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Life can throw some unexpected twists our way, and being hit by a driver without insurance or not enough insurance is one of those curveballs that can leave us feeling frustrated and confused. At the Law Office of Shane McClelland, our commitment to providing comprehensive legal representation is unwavering. That includes advocating for individuals injured in all types of car accidents in Katy and across Texas, including uninsured / underinsured lawsuits. When you partner with our firm, Mr. McClelland will handle your case personally, walking arm-in-arm with you throughout the personal injury lawsuit process. Schedule a free consultation today with our Katy, Texas uninsured/underinsured driver accident lawyer to go over your legal options.
Texas law requires that all drivers have at least a minimal amount of auto insurance to pay for damages they cause in a car accident. The minimal requirements in Texas are that drivers must have auto insurance of at least $30,000 per person for personal injuries with a total of $60,000 per accident (often referred to as a 30/60 policy), and $25,000 for property damage. If you are seriously injured in a car wreck the minimal policy limits may not be enough to cover your damages. Your medical expenses, lost wages, out of pocket expenses, not to mention your pain and suffering could far exceed the minimal limits. If you find yourself in this situation, then you have been in a car accident with an underinsured motorist, meaning the driver who caused the wreck did not have enough insurance. Unfortunately, millions of Texas drive down our highways without enough insurance.
You could also find yourself in a situation where you have been in a car accident caused by someone with no insurance—an uninsured motorist. According to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, 20 percent of Texas drivers are uninsured. That is a terrifying statistic.
If you are hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver, then you may wonder how to get compensated for your medical bills, car repairs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. You can protect yourself by having uninsured / underinsured coverage in your own auto insurance. Texas does not require drivers to have uninsured / underinsured coverage, but it is a good idea because it can help pay for your damages if you are hit by someone without enough or any insurance.
Uninsured vs. Underinsured Coverage
Accidents caused by uninsured or underinsured drivers present unique challenges, leaving victims to grapple with uncertainties about how to recover compensation and uncertainty about their options for legal recourse. When you partner with our firm, Mr. McClelland will handle your case personally, walking arm-in-arm with you throughout the personal injury lawsuit process, including uninsured / underinsured cases. Schedule a free consultation today with our Katy, TX uninsured/underinsured driver accident lawyer to go over your legal options.
Here is what you should know about the difference between claims and potential lawsuits involving uninsured and underinsured drivers.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM)
An uninsured driver is someone who has no auto insurance coverage. When involved in an accident with an uninsured driver (like a hit and run for example), your own uninsured motorist coverage (UM) in your insurance policy can provide you some protection and an avenue to recover some of your damages. UM insurance is not mandatory in Texas. But having UM coverage is wise. It can step in to cover medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages the uninsured driver (or his insurance company) would have been responsible to pay. It acts as a safety net, potentially protecting you from being left without funds to cover your damages if the negligent driver was irresponsible enough not to have any insurance.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM)
Underinsured motorist coverage is when the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance, meaning his insurance coverage is insufficient to cover your total damages. For example, your damages are $50,000 but the negligent driver only has $30,000 in insurance (Texas’ minimal liability coverage requirement). In this case, the negligent driver is underinsured. Here, your UIM coverage comes into play, providing additional compensation to fill the financial gap between the amount of insurance the at-fault driver had and your damages.
It is worthwhile to speak with your auto insurance agent to discuss your uninsured / underinsured coverage options. Because having uninsured/underinsured coverage gives you the opportunity to make a claim against your own insurance.
Why your insurance should pay for an accident you did not cause.
Some people may be reluctant to file an uninsured / underinsured claims against their own insurance policy. They may think that it is not fair that their insurance company should have to pay when the wreck was caused by someone else. Fair or not, if you are paying for uninsured / underinsured coverage, then you should not hesitate to use it and require your insurance company to do the right thing and pay for your damages. If you are unwilling to file a UM/UIM claim, then there is no reason to pay your insurance company for the coverage. Your insurance company has no hesitation in taking your hard-earned money every month when you pay premiums for your insurance policy. And you should have no hesitation in utilizing what you are paying for.
