Snellings Law PLLC Attorneys are Personal Injury Trial Lawyers
Hit by an Underinsured or Uninsured Driver? Take Advantage with Your Next Steps.
Hit by an Uninsured or Underinsured Driver?
Not to state the obvious, but car wrecks are no fun. The initial crash can be traumatizing, and the aftermath is a pain. What makes a bad wreck worse is if the driver that hit you doesn’t have insurance. This is unfortunately a common scenario. According to the Insurance Research Council’s most recent study, about 1 in 8 drivers across the country were driving without insurance in 2019.
So, what do you do if you get in a wreck and the other person doesn’t have insurance?
Essentially, there are three options for proceeding in this scenario. You can:
- Pay for the damages yourself.
- File a claim with your insurance and use your UM policy.
- Sue the at-fault driver.
One of these options is better than the others, and you’ll see why by the end of this article.
Option 2: File a Claim with Your Own Insurance and Use Your UM/UIM Policy
For option 2, you’ll need to see if you have the correct insurance policies. All insurance companies offer UM/UIM policies, in fact, if you don’t want this coverage you have to sign a document declining it. These policies will provide additional coverage for damages caused by a driver without enough insurance or any insurance at all. You can look at your insurance declarations page to see if you have this coverage. If not, PLEASE ADD IT!
If you already have UM/UIM, you might need to increase the coverage that is already included. This coverage can help prevent the financial disaster that will come if you do not have UM/UIM coverage. Here are the types of coverage you should look into getting:
UM/UIM - Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Protection
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist coverage (UM/UIM) covers the same damages that at-fault’s insurance would cover if they had the proper coverage. Texas law requires insurance companies to offer some UM/UIM coverage in your policy. You must specifically tell your insurance company in writing that you don’t want it. Also, if your car is expensive or you have any long-term injuries from the crash, the minimum UM/UIM coverage will likely not be enough.
Just like the at-fault’s insurance company, your own insurance company is going to investigate if you file a claim on your uninsured/underinsured policy. What does this mean? It means you are adverse to your own insurance – they will treat you like they would if they were the at-fault’s insurance company.
You’ll want to follow the same course of action you would if you were dealing with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Download our free Personal Injury Survival Guide to learn how to document your wreck properly if you are ever in one! To use UM or UIM, the other driver must be placed at fault. If your insurance does not find the other driver at fault, you won’t receive any of your UM/UIM. You may want to contact a car crash attorney if you feel your claim was unfairly denied.
Watch the video below if you are filing a UM/UIM claim against your own insurance.
PIP - Personal Injury Protection
Like UM/UIM coverage, auto insurance companies include PIP coverage unless you specifically decline it. Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage is no-fault coverage. It is different from UM/UIM because you don’t have to establish fault by the other party to use it. Even if you have some fault in the crash, you can use PIP to cover the costs of your medical bills, property damage, or lost wages. You won’t have to pay back the insurance company after you use it.
You may be considering getting Med-pay coverage instead of PIP. Med-pay policies cover medical bills from the crash. Med-pay policies are subrogated. This means you’d have to pay back any money you received from your own insurance company out of any settlement with the at-fault’s insurance company. Med-pay coverage might cost less than PIP coverage, but PIP is not subrogated. You also cannot collect lost wages out of your medical payments policy. You can read more about which policy might be best for you here.
Option 3: Sue the At-Fault Driver
Your third option would be to sue the at-fault driver. Many times, this is the immediate emotional response. The at-fault driver caused the crash, they weren’t responsible in securing insurance or securing enough insurance, and they should pay! Those are legitimate emotions, and, in a perfect world with no other problems, that would likely be the best course of action. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world, and there are many problems that come with this mindset.
The purpose of a civil lawsuit is to collect money damages. If the at-fault party doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance, there is no money there. If you were to go to trial and secure a judgment against the at-fault party, collecting what you’re owed will most likely be difficult at best and could be impossible. If the at-fault doesn’t have the financial assets to pay, then you might be out of luck.
Does this mean attorneys never file suit against at-fault drivers with no insurance? Not at all, we have had to do so many times. It is just an option that many times ends up not being productive.
Protect Yourself from Uninsured and Underinsured Drivers
Your best option is to make sure you have enough insurance coverage in case the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance. If you need help navigating a claim or have questions about your current insurance policies, give us a call to set up a free strategy session.
At Snellings Law, we are a team of dedicated attorneys and staff. Our sole purpose is to help personal injury victims. With years of experience helping victims across North Texas, we vigorously pursue each case. We are passionate about getting our clients the treatment and settlement they deserve. If you’ve suffered injuries due to someone else’s negligence, we’d love to talk to you and discuss how we may be able to help.
Free Strategy Session Reveals How To Avoid the Traps Insurance Companies Set for Victims to Destroy Claims.
How it works:
- Call us now or give us your basic information in the Free Strategy Session box
- If your case is something we cannot help you with, we will do our best to get you the information of someone who can.
- If we can potentially help you, we will schedule a Free Strategy Session
There is zero obligation. We want all injury victims to understand their rights and the process.
After your Free Strategy Session, you will understand where insurance companies can set traps for you and what needs to be done to avoid these traps. You will also understand the personal injury process as well as how we can help, or if you need the help of an attorney. The strategy session typically will have one of three outcomes. You:
- Decide to move forward with our law firm.
- Decide to think about it, and we will be available to answer your questions.
- Say, “I’ve got this,” and decide you do not need an attorney.
Again, there is zero obligation and you will be informed and understand your rights and the process. We want to arm you with knowledge to avoid the traps insurance companies set to harm your claim.