According to a report released by the Insurance Research Council in 2021, 1 out of 8 drivers in the U.S. is uninsured. When you live in a major city like Houston, that number trends higher than the state average.
For commuters who drive through the Greater Houston Area regularly, it’s likely they’ll have an incident with an uninsured driver at some point. So, what do you do? Can you sue an uninsured driver in Texas?
Below, we take a look at some of the most common questions people have after a collision with an uninsured driver.
If a driver who hit me doesn’t have insurance, can I sue them?
In Texas, you can sue a driver who causes an accident without having liability insurance. However, even while this is possible, it’s not always your best course of action. In certain cases, you may have to file a claim in small claims court.
What If I Have Coverage?
Texas is a tort state, which means you generally recover damages from an individual or their insurance provider. However, uninsured drivers tend to have limited resources. This means that you may have to tap into your own coverage to recover for your losses.
Underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage tends to be an add-on to your general car insurance policy. When such a driver hits you, your policy pays for the damages. Still, that doesn’t mean it’s your only option.
After an accident, it’s important to start a claim with the defendant’s insurance and notify your own insurance company. When you contact them, you should provide the following information.
- Your contact information
- The time and location of the incident
- Insurance policy numbers
Additionally, you should provide the contact information of your attorney and the insurance company know your attorney will reach out with more information. Avoid making any statements on record as your give the basic information to protect your claim.
How Does Uninsured Motorist Coverage Work?
Typically, your coverage cannot be more than your standard liability coverage. So, if you have standard coverage up to $100,000, your uninsured motorist coverage may be $100,000 or a lower amount. It depends on the type of policy you choose.
When your damages exceed $100,000, you cannot claim more against your own policy. Unfortunately, this may not be enough to cover medical expenses in particularly severe accidents. Still, all is not lost.
When you have an experienced attorney on your side, you have an advocate to help you explore your options.
Suing an Uninsured Driver
If you have damages that exceed your coverage, you may wish to file a lawsuit to pursue your damages. Unfortunately, if they do not have insurance, chances are they don’t have much in the way of assets.
Still, your attorney can look into their finances in the discovery phase of a lawsuit. One option is to put a lien on certain assets belonging to the defendant. For instance, if they own a house, they would have to pay out the judgment before they have an opportunity to gain profit from that house.
When you sue an at-fault driver, it’s possible to recover…
- Everything you need to move on
- Part of what you need to recover
- Nothing whatsoever
However, you never really know what a defendant has – unless you know them personally. So, a lawsuit is an opportunity to seek out potential sources of damages.
What If They Have Nothing?
In these situations, it’s important not to make assumptions. They might not have liquid cash to pay for your damages, but they may have vehicles, jewelry, or other assets.
If the court finds they are liable but have no funds, the court can place a judgment on the driver. This allows you to put a lien against any valuable asset they purchase in the future.
What If They Have Partial Insurance Coverage?
When a driver has some coverage but not enough for you to fully recover, you can put a claim in against your insurance. This goes back to your underinsured motorist coverage.
If the amount received from both policies isn’t enough, you have the option to sue them. As with uninsured motorists, you may be able to put a lien on their assets when the court rules in your favor.
An Underinsured Driver Hit Me. What Can I Do?
“An underinsured driver hit me. Am I doomed to a limited settlement?” Try not to panic.
If you were hit by an underinsured driver, meaning their policy won’t cover your expenses, you’re in a similar situation to someone in an accident with an uninsured motorist. In Texas, underinsured/uninsured coverage is an add-on to your insurance policy. If you have that coverage, you can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company and follow it up with a claim on your own policy.
Can You Sue an Uninsured Driver? Explore Your Options
When you suffer injuries or lose a loved one to a car accident with an underinsured or uninsured driver, you have options. Often, a car accident lawyer is a great resource to have on your side.
At Universal Law Group, our legal team helps you understand your rights, your options, and your value. Schedule a consultation with our team today.