What if you are driving down the street in North Texas, someone crashes into your vehicle, and you find out that he doesn't carry liability insurance? I hope this hasn't just happened to you, but 22% of Texans are out there driving without liability coverage of $30,000 for the death/injury of one person, $60,000 for all injuries, and $25,000 for all property damage.
I frequently get calls and emails from people that this has unfortunately happened to and I wanted to briefly explain what your options here. Good news: you can still get paid!
1. Hire an experienced personal injury attorney. I have been successful at locating insurance coverage from the at fault driver many times in the past by investigating, calling, writing, or sometimes by me or a male staff member showing up at the other driver's house and threatening a lawsuit. I'll make the other driver's insurance company pay your for the damages you have sustained, and also make them throw in extra money to cover my fee -- already one of the lowest you'll find any where!
2. File on your uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. Many of my clients do not feel that they should have to file on their own insurance policy, and while I sympathize with them, it is obvious that the reason you are paying for this coverage is to protect you against an uninsured driver. I tell my clients that this is a "use it or lose it" proposition with tricky deadlines and procedures. Good news: filing on UM does not make your rates go up, which is a big concern.
Many of my clients have UM (and also UIM -- Underinsured Motorists coverage) and don't even know it. And others have not purchased this valuable policy benefit but I make their insurance company pay it to them any way. I was happy to locate an additional $30,000.00 in coverage for a new client just last week!
Your UM bodily injury coverage can pay for your medical bills, lost wages, disfigurement; disability, pain and suffering, and (God forbid) funeral expenses. Repairs to the insured's vehicle are also covered assuming that the cost of repairs costs is less than the fair market value. It even covers other property that may have been damaged inside or outside of the vehicle. There is no deductible for the bodily injury payments.
3. File on your personal injury protection benefits of $2,500.00 and possible more, although there may be an offset against UM payments.
4. File on your health insurance and other sources of monetary recovery.
5. Sue the other driver for your damages. Obtain a judgment and take away his driver's license and registration, record your judgment, and attempt to collect it (this is often difficult, if not impossible due to our incredibly lenient exemption statutes contained in the Texas Property Code).
I realize that insurance law is complex, and dealing with the details and documents is a hassle, so if you or someone you know has been injured in a motor vehicle accident in North Texas, please call or email me. I've been representing Texans injured in auto and truck accidents for over 32 years and (if I do say so myself) am good at it. I promise to reply quickly and let you know how I will fight to get you the money you deserve.