Some people have been with the same insurance company for years, decades maybe, and thankfully have never had to file a claim. They have a sense of commitment to their insurance company and think their insurance company will return that loyalty because of their years of paying their premiums in a timely manner. Make no mistake, the first time you file a claim with your insurance company to pay for your damages—the very thing you have been paying for all those years—the insurance company’s true colors will come shining through, and it will do everything it can to either not pay you at all or pay you as little as possible.
What if my insurance does not pay under my UM/UIM coverage?
Insurance companies are not looking out for your best interest. And despite what you see on tv or the internet, insurance companies are not humans looking to help you in your time of crisis. They are companies in business to make money. Insurance companies make money by collecting your premiums, not paying on claims. And insurance companies will use any method at their disposal to keep from paying on your claim, even when it is your own insurance company and you have paid for the coverage.
Texas law places a duty on your insurance company to treat you in good faith and prohibits unfair claim settlement practices (called bad faith). For example, your insurance company must attempt in good faith to effect a prompt, fair, and equitable settlement of your claim when liability is clear, then you may be able to file a bad faith lawsuit against your insurance company. The Texas Insurance Code outlines an insurance company’s obligations to its customers and the steps it must take to handle your claim in good faith.
What To Do After an Accident with an Uninsured or Underinsured Driver in Katy, Texas
Suffering an injury in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver is stressful, but it is crucial to take the right steps afterward to protect your rights and health. In any car accident, it’s important to:
- Safety first: Confirm the safety of all parties involved in the wreck. If you or anyone else in the accident is injured, then seek medical attention immediately by calling emergency medical services. Even if injuries seem minor, it is still important to get checked out by a healthcare professional. Some injuries may manifest later after your adrenaline has reduced (and having medical records will be essential if there is ultimately a lawsuit).
- Gather information: Collect essential information from the other driver, such as their name, contact details, insurance information, and license plate number. If there are witnesses, obtain their contact information as well. If you are physically able, get photos of the accident scene, damages, and any visible injuries.
- Contact the authorities: Report the accident to the local police. Having an official report can be invaluable when dealing with insurance lawsuits and legal proceedings.
- Document damages: Keep records of all expenses related to the accident, including medical bills, vehicle repairs, and any other out-of-pocket costs. This documentation is vital for insurance lawsuits and legal proceedings.
Then check your own policy to see if you have UM/UIM coverage. If you are in a car accident with another driver without insurance or not enough insurance, let your insurance company know and allow them to investigate the facts. Remember, your insurance company may avoid paying your claim, so it is a good idea to consult with Attorney Shane McClelland to help protect your rights. Dealing with uninsured or underinsured drivers and your insurance company can be daunting and complex. Seeking legal advice is fundamental. Katy uninsured/underinsured driver accident attorney Shane McClelland can provide guidance tailored to the specifics of Texas law and help you navigate the intricacies of your case.
Reach Out to an Experienced Katy, Texas Uninsured/Underinsured Driver Accident Lawyer
Attorney Shane McClelland can help you navigate the complexities of handling your uninsured / underinsured claim with your insurance company. And if your insurance company acts in bad faith towards you on your uninsured or underinsured claim, then you may have a claim against your insurance company for bad faith.
Dealing with personal injury lawsuits involving uninsured or underinsured drivers requires a strategic approach and a thorough understanding of Texas law. Reach out to the Law Office of Shane McClelland for personalized guidance tailored to your situation in Katy, Texas. Attorney Shane McClelland is committed to addressing your immediate concerns and long-term needs.
Schedule a free consultation with our Katy uninsured/underinsured driver accident attorney and take the first step towards securing compensation. Call (713) 987-7107 or submit our contact form to get started.