Woman on the phone sitting beside damaged car

What to Do When Hit by an Uninsured/Under-Insured Motorist

Tormey & McConnell  June 10, 2024

Being involved in a car accident is a stressful experience in itself. However, discovering the other driver has no insurance or is under-insured adds a whole other layer of frustration. 

At Tormey & McConnell, we understand this frustration and are here to help you through every step. With over seven decades of combined experience, we have the knowledge and dedication to guide you through this situation. If you've been involved in a car accident with an uninsured or under-insured driver, remember to take the following steps. 

Immediate Steps After the Accident

Immediately following a car accident with an uninsured or under-insured motorist, there are several steps you should take. These include:

  1. Ensure everyone's safety: First and foremost, make sure everyone involved in the accident is safe. If anyone is injured, call 911 immediately. Your health and safety are the top priorities. 

  2. Call the police: A police report will be vital for your insurance claim and any potential legal actions. Make sure to provide the officers with accurate information about the accident. 

  3. Gather information: Collect as much information as possible from the other driver, including their name and contact information, driver's license number, vehicle make and model, license plate number, and insurance information (if applicable). Also take pictures of the accident scene, the vehicles involved, and any visible injuries. 

  4. Seek medical attention: Even if you feel okay, it's a good idea to see a doctor after an accident. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent. Keep records of all medical visits, treatments, and expenses. 

  5. Report the accident: Inform your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible. Provide them with all the information you gathered and the police report. Be honest and clear about the details of the accident, but be careful not to admit fault.

  6. Understand your coverage: Review your insurance policy to understand your coverage options. In Texas, you may have uninsured/under-Insured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. This coverage helps pay for damages and medical expenses if the at-fault driver lacks sufficient insurance. 

  7. File a UM/UIM claim: If you have UM/UIM coverage, file a claim with your insurance company. They will investigate the accident and determine the compensation you are entitled to. Keep detailed records of all communications with your insurer. 

  8. Cooperate with the insurance adjuster: Insurance companies will typically assign an adjuster to your claim. Cooperate fully with them, providing any additional information or documentation they request. This might include medical records, repair estimates, and witness statements. Clear and prompt communication can facilitate a smoother and quicker claims process. 

  9. Keep a record of expenses: Maintain a detailed record of all expenses related to the accident, including medical bills, repair costs, and any other out-of-pocket expenses. This will support your claim and ensure you receive appropriate compensation. 

  10. Be aware of deadlines: Insurance claims often come with specific deadlines for reporting and filing. Make sure you are aware of these deadlines to avoid losing your right to claim. Consult with your insurance provider about any time-sensitive requirements. 

  11. Consult with an experienced attorney: If you're having difficulty with your claim or if the compensation offered is insufficient, it might be beneficial to seek legal assistance. An experienced car accident attorney can help you deal with complications and ensure you receive fair compensation. 

Insurance Laws in Texas

In Texas, the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) regulates insurance and provides resources and assistance if you face issues with your insurance company.

Under the TDI, all drivers are required to carry minimum liability insurance. However, many drivers either don't have insurance or carry only the minimum required, which may not cover all damages in an accident. 

Minimum Liability Coverage Requirements 

Texas law mandates that drivers must carry at least the following minimum liability coverage: 

  • $30,000 for bodily injury per person. 

  • $60,000 for bodily injury per accident. 

  • $25,000 for property damage per accident. 

These are the minimum amounts; carrying higher limits can offer more protection in the event of a serious accident. 

Uninsured/Under-Insured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM) 

While not mandatory, Texas insurance companies are required to offer uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage. This type of coverage is designed to protect you if you are hit by a driver with no insurance or insufficient coverage. It’s highly recommended that you add UM/UIM coverage to your policy. 

Statute of Limitations 

In Texas, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit is two years from the date of the accident. It is important to act promptly to protect your rights. 

Comparative Fault Rule 

Texas follows a "modified comparative fault" rule in personal injury cases. This means that if you are found to be partially at fault for the accident, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault.

However, if you are more than 50% at fault, you cannot recover any damages from the other party. It is critical to gather evidence that accurately reflects the other driver's culpability. 

Penalties for Uninsured Drivers 

Driving without the required insurance in Texas can result in severe penalties. The first offense can lead to fines up to $350, and subsequent violations can result in even higher fines, vehicle impoundment, and suspension of driving privileges.

Repeat offenders may also face mandatory SR-22 insurance requirements, which are more costly than standard policies. 

Reporting Requirements 

Under Texas law, drivers are required to report accidents that result in injury, death, or property damage exceeding $1,000 to the Texas Department of Transportation within 10 days if a police report was not filed at the scene. This ensures that there's a record of the accident, which is essential for processing any claims or legal actions. 

Skilled Representation in Amarillo, Texas

At Tormey & McConnell, we pride ourselves on honesty and dependable communication. When you book an appointment with us, you meet directly with our attorneys, not a secretary.  

Attorney Jeff Tormey takes his clients' best interests to heart and is always willing to go the extra mile. Attorney Ed McConnell's background in Chemistry and Biology gives him a unique perspective when dealing with medical providers as he works to help you receive the care you deserve. 

If you've been involved in a car accident with an uninsured or under-insured motorist, don't wait. Contact Tormey & McConnell today, schedule a consultation, and take the first step toward securing the justice and compensation you deserve.