What happens if I get into an accident with an uninsured driver?

Beware of Uninsured Drivers Traffic SignA car crash can be both a scary and frustrating experience. In addition to the stress of the incident itself, accident victims often must also deal with physical injuries, emotional pain, property damage, and more. Accidents also take a financial toll, especially when victims are forced to miss work due to their injuries. These situations are only made worse when the driver responsible for the crash is uninsured. Every driver in Texas, and nearly every other state in the country, is required to carry auto insurance. Unfortunately, there are many who ignore these laws and continue to drive without even the minimum amount of insurance. An Insurance Information Institute (III) study reported that approximately 12 percent of the drivers nationwide fail to secure the proper insurance, and the state of Texas ranks among the highest in the country, with 1.6 million uninsured drivers.

All Drivers Are Required to Secure Minimum Amounts of Auto Insurance

In Texas, drivers are required to purchase an auto insurance policy to cover bodily injury liability and property damage liability. These would cover injuries to those involved in the accident, as well as the damage to the vehicles or other property. The state has set minimum amounts for each, and failure to obtain an adequate policy can result in stiff penalties, including fines, loss of licensure, vehicle impoundment, and more. Basic insurance in Texas is known as 30/60/25, as it requires:

  • $30,000 per injured person
  • $60,000 total per accident
  • $25,000 in property damage per accident

While the state minimums can keep a driver on the road legally, they are often inadequate to cover the expenses incurred after a serious accident. As a result, drivers can elect to purchase both higher coverage amounts and additional types of coverage. One common type of additional coverage protects drivers against uninsured or underinsured motorists.

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage Can Protect Texas Victims

One study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) examined the sources of payment for auto accidents and found that 25 percent of the time, private individuals bear the burden of crash costs. Paying out of pocket for the expenses related to an accident can be extremely costly. Accident victims are often forced to miss work due to injuries, and this loss of income only adds to the stress of the mounting bills. To help protect drivers from this situation, uninsured motorist coverage is available through most insurance companies as an addition to a basic policy. It covers the medical expenses and property damage you sustain in an accident caused by a driver who does not have insurance.

The policy can be pricey, but it may be invaluable if you are involved in an accident. Uninsured motorist insurance can also cover victims in cases where the at-fault driver has insurance, but it is not adequate to cover the entirety of the bills related to the accident. This insurance would cover the vehicle owner, family members, passengers in the car, and anyone driving the vehicle with the owner’s permission.

Obtaining Compensation From an Uninsured Driver Can Be Challenging

It can feel frustrating to have to purchase insurance to protect yourself from those who disobey the law and refuse to pay their part. However, there are often limited options when it comes to holding an uninsured driver accountable. Often, these drivers have little money. While it can be possible to pursue a personal injury claim against these individuals, every case is unique, and only an experienced accident attorney can examine your case and help you determine your best options. After a car accident, victims and their families should be able to focus on recovery and not wonder how they are going to pay their bills.

If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a car accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, the dedicated legal team at Kennedy Hodges, LLP, may be able to help you obtain the justice and compensation you deserve. Call our accident attorneys today at 855-947-0707 to learn more about your rights.

 

David W. Hodges
David Hodges is a founding partner of Kennedy Hodges. He focuses his practice on personal injury claims.