Not every driver in San Antonio takes his or her legal responsibilities seriously. Many drive illegally, without valid driver’s licenses or adequate car insurance. If an uninsured or underinsured driver crashes into you, Texas’ fault laws may be of no use. You may not be able to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company if he or she has no policy. Luckily, you may have other options for the pursuit of financial recovery.
Call the Police
As soon as the at-fault driver admits to not having car insurance, involve the police, even if it was a minor crash. Driving without insurance is a crime in Texas that is punishable with a citation, fines and fees of up to $1,100, and the revocation of the driver’s license. Involving the police can hold the uninsured driver accountable for his or her misconduct. The driver may then have no choice but to get insurance – potentially saving someone else from having to go through the same issue in the future.
Go to the Hospital
You will need to do everything you can to improve the status of your insurance claim. This includes seeing a doctor right away after a car accident. If you feel fine, still see a doctor in case you have hidden injuries. Visiting a doctor immediately after a crash can help you build a claim later. The insurance company that will hear your claim will look for evidence that you have a valid case, such as medical documents supporting the injury you reported. It may be difficult enough to receive compensation after a crash with an uninsured driver without additional obstacles such as a lack of proper medical care.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Typically, you will contact the insurance provider of the at-fault driver after a crash under Texas’ fault-based car insurance laws. Drivers that cause car accidents in Texas should be financially responsible for the damages they inflicted. Fault-based laws differ from no-fault laws, in which all involved parties will seek damages from their own car insurers regardless of fault. If the at-fault driver has no insurance, however, your claim may look like a no-fault claim.
Try to file a claim with your insurance company. If you have the right type of insurance, your provider may pay for your medical bills and property repairs. Under Texas’ auto insurance requirements, you must carry at least $30,000 in injury liability, up to $60,000 per accident and $25,000 in property damage coverage. You do not have to carry the type of insurance that would cover you in a crash with an uninsured driver: uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) insurance. This is an optional type of insurance you may or may not have purchased.
Call your insurance provider as soon as you can after a collision with an uninsured driver. Most policies require crash reporting within 24 hours. Ask whether you have UM/UIM insurance. If so, file a claim seeking damage recovery through this coverage. If not, contact a San Antonio car accident lawyer to discuss your other options.
File a Personal Injury Claim
It might be possible to hold the at-fault driver directly responsible for your damages without insurance. However, most drivers that do not have insurance do not have the money to pay out a settlement or jury verdict. Your lawyer can investigate the at-fault driver and see if any outlets for recovery exist. For example, the driver’s employer might be vicariously liable for your crash if the driver was on-duty.
A third party might also bear full or partial fault for your accident and injuries, such as a negligent roadway maintenance crew or the manufacturer of a defective car part. Third-party liability could give you an option for compensation even without an insured at-fault driver. Hiring an attorney after a crash involving an uninsured driver can help you review all your potential options for financial recovery. If none exist, you may have to pay for your losses out of pocket.