I Was Hit by an Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist. What Should I Do?
According to the Insurance Information Institute, 12.6 percent of motorists were uninsured in 2019. When buying car insurance, it’s important to think about the likely consequences of being hit by one of these uninsured drivers. If you’ve been hit by an uninsured or underinsured motorist in Texas and need help filing an insurance claim, call me at Jose Orihuela, Attorney at Law in Webster.
Required Insurance Coverage in Texas
Texas law states that motorists must carry a minimum of $30,000 in bodily injury coverage per person, $60,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident, and $25,000 in property damage coverage per accident. Insurance companies are required to offer a minimum of $2,500 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, which will cover your own injuries even if you were at fault for the accident. If you don’t want this type of coverage, you have to notify the insurance company in writing.
Texas Is a Fault Insurance State
Texas follows the “modified comparative negligence” system, meaning that you can claim compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company (up to their policy limits) as long as you are not 50 percent or more at fault for the accident.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Provision
Uninsured or underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage is not required in Texas, but purchasing it is a wise move. Most insurance companies are required to offer this type of coverage. Like PIP coverage, you can back out of purchasing this type of coverage by letting the company know in writing.
If you are hit by an uninsured motorist in Texas, your uninsured motorist coverage will reimburse you for your and your passengers’ medical expenses, damage to your car, fees for a rental car should you require one, and even pain and suffering.
However, it’s important to remember that you can’t purchase more than the amount of your standard liability coverage in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
More often than you’d think, the at-fault party’s insurance coverage might not be enough to cover your damages, especially if they’ve purchased the minimum state liability coverage and your injuries are severe. Underinsured motorist coverage is designed to help fill in that monetary gap. For this reason, it’s prudent to purchase a higher amount of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage than the state’s minimum liability coverage. Also, this coverage will help protect you in the event of a hit-and-run accident.
Steps to Take If You Were Hit By An Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist
First, make sure you see a doctor, notify your insurance company about the accident, and try to find out the other driver’s insurance information. An attorney can help you do all of this, as well as help you gather evidence that will be important to your claim.
If the other driver has no insurance, you can file a claim and your uninsured motorist coverage should kick in. If the other driver is underinsured, the time between the accident and filing the claim can be longer, as you’ll need to figure out the full extent of your injuries and the compensation for lost wages and medical bills you are likely to need. If the other party’s insurance coverage won’t cover the damages, you’ll file an underinsured motorist claim.
Turn to Knowledgeable Legal Guidance
If you’ve been injured in an accident involving an uninsured or underinsured motorist, it’s important to have a legal team on your side to help you through the process. As your attorney, I can help you gather evidence, communicate with your insurance company and the other party’s insurance company, and work to resolve insurance disputes. You deserve to be heard, and I am here to support you through this process. Call me at Jose Orihuela, Attorney at Law in Webster, serving Houston, South Houston, Pasadena, and other areas such as Friendswood, League City, Alvin, Dickinson, Bacliff, Kemah, Seabrook, and Santa Fe.