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I Was Hit by an Uninsured/Underinsured Driver. What Do I Do?

Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP Aug. 16, 2022

It’s easy to assume that insurance will cover many expenses related to a car accident, but what happens if you’re hit by an uninsured motorist? Even though all drivers are required to carry insurance in case they’re involved in a car accident, not everyone complies with this law. Nationally, 12.6% of drivers are uninsured, but in Texas the percentage is a bit lower at 8.3%. This information, furnished by the Insurance Information Institute, is a clear reminder that everyone should know what to do after being hit by an uninsured or underinsured motorist.

If you’ve recently been in an accident and the other driver did not have insurance, you’ll need to work with a personal injury attorney to ensure your expenses are covered. At Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP in Pearland, Texas, we can help you navigate these claims and help you seek compensation. We’re able to assist clients throughout the state of Texas, including Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, and Corpus Christi.

Required Insurance Coverage in Texas

By law, Texas drivers are required to carry at least $30,000 for each injured person in liability coverage (up to $60,000) and $25,000 in property insurance. Unlike other states, Texas does not require that you hold an uninsured or underinsured motorist provision (called UM/UIM insurance). However, many people do choose to add this onto their policy in case they are hit by an underinsured motorists or someone who has no insurance at all. This would allow your own insurance policy to pay out on an accident, even if it wasn’t your fault. 

Texas Is a Fault Insurance State

Each state determines their own laws about how fault is factored into insurance obligations, and Texas is known as an “at fault” insurance state. This means that whoever is responsible for the accident happening is also financially responsible for paying the damages that occur because of it. In practice, this means that if you were injured in a car accident that wasn't your fault, you would first have to file a claim with the other driver’s insurance. This model can present some concerns, though, since there’s so much weight put on deciding liability since that person will have to bear the responsibility of payment. This is why many drivers choose to work with a car accident attorney to help them gather enough evidence to determine fault. If the other driver is at fault but they don't have insurance or are underinsured, your next option is to file a claim with your own insurance provider. 

Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Provision

If you must file a claim with your own insurance company because the other driver did not have adequate coverage, UM/UIM insurance should cover your expenses. However, in practice, the payout process may not be so easy. You will often have to wait on your initial claim with the at-fault driver to go through and see what (if any) expenses their policy will cover before your provider will even look at the claim. Furthermore, some insurance companies may be hesitant to pay out on these claims if they feel fault is in question. You should always work with an experienced attorney to help you find a path forward.

Steps to Take if You Were Hit by an Uninsured/Under-Insured Motorist

Following a car accident, your first priority is always your own safety and medical needs. Even if you don’t feel that your injuries are serious, you should always seek medical treatment. This not only ensures your health and well being are looked after, but you’ll also need this documentation when filing an insurance claim. You should always file a police report, especially if anyone was injured and always if one of the drivers is without insurance. When talking with police, you should refrain from admitting fault—it’s the job of the insurance company to determine fault. You don’t want to jeopardize your compensation by stating you were to blame for the accident.

Next, you’ll want to exchange information with the other driver as well as any witnesses who may have seen the accident occur. Take pictures of the scene including damage to your car, your person, as well as the surrounding area, including street signs or the condition of the roads. Lastly, if you’re positive the other diver has no insurance, you’ll need to file a claim with your own insurance company and explain to them you were hit by an uninsured motorist. Like the police, you do not need to admit any kind of fault at this point and you should just stick to the basic details of the incident. 

Car Accident Attorneys Working on Your Side

Nobody likes dealing with insurance agencies after an accident. This can be especially difficult if the other driver was uninsured and you have to pursue compensation with your own carrier. If you need help with this process and are in the Pearland, Texas area, give us a call at Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP to schedule a consultation.