What to Do If You’ve Been Hurt in a Collision Due to the Negligence of an Uninsured Motorist
Texas is one of several “fault states” that require negligent drivers who cause collisions to pay for the damages (physical and property-related) they inflict. Most Texans will ensure their ability to cover potential damages by purchasing liability insurance. In fact, state law requires drivers to carry at least a $30,000 policy to cover single person bodily harm, $60,000 for multiple passenger injuries, and $30,000 for property damage—all together, this makes $120,000 liability coverage per motorist or car.
However, just because the law states that every driver should have insurance to protect himself, this doesn’t necessarily guarantee that a negligent driver will have enough insurance to cover your losses after a crash. So, what can you do to protect yourself against uninsured and underinsured drivers? Simple. Plan ahead, understand the meaning of negligence, and know where to turn for help.
Precautions to Protect Yourself
One important first step to protecting your family is planning ahead by purchasing additional insurance coverage for accidents caused by uninsured and under insured drivers. You may not think it’s fair that your insurance may have to cover someone else’s negligence, but without the added cushion, you and your family could be left without compensation enough to repair the damage that was done. Therefore, in addition to the liability coverage required to protect you if you cause an accident, you should also voluntarily purchase additional coverage in case of an uninsured or under insured driver collision.
Once purchased, if a negligent driver fails to have adequate insurance to cover your damages, your insurance company will cover the difference up to the limits of your policy. This type of insurance can also come in handy for situations like hit-and-runs, pedestrian and bike collisions, as well as when you’re a passenger in another person’s car.
When an uninsured driver causes your accident, you may also be able to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver in addition to falling back on your own insurance. Furthermore, depending on the situation, you may also file against a liable third party if his negligence contributed to your injuries.
- Insurance companies. Once you prove liability, you can file a claim against the negligent driver’s liability insurance. If the driver fails to have liability insurance, you can file a claim against your own uninsured policy.
- Liable driver (personal injury). If the liable driver doesn’t have insurance, and your policy fails to cover all your medical expenses, you may be able to file a lawsuit directly against the driver who caused your injuries. Despite not having insurance, the driver probably has some financial assets that can be used to pay your settlement.
- Negligent third party. There is a possibility that a third party could be considered partially to blame for the accident if his actions directly resulted in the driver’s negligence. For example, a bar or club may be held liable if a bartender continued to serve drinks to the driver even though he was visibly impaired. If the bartender then allowed the driver to leave without a designated driver or taxi, the establishment could be held partially accountable for the inevitable accident.
No matter which compensation option your collision is eligible to pursue, your best chance to successfully follow through with your claim lies with hiring a personal injury attorney.
The Help You Need to Deal With Insurance Claims
In order to build a strong personal injury case, you must be able to establish clear-cut proof of fault. This is where a qualified lawyer can help. Contact our office today for the seasoned and local counsel of attorney Steve Lee. His experience and resources can not only help you understand your options, but also help you instigate your fight against the insurance companies, the driver, and anyone else who may be liable for your injuries. Schedule your FREE consultation today—you won’t regret it.