by Tim O’Hare
In Texas, it is illegal to drive without at least liability insurance, but unfortunately the laws do not keep some drivers from driving without insurance. The Insurance Research Council estimates that drivers in the U.S. have a 14 percent chance of being involved in an accident caused by an uninsured driver.
The term “uninsured motorist” refers to a driver of a motor vehicle who is not carrying liability insurance, or to an unidentified driver of a hit-and-run accident. It can also refer to an insured driver whose insurance has denied coverage for some reason. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, about 25 percent of the state’s 17 million licensed drivers do not carry liability insurance.
Being involved in a car accident with an uninsured driver who is at fault can be a nightmare. What do you do and whom do you call?
1. Call the police. Any time you are involved in a car accident, call the police first and foremost to investigate the accident.
2. Seek medical attention. If you or anyone else involved in the accident has visible injuries (or may have injuries that are not visible, such as a head injury), seek medical attention as soon as possible. Hesitating to get treatment can result in more serious medical concerns. Better to be safe than sorry.
3. Get the other driver’s information. Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver. It is possible that the other driver may present an expired insurance card, but that does not necessarily mean they are uninsured. Get any and all information from the other driver so you can find out whether or not they are insured.
4. Contact your insurance company. The Texas Insurance Code has mandated that all insurance companies doing business in Texas offer uninsured and underinsured motorist protection. Uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance coverage applies to the policyholder and any family members residing in the same household, as well as passengers in the insured vehicle and anyone driving the insured vehicle with the owner’s permission. If you have uninsured insurance coverage, your insurance company should help cover your expenses from an accident.
5. Call an experienced personal injury attorney. Even if you have insurance coverage for this scenario, don’t expect your insurance company to do you any favors. Your insurance company will do everything it can to lessen the amount they pay to you, and insurance companies regularly tell people they are being paid what is “fair,” and frequently their definition of “fair” is far different than what most juries and policyholders would describe as fair.
6. Be sure you have Personal Injury Protection (PIP). If you do not currently have PIP, we recommend you purchase as much PIP as you can afford. This is an insurance that pays for your medical expenses (including deductibles and/or co-pays) regardless of who was at fault in the accident. There are a number of reasons we recommend PIP: 1) PIP is inexpensive security, 2) there are millions of uninsured drivers in the state of Texas, 3) you are likely to be in an accident at some point in your life and medical services are increasingly more and more costly, 4) PIP will help you whether you are at fault or not and 5) PIP also covers lost wages.
No matter what kind of insurance coverage you have, we never recommend that you attempt to deal with the insurance company yourself, but rather hire an experienced personal injury lawyer to protect your interests.
The insurance company does not have your best interests at heart, but we do. Insurance companies will take advantage of you. We have a proven record of recovering money for our clients’ medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. We can help, so give us a call, and we will discuss the best way to protect you and help you recover money for what you are dealing with through no fault of your own. We can even refer you to the right doctor to help you recover from your injuries.
If you have been injured in a car accident, or have lost a loved one in a wreck, call us. The experienced legal team at The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare will guide you through your case and ensure you get everything you deserve.
Call The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare for your FREE Case Evaluation 972-960-0000 or Toll-Free 888-960-0020