I Was Hit By a Driver in Texas Who Does Not Have Insurance – What Can I Do?
David Muñoz | January 4, 2023 | Car Accidents
More than 8% of Texas drivers lack insurance, and that figure doesn’t even count uninsured out-of-state drivers or people driving without a license. If you suffer an accident with an uninsured driver, securing fair compensation can be a challenge.
Fault vs. No-Fault Auto Insurance Systems
Some states, such as Florida, are no-fault auto insurance states. Other states are at-fault auto insurance states. The fundamental difference is simple. In a no-fault state, you look to your own PIP insurance to pay for your injuries, regardless of whose fault the accident was. Every driver must purchase PIP insurance. You cannot sue the at-fault driver except in the case of a serious injury.
In an at-fault state, you look to the at-fault driver’s insurance policy to pay your personal injury claim. You don’t need to purchase PIP insurance, and you can file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver immediately after the accident. If the accident was your fault, your injuries are your own responsibility. Texas is an at-fault auto insurance state.
Mandatory Minimum Insurance in Texas
Texas requires every driver with an automobile registered in the state to purchase a certain minimum amount of auto insurance coverage:
- $30,000 per person in personal injury liability coverage;
- $60,000 per accident in personal injury liability coverage; and
- $25,000 car accident or property damage.
Many people refer to this setup as “30/60/25.”
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured motorist (UIM) coverage is optional in Texas. It comes in handy, however, in situations such as these. You become eligible for UIM when you suffer an accident with an at-fault uninsured motorist. Your UIM policy will pay you what the uninsured motorist can’t, at least up to policy limits. Many UIM policies also cover hit-and-run accidents.
Collision insurance is also optional in Texas. It covers damage to your vehicle in an ordinary car accident or even a one-car accident, regardless of fault. Collision insurance has a deductible, and it does not cover medical bills or damage to another driver’s car.
Filing a Claim Directly Against the At-Fault Driver
Filing a claim directly against the at-fault driver is a last-resort tactic after an accident caused by an uninsured driver. This is because drivers who can’t afford to buy insurance generally cannot afford to pay a claim either. Additionally, the driver might seek Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection to avoid paying.
Depending on the circumstances, you might seek one or more of the following additional defendants to provide you with compensation:
- Another driver: Another driver might have contributed to the accident, even if they were not directly involved.
- The driver’s employer, under the doctrine of respondeat superior, if the driver was acting within the scope of employment at the time of the accident Remember that most commercial truckers are independent contractors, not employees.
- An alcohol vendor: You might be able to file a claim against an alcohol vendor under the Texas dram shop law for a DUI accident if they served the driver after they were obviously intoxicated.
- A social host: You might be able to file a claim against a social host who provided alcohol to a driver who was under 18 years old.
- A product manufacturer or vendor: You can file a product liability claim against the manufacturer or distributor of a defective product (such as brakes or an auto airbag) that caused you injury.
- The government. The government might be an appropriate defendant if inadequately maintained roads or an improperly installed traffic light contributed to the accident.
An experienced lawyer might find additional defendants worth filing a claim against.
Special Case: The Driver Is From Out of State
If the at-fault driver’s car is insured but registered in another state, you probably do not have an uninsured driver problem. The other driver’s insurance will apply even to accidents that occur in Texas. A problem you might face, however, is that the other state may require less minimum coverage than Texas does. If the at-fault driver purchased the minimum allowable insurance coverage in their state, you might end up with an underinsured driver problem.
You might have an uninsured driver problem if the driver recently moved to Texas but waited too long to sort out registration and insurance transfer issues.
Call an El Paso Car Accident Lawyer
The occasion of an accident with an uninsured driver is no time to attempt to represent yourself. The complexities involved in this type of case simply demand the assistance of an experienced car accident lawyer in El Paso, TX. This need becomes even more acute if you suffer a catastrophic injury. Take action as soon as possible.
Contact the San Diego Car Accident Law Firm of Mission Personal Injury Lawyers Today To Get More Information
We proudly serve San Diego County and throughout California.
Mission Personal Injury Lawyers
2515 Camino del Rio S Suite 350, San Diego, CA 92108
We also serve the state of Texas. Contact our personal injury law office in El Paso for legal assistance today.