What to do if you are hit by an Uninsured or Underinsured motorist in Texas?
Texas ranks in the top 20 states where an estimated 14.1% of drivers carry no insurance at all! These are irresponsible drivers, who, if they hit you will most likely not be able to cover any of your medical bills or damage done to your vehicle. If you were badly injured in a car accident you have likely incurred tens of thousands of dollars in medical care and lost wages.
Texas State law requires a motorist to maintain minimum liability coverage, which is at least $30,000 of coverage for injuries per person, up to a total of $60,000 per accident, and at least $25,000 for property damage. In Texas this is frequently called 30/60/25.
If you are unable to seek compensation from the driver who caused the collision or their insurance is inadequate, you should consider your options by talking to an experienced car accident lawyer.
Option Number 1: Use your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Benefits or Medical Payments Coverage
These are similar types of coverage in that they pay you and your passengers’ medical bills. PIP frequently covers things like lost wages and other nonmedical costs and is included in coverage, unless you told the insurance company in writing that you did not want it.
Option Number 2: Bring a Claim on Your Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Policy
Uninsured or Underinsured motorist coverage is designed precisely for situations where the negligent driver either has no insurance or inadequate insurance. Uninsured coverage also applies if you are in a hit-and-run accident.
Under Texas law, Uninsured and Underinsured motorist coverage must be offered to you, and similar to PIP, it must be declined in writing.
Option Number 3: Use your Health Insurance
You may have health insurance through a job, or possibly through the Affordable Care Act. Sometimes your own insurance will cover your medical bills, but frequently they will not. Whether your own insurance will pay depends on the type of policy that you have, and you should check whether you can use your health insurance to pay for medical care. This generally is not an ideal situation to be in.
Often when a person is injured in a collision the hospital will refuse to bill your insurance once the hospital is told you were in a wreck. You may also have to pay a deductible, which could be huge and unaffordable. Most plans also do not include coverage for lost income, which you may need badly if unable to work.
Option Number 4: Use Collision Coverage
Collision coverage pays to repair or replace your vehicle after an accident. Usually if you take out a vehicle loan the lender will require you to have purchased collision coverage. Unfortunately, collision coverage does not cover any of your injuries.
Option Number 5: File a lawsuit
When a negligent driver does not carry applicable insurance, the driver remains legally liable for all wrecks which they caused. This means you can sue the driver and try to get at his personal assets to pay a jury verdict.
The sad reality is that if a driver is not financially responsible enough to carry liability insurance, they usually lack the assets to pay for your injuries.
Talk with a Car Accident Attorney
The Genthe Law Firm has been representing Texas motorists for years, and we have built our reputation on being tough with insurance companies. Contact us if an insurance company refuses to adequately pay, we will do our best to put these issues in front of a jury so you can get what you are owed.