Brian White | January 24, 2018 | Auto Accidents
Like all states, Texas requires drivers to maintain minimum insurance coverage levels. All drivers must buy at least $30,000 in coverage for each injured person and $25,000 for property damage per accident. Insurance policies pay for the damage to other people and their vehicles when a driver causes an accident. When someone breaks the law and drives without enough insurance coverage, or without insurance completely, other people pay the price. As the victim of a crash with an uninsured driver, you have options. After an uninsured/underinsured driver hits you in Houston, here’s what to do:
Recover Through Your Own Policy
Hopefully, you have valid vehicle insurance that will help cover your damages after an accident. If you have insurance, call your agent as soon as possible after the crash. There are often deadlines by which you must report your crash to qualify for coverage. After you talk to the police about your accident and seek medical attention for injuries, your next priority should be an insurance claim. Once you discover the other driver doesn’t have insurance, call your own insurance company and let them know what happened. Mention the other driver’s lack of insurance.
Your insurance agent will be able to tell you if your policy contains uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance. This type of insurance coverage is optional in Texas, so if you have the bare minimum, you likely do not have it. If you have purchased this coverage, it will protect you from uninsured motorists. This coverage protects you, your passengers, and your family members in the event of a collision with an uninsured driver. It will cover your medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, disability, and pain and suffering damages up to the amount you’ve purchased.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance will also help if the other driver had insurance, but not enough to cover your losses. The other driver’s insurance will cover as much as possible, at which point your own policy will kick in to cover what remains. If you call your insurer and find out that you have not paid for uninsured motorist insurance, there may be other options to consider before you pay out of pocket.
Call a Lawyer to Discuss Your Options
If your insurance does not cover all damages relating to your crash, contact an attorney. A car accident attorney will have experience handling claims involving at-fault uninsured drivers and will be able to tell you what your options are moving forward. You may have the opportunity to sue the at-fault driver and/or another party outside of an insurance claim. This could be the case if someone else’s negligence contributed to the accident, such as:
- Another driver
- A product manufacturing company
- The City of Houston for a roadway defect
Working with an attorney can open your eyes to possibilities for the compensation you might not know exists. You might need to investigate the other driver’s previous insurance companies to find things such as denials of coverage that could play a role in your claim. A lawyer can help you vet all possible outlets for recovery before resorting to paying for your losses from your own pocket.