Navigating Hit and Run and Uninsured Driver Incidents in Texas
We all assume that if we’re involved in a car accident, the other driver’s car insurance will cover the costs if the other driver caused the accident. State laws about car insurance are designed to ensure this happens, but not everyone follows the law.
What happens if the other driver doesn’t have car insurance or has insufficient coverage? What if they hit you and then run off? At that point, you need a car accident lawyer in Bryan, TX on your side for the best outcome.
In Texas, like most states, drivers are legally required to have auto insurance. Despite this, many drivers on the road either lack car insurance altogether or have insufficient coverage. When an accident involves an uninsured driver or an underinsured driver, it can pose serious challenges.
If you find yourself in an accident with an uninsured driver, your own insurance policy may come into play. Most insurance companies offer uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage as part of their policies.
This type of coverage is specifically designed to protect drivers when the at-fault driver doesn’t have adequate insurance. It’s not required, but everyone should have uninsured motorist coverage anyway, and Texas strongly encourages it.
What Does Uninsured Motorist Coverage Entail?
Uninsured motorist coverage is essential in Texas, where an estimated 20% of drivers aren’t insured. This coverage pays for injuries you or your passengers may suffer if you’re hit by an uninsured driver or in a hit-and-run accident.
Uninsured motorist property damage will cover the costs of repairs to your vehicle when the other driver is uninsured. In cases where the at-fault driver has some insurance, but it’s not enough to cover your costs, underinsured motorist coverage is usually the only collision coverage you can count on.
Steps to Take After an Accident with an Uninsured Driver
After any accident, it’s crucial to follow specific steps to protect your interests:
Stay Safe and Get Help
Always ensure the safety of everyone involved, and even if it’s a minor accident or a hit-and-run, report it to the police.
They will document the scene and gather evidence which can be invaluable later. This is also the time to get medical help. Even if you don’t think you’ve been injured, it pays to get checked out, just in case.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in College Station, TX
Your car accident attorney in College Station, TX will immediately investigate the accident and may be able to find evidence that will help you increase your compensation from an auto insurance company or even find a hit-and-run driver.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Contact the company that gives you car insurance coverage and inform them about the accident, and be sure to mention if the other driver was uninsured or can’t be found. The company can guide you on the auto insurance claims process, which you should follow with your lawyer’s help.
Reporting and Documentation Are Crucial
After any accident, but especially one involving an uninsured or underinsured driver, proper reporting gives you the best chance at a good outcome. When you report the incident to the police, this creates an official record that you’ll need for filing an auto insurance claim or pursuing legal action.
It’s also wise to document everything, from accident scene damage to injuries and any interactions with the other driver. This can be invaluable evidence if there’s a dispute with your insurer about your uninsured motorist coverage or if the case goes to court.
Dealing With Insurance Companies
Car insurance companies are important for covering your medical bills and other expenses. When the other driver is uninsured, your car insurance company may become primarily responsible for your collision coverage, though your health insurance may come into play, as well.
However, it’s important to remember that while the car or health insurance company may insure you, that doesn’t mean they’re on your side.
The insurance industry operates on risk, and when they’re offering uninsured motorist coverage, they will carefully scrutinize all details of the uninsured motorist accident and investigate how to minimize their own losses. It’s essential to cooperate with their investigation, but it’s equally important to ensure your rights are protected at the same time. Your car accident attorney is the one who does this for you.
How Your Car Accident Lawyer in Bryan, TX Works for You
Getting Through the Claims Process
Filing an underinsured or uninsured motorist claim can be difficult, especially when you’re working with unfamiliar insurance terms like personal injury protection and an insurance agent who may be interested in passing off responsibility for your medical payments to someone else.
The process can involve multiple steps, including an assessment of the damage to your vehicle, medical evaluations, and often, negotiations. Your insurer will need concrete evidence that the other driver was indeed at fault.
If the negligent driver was underinsured, your car insurance policy will kick in to cover medical bills, property damage, and other losses once the other driver’s insurance has been exhausted. However, if the at fault party was completely uninsured, your uninsured motorist coverage may be the only source of compensation.
Potential Legal Action
When your underinsured motorist coverage doesn’t fully cover the damages, or when you face resistance from your insurer, legal action might become necessary. In Texas, injured parties have the right to pursue damages against uninsured drivers.
Collecting money from an uninsured driver can be challenging, however, as there’s often a financial reason they lacked coverage in the first place, which is why many must turn to their own insurance company for help.
Still, with proper legal representation, there are avenues to explore. For instance, if the other driver caused the accident at least in part due to the actions of a third party, such as a manufacturer who installed a faulty vehicle component, there might be other entities that can be held responsible for your auto accident and the resultant property damage and medical bills. In other cases, you may be able to get a settlement that has the other driver pay damages to you in monthly payments or that puts a lien on their property.
Why Do Some Drivers Choose to Forgo Insurance?
For many drivers, the issue is affording monthly insurance premiums, and in these cases, it can be very difficult to get compensation in a lawsuit. However, some drivers believe they’re skilled enough to avoid accidents, don’t get around to it, feel aggrieved that the government requires them to get insurance, or simply think they’ll be “lucky.” In these cases, there’s a much greater chance the driver will be able to pay if they owe money in a settlement.
When you need help after an accident, contact Brian C. Gutierrez at 979-271-5338 for a free consultation. Reach out and get a skilled attorney fighting on your side.
Your Texas Car Wreck Lawyer
If you have been injured in a car accident in College Station, Bryan, Madisonville, Huntsville, Buffalo, Caldwell, Navasota, Buffalo, Rockdale, Hempstead, or Brenham, it is important to speak with a lawyer who can help you understand your rights and guide you through the claims process. At the Law Office of Brian C. Gutierrez, Attorney Brian Gutierrez is committed to providing personalized legal services for victims of car accidents. When you work with our firm, you are working directly with Attorney Gutierrez. Our clients are like family—contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about the services we offer.
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