Car accidents happen, but it can be a big deal if one or both motorists are not insured. In Texas, having car insurance is mandatory for all drivers. You may need the assistance of a car accident attorney in Houston or San Antonio if you are involved in an accident where the other driver was uninsured. This is particularly true if the uninsured driver was responsible for the accident.
What Happens When the Other Driver Was Uninsured?
If the other motorist involved in your car accident was not insured, you will find that the steps you take after the accident may be different from the steps you would take if the accident involved a driver that was insured.
In general, car insurance is meant to cover the damages related to car accidents. But if the other driver does not have car insurance, this means that your insurance is on the hook for paying for all damages. If your insurance does not cover the full cost of your damages and medical bills, then that means you will be stuck paying for these damages out of pocket unless you take legal measures with a car accident attorney.
Call the Police
After an accident, it’s imperative to call the police, even if the accident was minor. Generating a police report and a crash report is an essential step to filing a claim with an insurance company: and if the other motorist involved in your accident was uninsured, then the police need to be contacted. This is because driving uninsured in Texas is illegal and police must be notified if there are drivers on the road who are driving without insurance.
Collect Contact Information
You should always collect the contact information of the other motorist involved in your accident. Not only will this give you the ability to contact them after you file a claim, but it will also help you track down the other motorist if you decide that filing the civil suit is in your best interest to recover compensation for your damages.
Call Your Insurance Company
Finally, you will need to call your insurance company and let them know that you’ve been in an accident with an uninsured driver. Your insurance company should ideally release funds so that you can cover the damages related to the accident.
Your insurance company will generally only pay for the damages that are caused by the uninsured driver. However, if you are at fault for the accident, then your insurance will also pay for the damages you caused to the uninsured driver’s vehicle.
What If You Don’t Have Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Although calling your insurance company and notifying them of a car accident is an important step, it may be relevant to know whether you have uninsured motorist coverage on your policy. Uninsured motorist coverage is a provisional coverage that will allow your insurance company to pay for damages related to an accident that involved an uninsured driver.
Many insurance policies have uninsured motorist coverage folded into the policy, but your specific plan may or may not have this coverage guaranteed. When you speak to your insurance company, you may want to ask about whether or not you have this particular coverage. If you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage, then you will need to pay for your damages out of pocket.
Important Things to Know
In addition to uninsured motorist coverage, there are a few things you will need to know if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver. Being knowledgeable of these facts will put you in a better position to navigate how you will seek compensation for your damages and recover after an accident.
Driving Uninsured Is Punishable
It is illegal to drive uninsured in Texas, and that means that an uninsured driver who was involved in an accident can face punishment. For example, uninsured drivers who are involved in an accident can receive a fine of up to $1,100, have their license suspended or revoked, and face other legal consequences.
Statute of Limitations
There is a statute of limitations for filing a civil lawsuit in Texas for a car accident with an uninsured motorist. You will generally have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim. If you miss this deadline, then you will not be able to seek compensation from the driver who caused your accident.
Personal Injury Claim
In Texas, you have the option of filing a personal injury claim if you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured driver. This is generally done to recover compensation for damages that were not covered by your insurance policy. For example, if your insurance did not cover the full cost of repairs to your vehicle or your medical bills, you can file a personal injury claim to get compensation.
How Can a Car Accident Attorney in Houston or San Antonio Help?
A car accident attorney may be able to help you after an accident with an uninsured driver. Because it can be difficult to recover after an accident, you may want to have legal help in Houston or San Antonio to give you advice, help you deal with your insurance company, and even gather evidence if your case progresses to trial.
One of the biggest things a car accident attorney can do for you is offer advice on whether it’s worth it to file a lawsuit for a personal injury claim. Although you are legally entitled to file a lawsuit, there may be circumstances related to your case where it may not make sense to seek compensation from the uninsured driver. For example, if the uninsured driver doesn’t have any assets to pay for your damages, you may not receive any compensation from a lawsuit.
Deal With Your Insurance Company
There are some circumstances where your insurance company may be reluctant to pay for your damages. In this case, a legal representative can help you deal with your insurance company so that you can pay for medical bills and repair your vehicle. This may be especially important if your insurance policy does not have uninsured motorist coverage.
Help You Gather Evidence
An attorney will be able to help you gather police reports, medical billing statements, and vehicle repair bills to help the court calculate the compensation you deserve for your injuries and damages. If the uninsured driver claims that you were responsible for the accident, it’s especially important to have the help of an attorney to use evidence to prove why you are not at fault for the accident.
Negotiate a Settlement on Your Behalf
Finally, a car accident attorney can help negotiate a settlement on your behalf. If the uninsured driver is willing to pay compensation, then your attorney will negotiate to get the best settlement offer possible. Your attorney will also negotiate with your insurance company to get compensation for your injuries and damages according to the details of your policy.
If you’ve been in a car accident in Houston or San Antonio with an uninsured driver, your recovery after an accident may be more complicated than you initially assume. On top of driving uninsured being illegal in Texas, uninsured drivers may not be able to pay for damages related to your accident. To learn more about what you should do if the other driver involved in your accident was uninsured, contact Joe A. Gamez Law Firm, PLC today.