Were You Hit by an Uninsured Driver? Here Are Your Options for CompensationMay 9, 2017
Texas law requires motorists in the state to be able to pay for the auto accidents they cause. Despite this, however, many Texas drivers choose to ignore this requirement and forego getting the necessary auto insurance coverage.
In fact, a recent study conducted by the Insurance Research Council (IRC) found that at least 15 percent of Texas drivers are uninsured. This means that at least 1 in every 6 to 7 drivers in the state has no auto insurance coverage.
So what can you do to recover your losses if you’re hit by one of these uninsured drivers?
The short answer: It depends on the coverage you have.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: What Texas Motorists Need to Know
Beyond the minimum auto insurance requirements in Texas,1 drivers can add additional coverage. One of these additional options is Uninsured Motorist (UM) and Underinsured Motorist(UIM) coverage.
- Can cover bodily injury and/or property damage (depending on the nature of your policy)
- Can cover you (the policyholder), as well as your family members, your passengers, and any other licensed driver who has permission to drive your vehicle
- Comes with a mandatory $250 deductible
- Must be offered to Texas motorists by insurers – Drivers can opt-out of this coverage by rejecting it in writing.
So, if you have UM/UIM coverage and you are hit by an uninsured (or underinsured) driver, you can file a claim with your own insurance company to recover damages.
UM/UIM Coverage: What Else It May Cover
In addition to the above, UM/UIM coverage may also come into play if or when you are:
- The victim of a hit-and-run (i.e., you’re hit and the at-fault driver flees the scene)
- The passenger in a vehicle that has been hit by an uninsured or underinsured motorist
- Hit by an uninsured or underinsured motorist while you’re a pedestrian or while you’re riding a bicycle.
In other words, for the last two cases, you don’t necessarily have to be driving a vehicle in order to be covered by your UM/UIM policy.
Filing UM/UIM Claims: A Word about Dealing with Insurance Companies
Even if you have UM/UIM coverage as part of your auto insurance policy, it’s important to be aware that:
- You cannot count on your insurance company to honor your policy.
- When you file a UM/UIM claim (or another type of accident claim), the insurer and its agents will be focused on limiting the payout. This is because they are looking out for their own interests and profits, not you or your rights.
- Having the representation of an experienced attorney can be crucial to making sure the insurance company doesn’t try to do anything to compromise your claim, your rights, or your financial recovery.
Find Out More About Your Rights & Recovery Options: Contact a Houston Car Accident Lawyer at the Amaro Law Firm
If you’ve been hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver – or if you have been hurt in an auto accident caused by a negligent driver, discover more about your options for financial recovery by contacting a Houston car accident lawyer at the Amaro Law Firm for a free consultation.
Our attorneys offer free consultations so you can get clear answers about your rights and legal options. Our record of success has earned us 5-star ratings on Google and Facebook.
1: More information regarding auto insurance coverage requirements in Texas, from the Texas Department of Insurance