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What to Do When the At-Fault Driver Is Uninsured or Underinsured 

Texas law requires all drivers to maintain liability insurance in case they cause an accident with another driver. Despite this law, the Insurance Information Institute estimates that 8.3% of drivers, or about 1 out of every 12 drivers, in Texas are uninsured. This means that if you are involved in an accident, it’s possible the other driver won’t have the proper insurance in place to compensate you for your medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. Fortunately, you may have legal options available.

Consulting with an experienced Austin car accident attorney can help you explore your legal options and pursue compensation if you’ve been injured in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.

Texas Minimum Insurance Requirements

Liability coverage pays for the expenses the other party incurred because of someone’s negligence. The mandatory minimum liability requirements in Texas are:

  • $30,000 in personal injury per person
  • $60,000 in personal injury per accident
  • $25,000 in property damage

Drivers can carry higher amounts of liability coverage. These are just the lowest amounts drivers are required to carry under state law.

What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

Uninsured motorist coverage is part of your own auto policy. It protects you in case an uninsured driver hits you. It also applies if you are a victim of a hit-and-run. In Texas, insurance companies must offer this insurance when you purchase an auto insurance policy. If you don’t want it, you must refuse it in writing.

What Is Underinsured Motorist Coverage?

Underinsured motorist coverage applies when the driver who hit you has insurance, but your damages exceed the amount of coverage. For example, they might just have the minimum amount of liability coverage. You may have suffered $50,000 in damages, but they only have $30,000. Underinsured motorist coverage would pay the difference between the insurance they have and the damages you sustained, up to your policy limits.

How an Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Claim Works

Texas is an at-fault state for car insurance, so you usually file a claim with the insurance company that covers the at-fault driver. However, with an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim, you file a claim with your own insurance company. Your insurance company could decide to pursue a claim against the at-fault driver through subrogation, but you would receive compensation through your own insurance policy.

Steps to Take After an Accident with an Uninsured Driver

After an accident, there are steps you can take to protect your legal rights and claim, such as:

  • Report the accident to the police. They may be able to locate the at-fault driver so that you can ultimately file a claim with their insurance or sue them personally. Give the police all the information you know about the other driver.
  • Ask for a copy of the police report.
  • Seek medical attention. You may have various options for covering your medical bills. Prompt medical treatment will be necessary to recover compensation for your medical expenses.
  • Contact your insurance provider. Report that the driver was uninsured or underinsured.
  • Make a complaint with the Texas Department of Public Safety. This allows you to report uninsured drivers to the state to prevent further accidents. The DPS can also help you recover for your losses.
  • Contact a car accident lawyer. They can explain your legal rights and options. They can also assist you with filing claims.

If you have been in a motor vehicle collision and have questions about how to proceed, our Austin personal injury lawyers would be more than happy to review your situation. Contact FVF Law Firm – Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyers online for a free consultation or call us at (512) 640-2146.

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Fogelman & Von Flatern is a personal injury law firm that believes it matters why we practice law: to make sure good people in unfair circumstances who want reasonable options are taken seriously, especially by their attorney. We value transparency, compassion, and justice, and we strive to embody that in our practice. At FVF, you can trust that you've got the best people on your case, for the right reasons.

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