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Driving without insurance in Texas is illegal, yet it’s a widespread problem with potentially devastating consequences for victims. Despite mandatory liability insurance laws, data suggests a shocking number of drivers on Texas roads lack basic coverage. If an uninsured motorist injures you in an accident they caused, the path to obtaining compensation becomes far more complicated and challenging, particularly if the uninsured driver has few assets to pursue for damages. To best pursue your legal rights, you’ll need the help of a car accident lawyer in Buffalo, TX.

From Your Buffalo, TX Car Accident Lawyer:

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Let’s start with the best advice anyone will give you: if you don’t yet have it, you must get uninsured motorist coverage. Often referred to as UM, this addition to your auto insurance policy acts as a safety net in collisions involving uninsured or inadequately insured drivers. When you’re seeking legal representation after this type of accident, always choose a Texas lawyer with specific experience in handling UM claims. The process is notoriously complex, and your attorney will be important in getting you the maximum compensation you’re entitled to under the terms of your own UM insurance policy.

While Texas law mandates minimum UM/UIM coverage amounts, drivers can opt for higher limits, and you should if you’re able to do so. Knowing both the limits of your policy and whether the negligent driver carried any insurance, even minimal amounts, is vital for developing a realistic expectation about what you’ll be able to recover.

Unique Challenges of UM/UIM Claims

Unlike lawsuits against an insured driver who caused the accident, fighting for compensation in UM cases means you’re essentially battling your own insurance company. This creates an inherent conflict of interest where the insurer, who should be protecting you, is simultaneously trying to minimize its financial liability. These tactics often include:

Disputes Over Liability

Your own insurer may deny that the uninsured driver was at fault or try to shift partial blame onto you to justify reducing your payout. To fight this, your attorney will need to thoroughly document the accident, gather witness statements, and even work with accident reconstruction experts, if necessary.

Delayed or Lowball Offers

Insurance companies are notorious for dragging out the claims process or making insultingly low initial settlement offers. They bank on your desperation, hoping you will simply accept an amount far below what you truly deserve because the bills are piling up. A seasoned lawyer knows how to push back forcefully and may be able to file what’s known as a “bad faith” lawsuit against your insurer if they engage in these unreasonable tactics.

Policy Exclusions and Limitations

Unfortunately, insurance contracts contain a lot of fine print, so your attorney must dissect the specific terms of your UM coverage to identify any potential exclusions or limitations the company might use to deny your claim or minimize your compensation.

Hit-and-Run Accidents and UM Claims

When the negligent driver who caused your injuries flees the scene and is never identified, your uninsured motorist coverage becomes the primary avenue for pursuing compensation. These claims are often especially complex, requiring your lawyer to prove the other driver’s liability even without a criminal case to reference.

Strategies for Maximizing Your UM Compensation

Beyond selecting the right attorney, if you choose to be an active participant, this can make a difference in the final outcome of your case. Insurance companies seek any excuse to minimize payouts, including alleging you were partially responsible for your injuries by not following doctor’s recommendations or missing appointments. Prioritize your health, adhere rigorously to treatment plans, and document everything related to your recovery.

Don’t just focus on medical bills, either. UM coverage often also pays lost wages, the cost of adaptive equipment for your home, or in-home care services if your injuries create temporary or permanent disabilities. Your attorney needs clear evidence of these expenses, so maintain careful records from the moment the accident occurs. Texas law may also allow for “stacking” under certain circumstances, too. Stacking combines coverage from multiple cars on your policy or across multiple policies, which can potentially increase the available funds for severe injuries.

Lawsuits Against Uninsured Drivers

While obtaining a substantial judgment against an uninsured driver might offer a sense of justice, practical considerations must be weighed before you try going to court. Many uninsured motorists lack significant assets or income to satisfy a legal judgment: the reason they don’t have insurance is often because they can’t afford it. In that case, a lawsuit might offer some emotional satisfaction, but it won’t get you a payment, and it will cost you money to pursue. However, there are a few situations where this option becomes worth exploring:

Driver Assets Are Uncovered

Sometimes an accident investigation reveals the uninsured driver owns a second home, has a high-paying job, or has other assets that make pursuing a judgment worthwhile. However, it’s also important to remember that legal judgments may not always translate into swift and full payment.

Partial Insurance Coverage

Some drivers have insurance limits that are inadequate to cover the extent of your injuries. Suing them allows you to potentially recoup damages exceeding the payout available through their insurance policy, even if they have limited financial resources. Talk to your lawyer about whether this would be an option for you.

Selecting the Right Legal Team for Your UM Claim

The lawyer you choose will make a huge difference in the outcome of your case. These cases are not for inexperienced attorneys, so look for the following attributes when making this crucial decision:

Proven Track Record

A lawyer with demonstrated success winning settlements and verdicts in uninsured/underinsured motorist claims has demonstrated their in-depth knowledge of these complex cases. Ask about their win/loss ratio and request references from former clients with similar situations to yours.

Willingness to Go to Trial

Many insurance companies become far more amenable to fair settlement offers once they know your lawyer is fully prepared to take the case to court. Insurance companies know trial lawyers mean business, which gives you an advantage and may bring your insurance company to the table and willing to make a fair offer.

Strong Reputation and Client Focus

Research your potential attorney’s background and online reviews from prior clients. Seek out a lawyer known for their integrity, client communication, and a compassionate approach at a time when you’re likely dealing with both physical and financial setbacks.

The Brian Gutierrez, Personal Injury Trial Lawyer Difference

At our firm, we know your accident has likely caused you sudden financial instability, the stress of mounting medical bills, and the frustration of being injured by someone who chose to break the law and leave you in need. Our commitment is to provide strong legal advocacy, fight tirelessly for the compensation you deserve under your UM policy, and treat every client with the respect and empathy they deserve at this difficult time.

Sadly, some drivers have no insurance, expired insurance, or carry only minimal limits that fall far short of covering your losses. We’ll gather evidence to prove whether the at-fault driver meets the legal definition of “uninsured” or “underinsured” and fight for this with your insurance company.

If an uninsured motorist has left you struggling with injuries and financial hardship, contact Brian Gutierrez, Personal Injury Trial Lawyer right away for a free consultation to discuss your situation.

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“No words describe how amazing it is to work with Brian.” J.T.

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