Being involved in a car accident is a frightening, stressful, and emotionally overwhelming experience no matter the circumstances; however, it can be especially frustrating if you’re involved in a crash caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist.
Texas Uninsured Motorist Statute
Uninsured motorist coverage is required in Texas. This is mostly due to the fact that, although it is required that all drivers have a liability policy on their vehicle, not everyone does. According to several studies, as many as one in five drivers in Texas do not have insurance.
So if you were struck by an uninsured motorist, you may be wondering what to do next. After seeking immediate medical attention, take the following steps to ensure that you obtain financial compensation for your injuries and damages:
Check Your Car Insurance Policy
The first step is to see what type of car insurance you have on your policy, specifically if you have Uninsured Motorist (UM) or Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage. This is a type of insurance that you can purchase when you purchase automobile coverage for your own vehicle. If you have it, your insurance company will help pay for your damages, up to the limits of the policy, if the at-fault driver doesn’t have enough insurance to compensate you for your injuries or damages. Without UM/UIM coverage, it may be extremely difficult to secure the compensation necessary to obtain adequate medical treatment.
Contact a Lawyer
Whether or not you have UM/UIM coverage, there may be other types of coverage on your policy that could benefit your case. Keep your eye out for policies such as “uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury” or “uninsured motorist/underinsured property damage.”
File a Lawsuit Against the Uninsured Driver
If you do not have any coverage such as the ones listed above, you may be forced to sue the uninsured motorist directly. Texas is considered a no-fault state, meaning that if the uninsured driver caused your accident, injuries, and property damage, you may be entitled to sue for damages. Unfortunately, if a motorist cannot afford adequate car insurance, it is unlikely that he or she will have much to offer financially, despite being sued.
Since there is such a high percentage of uninsured drivers in Texas, it is wise that you should have uninsured motorist coverage from your own insurance company at limits you are comfortable with. Avoid having to pay for damages caused by someone else out of your own pocket.