Houston Uninsured Car Accident Lawyer
Being in a car accident is at best an uncomfortable experience, and at worst, one that causes panic and leaves you with serious injuries and losses. While there is nothing positive about being in a car accident, if you are hit by another driver or involved in an accident caused by another driver’s negligence, you should at least be able to take comfort in the fact that the State of Texas requires liability coverage to pay for injuries and damages suffered by others in a crash.
Despite this requirement and the fact that most drivers in Texas do carry liability insurance coverage, there are some drivers who have chosen to break the law. If you are involved in a crash caused by a driver who does not carry any liability coverage, you may be wondering how you will pay for for the losses you have suffered.
Even if the at-fault driver had the minimum legally required liability insurance, it is often not enough to cover all of the losses suffered in a serious crash. Minimum liability limits can quickly be exhausted by even a moderately severe accident.
If you’re in a situation where the at-fault driver carried no insurance or not enough, uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage on your own auto policy may be the solution. Here’s a look into what you need to know about accidents with uninsured or underinsured drivers and your options following a crash.
How Does Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage Work?
Typically, a driver who causes an accident will be responsible for paying for the damages that result. However, when a driver doesn’t have insurance, or doesn’t have enough insurance to pay for another’s harm, the victim may be left unsure about what happens next.
That’s where UM/UIM coverage comes in. As explained by the Texas Department of Insurance, this type of coverage will pay for your damages caused by an uninsured motorist, a motorist who does not have enough insurance to cover the costs of all your losses, or a hit-and-run driver.
You can purchase both bodily injury UM/UIM coverage and property damage UM/UIM coverage. The coverage will provide compensation for you, any family members, anyone in your car at the time of the accident, and anyone who is driving your vehicle with your permission.
Two important things to know about uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage:
- First, no matter your coverage limit, there is a mandatory $250 deductible for property damage coverage.
- Second, this type of coverage is not required in Texas, but it is required that insurance companies offer the coverage. If you do not want the coverage, you must reject it in writing.
In addition to UM/UIM coverage, there are other coverage types that could help pay for your losses following a crash. These include:
- Medical payments coverage – This coverage pays for medical and funeral bills resulting from an accident.
- Collision coverage – Collision coverage pays for damages to your car after a crash. This is usually required coverage if your vehicle is financed.
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage – PIP coverage helps to pay for medical expenses and lost income after a crash, and covers you, your family members, and your passengers in a crash. Like UIM coverage, you must reject this coverage type in writing if you don’t want it.
What You Need to Know About Dealing with the Insurance Company
If you are involved in an accident caused by an insured driver, then your claim will be filed against the at-fault driver’s insurer. However, if you are involved in an accident caused by an uninsured driver, your only form of compensation may be through your own insurance coverage.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that because you are filing a claim with “your own” insurance company – to which you have paid your premiums on time and in full for years – the insurance adjuster assigned to your claim will be eager to offer you the settlement you deserve. This is true even when you carry UM/UIM coverage, medical payments coverage, PIP coverage, and collision coverage.
In fact, the opposite is likely true. The insurance adjuster will be looking for ways to diminish the value of your claim and save the insurance company money. Even “your” insurance company cares more about its bottom line than about fully compensating you for your losses.
For this reason, it’s important to know how to best approach negotiations with an insurance adjuster. You should never sign anything given to you by the insurance adjuster without having it thoroughly reviewed by your lawyer first. Be wary of an insurance adjuster’s claim that they’re working hard for you. Be honest and direct with an insurance adjuster, but don’t provide unnecessary information or seem too eager about accepting a settlement. This could be used against you.
How Can a Lawyer Help After a Crash with an Uninsured Driver?
After being involved in a crash caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver, one of the smartest moves you can make is to immediately hire a Texas UM/UIM coverage attorney who has experience with cases like yours. Some of the ways in which your attorney can help include:
- Exploring all available insurance coverage options, including coverage from third-parties who may have contributed to the accident
- Thoroughly analyzing your auto insurance policy and coverage that you carry
- Determining the value of your claim and calculating damages
- Disproving allegations of fault made against you
- Negotiating your car accident settlement to ensure it’s fair and just
Attorney Andrew Seerden is also board certified in personal injury trial law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He will not hesitate to bring your case to court if that’s what it takes to get you a fair settlement.
Reach Out to The Seerden Law Firm, PLLC Today for a Free Consultation
Nothing is worse than being in a serious car accident, except for discovering after the fact that the driver responsible for your crash isn’t insured or doesn’t have enough coverage.
If you have been harmed in a car accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver in Houston or surrounding areas, The Seerden Law Firm, PLLC is ready to advocate for you. Please reach out to our firm today for a free consultation.