In Texas, car insurance covers injuries and damage you cause in a crash. Texas requires all drivers to carry car insurance that can cover at least $30,000 in injuries per person, $60,000 in injuries per accident, and $25,000 for property damage per accident. What happens if you don’t have this insurance and get into a car crash?
If you were the victim of the crash, not having insurance shouldn’t affect your ability to claim damages against the at-fault driver. If you caused the crash and had no insurance, you could be forced to pay damages out of pocket, which could be too much to cover – but an insured victim may be able to use their own insurance for coverage. If neither driver had insurance, that could be a disaster for the victim.
The Dallas car accident lawyers at The Queenan Law Firm help victims of car accidents get the damages they deserve after a crash, and we can help you understand how to get compensation regardless of what insurance policies should cover your crash. For a free legal consultation on your accident case, call us today at (817) 476-1797.
What Happens in Car Crashes Without Insurance in Texas?
Texas insurance policies protect drivers financially by covering the damages that they cause in a crash. Without insurance, whoever caused the accident can be personally liable for any damages they cause. This can lead a court to order them to pay without the help of an insurance policy.
When car accidents occur in Texas, the victim typically files a third-party claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to get damages. In some cases, this is enough to cover vehicle repair costs and minor injuries, and the claim ends with the insurance company delivering a check to the victim. However, Texas law does allow victims to sue instead of relying on insurance under its “at-fault” or “tort” liability system.
Taking a car accident case to court can be beneficial in cases where the victim faced severe injuries or where the insurance company refuses to cooperate. This may also be necessary in cases where the insurance company honestly believes their driver was not at fault or where the defendant has no insurance and is not willing to voluntarily pay damages.
When the defendant has insurance, their insurance company typically covers payments and provides the driver with a lawyer under the terms of their insurance policy. Without insurance, the only option for recovery might be a lawsuit, where the victim and their lawyer sue the other driver directly rather than relying on the insurance companies.
Can Victims Get Compensation Without Car Insurance in Texas?
If you were injured in a car crash and you did not have car insurance, there is no law that prevents you from seeking compensation. Some states have “pay to play” laws that require drivers to have insurance or else give up their right to sue after an accident – or otherwise limit their ability to recover damages. In Texas, victims are allowed to sue for damages whether they have insurance or not.
The biggest issue is when neither driver has insurance. In that case, you will sue the other driver, but they might not be able to afford the damages out of pocket. This can get complicated, and many drivers may be deemed “judgment-proof” because they simply do not have the assets or cash to pay damages. However, the court may be able to go after their property to help satisfy their debt to you, or they could garnish future wages and other incomes to help provide you with the damages you deserve.
If you did have insurance, you may have first-party benefits that protect you in case of a crash even if the at-fault driver didn’t have insurance. Medical pay and personal injury protection (PIP) insurance can be added to insurance policies to pay you damages if you were injured in a crash, regardless of what the at-fault driver’s insurance might provide. $2,500 of PIP coverage must be offered as part of all insurance policies by default in Texas, and you need to specifically opt out to avoid this coverage.
If you did have insurance but the other driver did not, you might also have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM). UM/UIM coverage can help victims in cases where the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance by providing coverage anyway. This coverage also kicks in if the other driver does have insurance, but their policy limit is too low to cover your injuries.
How Do At-Fault Drivers Pay for Accidents Without Insurance in Texas?
If the at-fault driver did not have insurance, they will be personally liable to the victim for any damages they caused. The law requires drivers to carry insurance to ensure that there is some pool of money available to pay for damages in the event of an accident. Causing an accident without insurance is economically dangerous since the court can come after you directly, potentially putting your savings, your home, and your other assets on the line.
If the victim was injured and can rely on their own insurance policy’s medical pay, PIP, or UM/UIM coverage, the at-fault driver might be off the hook. However, these types of coverage often come with deductibles and pay for only a percentage of the victim’s injuries, so there may be additional damages the victim wants to claim against the at-fault driver. In that case, a lawsuit might still happen, and the at-fault driver could still be required to pay some damages out of pocket.
Call Our Texas Car Accident Lawyers for Help with Your Case
If you were injured in an accident, our Arlington car accident attorneys may be able to help. Call us for help with your accident case whether you have insurance or not; there are many reasons a lawsuit may still be the best way to get your damages compensated. For a free case consultation, call The Queenan Law Firm at (817) 476-1797.