Suffering a Car Accident With an Uninsured Driver in Texas
Posted in Motor Vehicle Accidents on May 17, 2021
After a Texas car accident, you may be eligible for financial compensation. Since Texas follows a fault-based system after collisions, you could file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit against the driver responsible for the accident. Unfortunately, not all drivers comply with the state’s car insurance laws. If you are in an accident with an uninsured driver, recovering compensation can be difficult—but it is not impossible.
What Are the Car Insurance Requirements in Texas?
Texas law requires drivers to hold minimum amounts of liability insurance to pay for victims’ injuries, property damage, pain and suffering, and other losses.
- $30,000 for bodily injury liability per person per accident
- $60,000 for total bodily injury liability per accident
- $25,000 for property damage per accident
You can choose to purchase higher amounts of compensation if you wish. This coverage pays for medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and other costs of drivers, passengers, and pedestrians injured in the accident. After an accident, you can recover this compensation by filing a claim with the other driver’s insurance company.
Penalties for Driving Without Valid Insurance in Texas
Driving without liability insurance is illegal in Texas, and if you do not carry the required coverage, you could face certain consequences. The state assigns penalties according to the number of previous offenses the driver has on his or her record. These penalties include the following.
- A fine up to $1,000, plus a $250 surcharge over the next three years
- Vehicle impoundment
- License suspension up to two years
If the accident results in serious injuries or death, you could also face up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.
Can I Recover Compensation from an Accident with an Uninsured Driver?
If you are in an accident with an uninsured driver, your ability to recover compensation becomes limited. However, you still have options available to you.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM): This coverage provides compensation for medical bills and other losses if you are in an accident with a driver who has insufficient insurance coverage. In these situations, UM/UIM is the simplest way to collect compensation. Although Texas does not require drivers to purchase this coverage, UM/UIM can protect your interests in the event of an accident with an uninsured driver.
- Personal injury lawsuits: If you cannot file an insurance claim against an at-fault driver, you still retain the right to file a lawsuit against him or her. In most car accident lawsuits, the insurance company pays for the settlement. In this situation, the uninsured driver will be responsible for paying for your damages out of pocket. Since many drivers do not carry insurance due to financial hardship, recovering compensation through this process can be difficult.
- Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage: Another optional form of insurance coverage is PIP. This insurance pays for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other expenses after a collision, regardless of who was at fault. However, PIP does not cover property damage or vehicle repairs; you may need to use collision coverage to pay for these expenses.
Contact a Lawyer in McAllen, TX
If you are in an accident with an uninsured driver, you need an attorney on your side. Your lawyer will be able to evaluate your case and determine your optimal path toward maximum compensation. As soon as you receive medical attention, contact a McAllen personal injury attorney to discuss your case and legal options.