Car accidents happen every day on our roads, and they can have serious repercussions. Traffic accidents regularly result in permanent injury, high medical bills, and significant pain and suffering. In the worst cases, car accidents victims require medical attention for the rest of their lives. And for some accidents, the responsible party has no means to pay for the damages caused. The negligent driver may not have insurance, or their insurance policy limits do not cover the damages caused.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
The main way to prevent a bad situation from becoming worse is by having Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. In many states, it is a legal requirement for all vehicles to have UM/UIM insurance, but Texas does not require it. This insurance ensures that the accident victims will have some coverage if a negligent driver chooses to drive without insurance. UM/UIM insurance will help you rest at ease when the medical bills pile up.
UM/UIM insuance also applies if you are a victim of a hit and run. Hit and run incidences have been on the rise, leaving many accident victims grappling with the heavy financial burden of medical bills in the aftermath of the accident. When this happens, the party or parties at fault are never held to justice, and often the police never find the perpetrator. The victims of these collisions are left with serious injuries and no one to take responsibility.
Claims Process for Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Claims
If you do have UM/UIM insurance, you will need to file a claim with your own insurer. Many people believe that their own insurer is more likely to pay the claim promptly and fairly. Unfortunately, insurers treat UM/UIM claims just like claims from other drivers. They initially offer low amounts, and they try to find any evidence to hold you responsible for the wreck. In many cases, it is advisable to hire a personal injury attorney to handle your claim for you while you attend to your medical treatment.
The negotiation for your UM/UIM claim will likely start after you’ve completed treatment, and may last several months. If you are unable to come to an agreement with the insurance company, you will have to file your case in court against the insurance company directly. The litigation process could take up to two years.
The Process Without Uninsured/Underinsured Benefits
If you do not have UM/UIM protection, and are involved in a car accident with an uninsured motorist or driver, you situation is much worse. You are most likely going to foot all of your medical bills by yourself or through help from family and friends. Unlike where the other driver has insurance, you have no other insurance company to call and notify about the accident apart from your own for the property damage. There is not a claims process for your injury, and no one to negotiate with.
Despite Texas laws that require all vehicles to have insurance coverage, some motorists still decide to drive on our highways without insurance. Their bad decisions often create the worst pain in others, as they have no way to pay for the damages they’ve caused.
Suing the Driver Directly
If the other driver does not have insurance, you may still sue the driver directly to force them to pay for your losses. However, in most cases, if the driver is dangerously operating a vehicle without insurance, they likely do not have any assets to collect. You can receive a judgment from the court against the driver, but it may be impossible to receive any money.
On the other hand, some drivers operate their vehicles oblivious of the fact that their insurance coverage has expired. In this scenario, it is possible that the driver may gave the ability to pay from their own assets.
However, the best and only sure way to deal with uninsured motorists beforehand is by ensuring that you have an Uninsured Motorist coverage as a top up to your normal liability coverage.
Some drivers on the road without insurance are fully aware of the civil and criminal repercussions that would face them. For this reason, they may try to offer you cash as a form of compensation at the scene of the accident. They may ask you not to report the accident to the police. However, it is in your best interest to report every accident to the police.
A qualified car accident attorney will be able to help you understand your situation, and if you have any source of recovery against the negligent driver. He or she will have to collect crucial evidence to act as the backbone to your case. The evidence could be in form of recordings, photos, videos, police reports, medical reports and eye witnesses statements. If you have been involved in an accident, contact a seasoned attorney to help you seek compensation for your losses. At Lone Star Injury Attorneys, we dedicate ourselves to seeking justice for the victims of personal injury cases such as car accidents. Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation with our team.