Should I Sue an Uninsured Driver After a Car Accident in Texas?
Car accident victims in Texas often look to file insurance claims to get compensation after a crash. Texas laws usually have you file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance, but if they don’t have insurance, getting compensation could be difficult. Lawsuits are generally an alternative option, but getting compensation this way could still be difficult.
If you were hit by an uninsured driver, you may be able to file a lawsuit against them to get the compensation you need paid out of pocket. A court order to pay damages can be enforced in many ways, so even if they don’t have insurance to pay for your injuries, they could still be ordered to pay from other sources. Your own insurance might also have other coverage options to help you get the money you need.
For help with a car accident case, call the Texas car accident attorneys at The Queenan Law Firm today at (817) 476-1797. We offer free case reviews.
Suing an Uninsured Driver in a Texas Car Accident Case
Under Texas law, you are generally permitted to file a lawsuit or a car insurance claim after an accident. While no-fault states often see drivers file a claim with their own insurance, Texas’ at-fault insurance laws essentially give the victim the option to file with the other driver’s insurance or sue them in court. That means that when insurance is unavailable, a lawsuit is still usually an option.
Whether you pursue an insurance claim or a lawsuit, your Houston car accident lawyer will first need to prove the other driver was at fault. Proving fault to an insurance company might be difficult because they are so often biased in favor of their own driver. As such, many insurance claims end up being litigated in court anyway, where a neutral judge and jury will determine fault instead of an insurance representative.
Under Texas law, every driver is required to carry insurance so that they can pay for injuries when accidents happen. When a driver fails to carry insurance in violation of this law, the option of filing a lawsuit against them is still there. However, without insurance, the at-fault driver often needs to pay out of pocket for your damages instead. This can create its own difficulties and problems that a Texas car accident injury lawyer can help you with.
Getting Paid by an Uninsured Driver for a Car Accident in Texas
Insurance is designed to provide the funds to pay for damages when a crash happens. Every driver in Texas is required to carry at least $30,000 in liability coverage for injuries per person, $60,000 for injuries per accident, and $25,000 for property damage. In serious accident cases, $30,000 might not be enough, and many drivers carry more than this to avoid having to pay out of pocket for more serious crashes.
When a driver fails to carry insurance, they open themselves up to fines and violations. They also open themselves up to having to pay all damages out of pocket if they cause a car accident. This means that, whether your injuries are over or under that $30,000 minimum insurance limit, all funds will have to be provided by the at-fault driver without the help of insurance. In some cases, defendants could have some kind of other insurance that will pay damages, such as business liability insurance. Otherwise, damages are usually paid out of pocket.
In cases where the defendant does not have the ability to pay all damages up front, your Dallas car accident lawyer might be able to arrange a payment plan. This could help you get the damages paid over time. Additionally, a defendant’s property can sometimes be “attached” to a civil injury claim and sold to pay for your damages if the defendant has trouble arranging payment. These measures should be discussed with your Texas car accident attorney.
In some cases, the defendant simply has no assets or funds to pay for damages. These defendants are considered “judgment-proof,” and dealing with a judgment-proof defendant can be incredibly difficult. However, your own insurance might be able to help with these cases.
Using Uninsured Motorist Insurance in Texas
In some cases, you might not need to worry about whether the defendant can pay what they owe you because you have your own insurance to help with these kinds of accidents. In Texas, every insurance company is required to offer you uninsured motorist coverage. This coverage must be rejected in writing if you don’t want it, so many drivers do have it as part of their insurance policy and might not realize it.
Uninsured motorist coverage usually comes with underinsured coverage as well, and these policies work to pay the policyholder if they are ever hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver. Uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage is something that you pay into. You file a first-party claim with your own insurance company to get your damages paid when using this insurance.
Because you pay for your own benefits, you control how much coverage you get. Electing for coverage above the minimum amount can provide additional benefits if you need to use it. You can learn more about whether you have UM/UIM on your policy and whether you should pay higher premiums for better UM/UIM protection by going over your insurance policy documents with a Texas car accident lawyer.
UM/UIM is helpful in cases where the driver is uninsured. Because you can never tell if a driver is going to be able to pay for your injuries when you take them to court, using your UM/UIM coverage first before considering a lawsuit is often a good idea. However, you should still work with an Arlington car accident attorney because even your own insurance company might try to deny your claim to save themselves money.
UM/UIM coverage is also helpful in hit-and-run cases where you might not know if the other driver is insured or not because you don’t know who hit you.
Call Our Texas Car Accident Lawyers for Help
If you were hit by an uninsured driver, call The Queenan Law Firm today for a free case review with our Fort Worth car accident lawyers. Our phone number is (817) 476-1797.