Although drivers in Texas are required to carry vehicle insurance, the unfortunate reality is that many people operate their vehicles without it. In fact, according to the Texas Department of Insurance, as many as 20% of the drivers in the state are uninsured. Moreover, even drivers who are insured may have obtained only the legal minimum. When these drivers cause an uninsured or underinsured motorist accident, victims may have difficulty recovering compensation for their injuries. If you have been hurt in a crash caused by a driver who had no insurance or insufficient insurance to fully cover the harm you have suffered, San Antonio lawyer Jeramie Gertz can assist you in your car accident case. He represents people in Bexar County and the surrounding areas who are pursuing the compensation to which they are legally entitled.
Assert Your Rights Against an Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist
The current minimum liability limits under Texas law require $30,000 in insurance coverage for each injured person, a total of $60,000 per accident for injuries to all parties, and $25,000 for property damage. Many Texas drivers carry higher limits, as well as additional coverage, but some drivers (usually to save money) only get the minimum—called “underinsuring.” Others carry no insurance at all.
Thus, getting into an uninsured or underinsured motorist accident may leave you with no immediate recourse to reimbursement for the substantial costs that may result. Even more alarming, when an uninsured driver gets into a collision, he or she may flee the scene to avoid criminal penalties for driving without insurance. This makes it prudent to add uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to your own policy.
If the damages that you suffer exceed the coverage in an at-fault driver’s insurance, or if that driver has no insurance at all, you will need to pursue a claim against your own insurer under the Uninsured Motorist provisions of your own policy. While that may sound straightforward, it is not necessarily so. In most cases, when you are not at fault in an accident, your own insurer will willingly help you pursue compensation from the other driver’s insurance company. But in cases in which you need to seek compensation from your own insurer, you may find that your insurer is less willing to cooperate. Claims agents may sift through every detail of your coverage to find ways to avoid paying for anything possible. Instead of being your advocate, your insurer usually becomes your adversary.
This is where an attorney experienced in personal injury cases can be of great assistance. While you should always promptly notify your insurer of a claim, consult an experienced car crash lawyer before you agree to settle the claim. Your attorney can review your policy and help prepare your claim to make sure that you assert your right to the maximum compensation to which you may be legally entitled.
In Texas, if your claim is successful, your own insurer must make sure that you are fully covered. For example, if the other driver’s insurance only covers $30,000, but your damages total $50,000, your own insurer must pay the full balance of $20,000.
Finally, if the at-fault driver has insufficient or no insurance but other adequate financial resources available, an attorney can help you seek compensation through a direct lawsuit against the other party. This usually requires proving the elements of a negligence claim: duty, breach, causation, and damages. Victims who prevail in personal injury cases based on negligence may be able to obtain compensation for both economic and non-economic damages, ranging from medical expenses and lost income to property damage and pain and suffering. However, there is a strict statute of limitations that governs motor vehicle collision claims, so it is important to take action as soon as possible after you have been involved in an uninsured or underinsured motorist accident.
Contact a Lawyer in San Antonio Focused on Car Accident Cases
If you have been injured in a crash caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver, and before you agree to settle your claim with an insurance company, contact San Antonio attorney Jeramie Gertz to fully explore your legal options. Call 210-807-4444 to set up a free consultation. Jeramie Gertz represents people who need an attorney to represent them on their injury case throughout Bexar, Kendall, Medina, Comal, Bandera, and Atascosa Counties.