losses through the following means:
An Auto Insurance Claim With Your Auto Insurance Company
Ordinarily, the negligent driver's insurance ought to cover the damages in a Texas accident. However, under some circumstances, that may not be possible. Therefore, you may have to turn to your insurance company for compensation through a car accident claim.
If your property damage coverage isn't enough, you can file a bodily injury claim to offset your medical expenses. It's essential to note that you can only go this route if you have some insurance policies. Therefore, before you purchase an auto policy, it's best to confirm what it covers from your insurance provider. If your insurance doesn't cover your losses, you can proceed with the other available recovery options.
Sometimes, the uninsured motorist may be the at-fault party but not necessarily the liable party. For example, if a company driver hits you, they are at fault for the accident because they caused it. However, if the driver was in a company vehicle in their official capacity, the company may be liable. Again, there may be other negligent drivers who share liability in the accident.
Liability depends on the circumstances surrounding the accident. Sometimes, you may be unsure whether you can pursue a property damage claim against a third party. We'd advise you to consult with your auto accident lawyer if you're considering third-party damages.
Pursue a Lawsuit for Damages Against the Uninsured Driver
Another option you have when the negligent driver has no insurance is filing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. By filing a lawsuit, your auto accident attorney will make the negligent driver pay damages from their pocket. To do this, your lawyer must prove that the driver responsible was sloppy and the negligence caused the accident/injury.
If you win the lawsuit, you'd be entitled to damages that cover your hospital bills, funeral expenses, pain, and suffering, etc. However, it's important to note that merely winning a lawsuit doesn't guarantee fair compensation for you. That's because your damages hinge on the defendant's ability to pay. You may have to work out a flexible payment option with the negligent driver to enable them to pay in installments.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage in Dallas
The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles claims that about 20% of Texas drivers are uninsured. This means there's a reasonable chance of colliding with an uninsured motor vehicle on Texas roads. As such, it's wise to map out a coverage option for yourself in case that happens. You can do this by purchasing an uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
These are optional coverage policies because the government doesn't mandate that you have them. They are only necessary to protect yourself from footing the bills after an accident. Uninsured motorist insurance becomes helpful in instances where the at-fault driver has no motorist insurance coverage whatsoever.
It's also necessary where you were injured in a hit-and-run or by an unknown driver. In such cases, you have no one who can pay your damages, so your insurance company offsets the bills. Uninsured motorist insurance prevents you from sorting your medical payment from your pocket in such situations. However, this doesn't apply to cases where someone took your vehicle without permission.
On the other hand, in underinsured motorist insurance, the at-fault driver has a liability policy. However, the policy doesn't provide enough property damage or bodily injury coverage for your pain and losses. For example, your accident insurance claim may be worth $60,000, and the at-fault driver's insurance is worth $30,000. In such instances, your underinsured insurance will cover the remainder of $30,000 that the driver couldn't pay.
Is It Worth Suing an Uninsured Motorist?
It's a pretty straightforward process to get your compensation when an insured person caused your accident. For uninsured persons, it becomes complex and leaves you with difficult recovery choices. You have to choose between using your insurance (if you have), going after another person, or filing a lawsuit. Each option comes with its pros and cons.
Sometimes, someone can cause an accident even when you were driving carefully and exercised your impeccable driving skills. So, you may feel angry about the accident and want revenge by filing a lawsuit. While your reasons are valid, it's best to weigh your options carefully to avoid shooting yourself in the leg eventually.
For example, a motorist who couldn't pay insurance would mostly not be able to pay compensation. In such a case, it would be unwise to waste time, money, and resources on a lawsuit that wouldn't benefit you. At other times, what you would gain from the case may be nothing compared to your expenses.
However, there are some cases where it's wise to file a personal injury lawsuit. For example, where you're sure to recover significant compensation for your losses, it's okay to pursue a suit in court. Your personal injury lawyer can guide you on what options suit your circumstances best.
Contact a Dallas Personal Injury Attorney for Free!
If someone else caused your accident due to negligence, they deserve to pay compensation for your pain. Even if they are uninsured motorists, you can still get them to pay damages. However, insurance claims and lawsuits can be complex, and you need legal aid from experienced attorneys to succeed.
At Glenn Law Firm, we've got Dallas's most experienced lawyers available to offer top-notch legal services to you. With us, you can be sure to get the best out of your accident claims and lawsuits. What's more, you wouldn't need to part with a dime unless we win. Contact us immediately to get started on your case and beat the Texas time limit.