What Happens If I am Hit By An Uninsured Driver?
Texas law requires that all drivers purchase and maintain liability insurance coverage. At the very minimum, the law requires that drivers have an auto insurance policy that covers at least $25,000 in property damage per incident and at least $30,000 in bodily injury coverage limit per person, with a total of $60,000 in bodily injury coverage per incident. These requirements are designed to ensure that the appropriate party is held financially responsible after a collision involving personal injuries or property damage. However, not all drivers follow these laws. Despite the State of Texas’s best efforts, many motorists allow their insurance to lapse and fail to maintain financial responsibility. This is a problem for the rest of us. Car wrecks are already inherently stressful situations, but they are made exponentially more difficult when uninsured drivers are involved. However, you still have options to protect yourself from the threats posed by uninsured drivers.
An Example of A Situation Involving an Uninsured Motorist
Consider the situation where a person gets into a car wreck and has a major surgery as a result. If the medical bills are over $50,000, the medical providers will expect to be paid for the care they provided. If the at-fault driver has no liability insurance (which is a violation of Texas law), that person is considered “uninsured.” If the at-fault driver only has $30,000 (the minimum limits) in liability insurance coverage, that person would be “under-insured”.
Many drivers choose to take preemptive measures to protect themselves from accidents with uninsured motorists. They do this by purchasing Uninsured / Under-Insured Motorist coverage (UM/UIM coverage). UM/UIM coverage is a supplemental form of insurance offered by most insurance companies that provides for compensation after car wrecks where the responsible party did not have insurance (or did not have enough insurance). UM/UIM coverage is a level of protection you purchase to cover for yourself.
If the at-fault driver is uninsured and the injured party does not have UM/UIM coverage, it is quite likely that the injured person will have no insurance policies from which to make a recovery. That would leave only the options to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver or other responsible parties and hope to collect from any assets that would not be exempt from collection. This is not an optimal circumstance. Texas is considered a “debtor friendly” State and has a long list of assets that cannot be seized to cover a judgment debt.
Uninsured motorists place all law-abiding drivers in jeopardy. One way to protect yourself is through UM/UIM Coverage. If you need more information about UM/UIM coverage, contact an insurance agent.