The other driver failed to carry insurance or the insurance isn’t enough. Now what?
You may have options if you are injured and the at-fault party has no insurance or not enough insurance coverage.
Texas has financial responsibility laws that requires all drivers to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance to help cover losses due to their own fault or negligence. In 2011, the minimum amount of liability insurance coverage for bodily injury was increased to $30,000 for one person (up from $25,000).
Often, $25,000 or $30,000 simply isn’t enough coverage to fully compensate persons injured through no fault of their own. Even with mandatory financial responsibility laws, many drivers in Texas simply do not carry insurance at all.
Your attorney can and should investigate the at-fault party’s personal assets to determine the possibility of recovery beyond liability insurance. However, in most cases, people who lack insurance coverage also lack the assets necessary to pay a judgment.
The good news is that there may be other options for recovering compensation.
Texas also requires your automobile insurance company to offer you Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage, known as UM/UIM coverage. This law helps protect drivers from devastating consequences of being injured at the hands of an uninsured or underinsured motorist.
Because the law requires your insurance company to offer UM/UIM coverage, you can only reject it in writing. If your agent didn’t obtain your written rejection, then you may have coverage equal to the limits you carry for your own liability protection.
Your insurance company will have certain requirements of you before you can rely on your UM/UIM coverage. Those requirements should be outlined in your policy. Your insurance company may try to take offsets or claim credits against the amount of UM/UIM coverage it should pay you – some of which may not be allowed in Texas.
It is important to let your attorney investigate all available sources of recovery – beginning with liability and UM/UIM coverage – to compensate you for your injuries.