According to the Texas Department of Transportation, a reportable crash occurs every 67 seconds in Texas. Texas requires all drivers to carry auto insurance to help ensure that money is available to people to pay their medical bills, make up lost income, and get their cars fixed after a crash.
Unfortunately, not everyone follows the law. Getting into an accident with an uninsured driver can make it a challenge to get your expenses covered.
What are your options if you’re in a crash with an uninsured driver? Is filing a personal injury lawsuit against an uninsured driver worth the time and effort? Keep reading to learn more.
Why Suing Uninsured Drivers Is Difficult
One of the primary reasons to file a lawsuit directly against an individual is to collect compensation when someone’s insurance policy isn’t enough to meet your losses in an accident. If the at-fault driver’s insurance policy isn’t sufficient to fully compensate you for your losses, you can file a lawsuit to claim some of their assets as compensation.
In theory, this same principle should apply to uninsured motorists. Unfortunately, the most common reason people don’t carry auto insurance is they can’t afford it. Someone who can’t afford auto insurance likely does not have assets you can claim as compensation. That makes filing a lawsuit against an uninsured driver a fruitless effort.
An Uninsured Motorist Claim Is Often a Better Option
Instead of filing a lawsuit against an uninsured driver after an accident, you’re usually better off filing an uninsured motorist (UM) claim against your auto policy. If you have UM coverage as part of your auto insurance policy, you can file a claim with your own insurance company after an accident with an uninsured driver.
Texas requires all auto insurance companies to offer UM coverage, though drivers are not required to carry it. State law notes drivers must refuse UM coverage in writing if they don’t want it as part of their policy. If you don’t already have UM coverage, it’s strongly suggested you add it to your policy.
Filing a UM Claim in Houston
When you file a UM claim, you file the claim with your insurance company instead of another party’s insurer. UM coverage usually covers your medical bills and lost wages due to an accident, up to the limits of your policy.
Suing an Uninsured Driver FAQs
Here are a couple of the most common questions about uninsured motorist accidents:
- What if I sued, but the liable party won’t pay? If the responsible party has eligible assets that they can use to pay you compensation for your losses, a lawsuit could help you claim those assets through a court order. However, if the liable party doesn’t have any eligible assets, you might be out of luck without UM coverage.
- Do I need a lawyer’s help with a UM claim with my own insurer? Yes. Just because you are dealing with “your” insurer on a UM claim, do not expect the adjuster to offer fair compensation immediately. The insurance company’s goal remains the same on UM claims – protect company profits by paying out as little as possible. You need a lawyer who has your best interests at heart.