You pay for auto insurance because it’s the law, and you expect everyone else to also follow the rules. Unfortunately, many people don’t, and there are millions of uninsured drivers across the country.
It’s a particularly widespread issue in Texas. According to the Texas Department of Insurance, an estimated 20% of drivers don’t have insurance.
The worst part about being hit by an uninsured driver is that you are victimized twice. The first hit will be the accident itself and any resulting injuries and damages. The second hit will be the inability to receive compensation for your injuries because there is no insurance policy to cover your damages.
In this article, we’ll cover:
- What you should do in the immediate aftermath following an accident with an uninsured driver
- Explore how you can cover your losses, and
- When it might be time to contact a Dallas car accident lawyer to help you navigate this frustrating process
File a Police Report
If you get into a car accident, whether the other person has insurance or not, you should always contact the police. However, an uninsured motorist will likely try to persuade you to do otherwise after an accident.
It’s a crime to drive without insurance in Texas, and they know they’re going to face some stiff penalties when the police arrive. They may tug at your heartstrings or even offer you money to keep this off the record.
But if you’re dealing with an uninsured driver, calling the police is even more important, since their report will help you when you file a claim with your insurance company.
When an officer arrives at the scene, they’ll collect vital information including the contact information for the liable party, evidence from the accident, and who caused it. All of this information will help you get your expenses covered and make the claims process smoother.
Document the Damages and Injuries
After you get in an accident, it’s critical to document both damages to your vehicle and any injuries you may have suffered.
While damage to your vehicle will be immediately apparent, bodily injuries may take a while to manifest. So, even if you feel fine after an accident, you may want hold off before declaring there were no injuries in case they arise.
Gather the following information when you’re at the scene of the accident and after you see the doctor:
- Damage to the vehicle
- Damage to other personal property
- Medical bills and other relevant medical records
- Proof of lost wages if you had to miss work to seek treatment
Your Insurance Company
If you’ve been hit by a driver who doesn’t have insurance, you’ll have to rely on your own insurance company to cover your losses. Your best bet to receive compensation is to use your uninsured motorist coverage.
Texas law requires insurance companies to automatically offer it in their policies. You can opt-out of uninsured motorist coverage in writing by submitting a specific form to your insurance company. But unless they required you to submit this form, you may have this coverage even if you didn’t pay for it.
Texas law also requires insurance companies to offer underinsured motorist coverage to customers. Similar to uninsured motorist coverage (UM), underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) will pay for damages if the driver doesn’t have sufficient coverage to pay for your injuries or repair bills.
Sometimes you have as little as 30 days from the date of the accident to file your UM or UIM claim. So, you want to start the claims process quickly after you learn that the other driver has no (or not enough) insurance, but we recommend doing so only after contacting a lawyer.
Contact a Lawyer Before Dealing With Your Insurance Company
- An attorney can review your insurance policies and help you understand the different coverages that allow you to receive compensation.
- It’s hard gathering all the necessary evidence while you’re trying to recover. Law offices have teams who can contact medical offices, obtain police reports, and other vital documents.
- Your insurance company may make it difficult for you to get the full compensation you deserve for your losses. An attorney can help negotiate with the insurance company or even fight for you in court if needed.
Can I File a Lawsuit Against an Uninsured Driver?
Yes, you can file a lawsuit against an uninsured driver, but the question is if you should. And ultimately, the answer to this question will depend on the uninsured driver’s ability to pay.
If the driver doesn’t have insurance because they can’t afford it, they likely won’t have the funds to pay a personal injury judgment. So, taking your case to court might be a waste of time.
However, there may be some instances where the driver has assets that would cover your injuries, either partially or wholly. If you consult with a Dallas car accident lawyer, they can run a credit and asset check on the driver before filing a lawsuit.
If your lawyer learns that the defendant owns some assets, they can take legal action to allow you to recover directly from the defendant. Once a judgment is filed against them, you can collect from their personal property.
Can I File a Lawsuit Against Other Responsible Parties?
In addition to the uninsured driver who caused the accident, you may also file a claim against any party that contributed to the accident.
For example, let’s say a vehicle manufacturer failed to issue a recall on a defective part, and that mechanical failure played a role in the accident. In that case, this third party may be held liable to pay for your damages.
A Dallas car accident lawyer attorney can investigate that accident, identify any other parties that contributed to the accident, and help you determine if it’s worthwhile to file a claim.
Hit By An Uninsured Driver? The Dallas Car Accident Lawyers At Tim O'Hare Can Help
If you’ve suffered serious losses that won’t be covered due to an uninsured or underinsured driver, it may be time to talk to an experienced Dallas car accident lawyer.
When you meet with one of the attorneys at The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare, we’ll help you understand your options to receive fair compensation. And the best part is we offer a free case evaluation, so there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Contact us today or schedule an appointment, and we’ll do everything in our power to help you get back on the road to recovery.