Jason Stephens | March 19, 2020 | Car Accidents
One of the first things you are told to do after an automobile accident is to switch contact and insurance information with any other drivers. While Texas requires all drivers to have some sort of insurance, the reality is that not everyone does. There is a high possibility that you may find yourself involved in an accident where the other driver doesn’t have insurance. If this happens, there are several things you can do:
Gather Information and Evidence
Even if the other driver doesn’t have insurance, you will want to make sure you get their contact information. Take pictures of the wreck and damage to any vehicles. Also note other driving conditions that could have contributed to the wreck like weather, road conditions, or broken signs.
You should also keep track of any other costs associated with the accident. One specific important thing is whether you have to miss any work. How many days were you off the job and how much money did you lose? Keep track of all medical bills and diagnoses. These are important even if your injuries are minor. Make notes of your pain levels and what type of rehabilitation services you need. If you may have long-term medical needs, make sure to have a doctor write out exactly what will be needed.
Look at your Insurance Policy for Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Depending on what type of coverage you have, you may still be covered even though the other driver didn’t have insurance. Many policies have a section for either uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. This covers damage and other costs from accidents caused by uninsured drivers.
While some states require all insurance policies to include uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, Texas does not. However, all policies offered in the state do include these provisions. Texas, the option must be offered and you must expressly opt-out of the coverage.
You will probably not be able to use this coverage if you are at fault for the accident. that is why step one of gathering information and evidence is so important. You can provide all of this information to your insurance company to help prove that you were not at fault.
If there is no Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Again, make a record of all conversations you have with the other driver. Double-check with them that they do not have any insurance. It is possible that they had a lapse in coverage or were previously covered. If it is a young driver, they may not even be aware that they have coverage through their parents. Regardless, it could be possible to negotiate with their insurance company to get some sort of compensation.
Texas is known for having insurance companies that offer discounted policies that are often useless and junk. These are cheap insurance schemes that have a lot of fine print that many do not read. They are notorious for having strict limits on what they cover. They state things like only one person is covered on the policy. This means that if anyone else is driving the car, it won’t be covered.
Consult a Lawyer
If the other driver has junk insurance, you may still be able to negotiate a settlement with the help of a lawyer. While the insurance may be junk, the company is real and does not want a lawsuit. It is unlikely that they would pay for their client’s costs but they may be open to a settlement with you to help cover some or all of your costs to avoid going to court.
You may also find it beneficial to hire a lawyer to help negotiate the settlement from your insurance agency. Remember, insurance agencies are not really on your side. They have large teams of lawyers who work daily to ensure that the company pays as little as possible. Having an attorney on your side during the negotiations can be the difference between getting no compensation or full payment.
A last resort would be to sue the person who caused the wreck in civil court. You must file a claim within two years of the accident. These types of cases will be hard to win. You will have to prove that the other driver was negligent and a proximate cause of the accident and your injuries. Additionally, if you do win in court, the other driver can claim bankruptcy and will not have to pay you. A lawyer may be able to help you negotiate a settlement with the other driver before it gets to court but it is doubtful that this amount of compensation will cover all of your costs.