In the state of Texas, car accidents occur frequently. Drivers rely on their insurance companies to help pay for damages in accidents they cause and seek damages for injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and more. What happens if you are involved in a car accident that you did not cause, and you do not have insurance coverage? Your rights to compensation do not disappear simply because you do not have insurance, but you could face penalties for being an uninsured driver.
Texas’s Fault Insurance System
In the state of Texas, the at-fault driver’s insurance company is responsible for paying for all the damages sustained in the accident. If you do not have insurance, you could pay for all of these costs out of pocket. However, if you did not cause the accident, you can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to receive compensation for your injuries.
Your Legal Options as an Uninsured Driver
If you do not have insurance in Texas, you have two options to obtain compensation in accidents you did not cause. You can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company or you can file a personal injury lawsuit in Texas civil court. Courts and insurance companies use liability in the accident to determine who will have to pay damages in an accident and how much compensation you can receive.
Not having insurance does not automatically make you liable. You and your car accident attorney can still conduct an investigation to prove that you were not at fault for the accident. However, the insurance company and the defense attorney may use the fact that you do not have insurance against you as an excuse to offer you a lower settlement. Trusting your case with a car accident attorney can help you build a compelling case in your favor and argue for your right to compensation.
Texas Car Insurance Requirements
For less hassle in the event of another car accident in Texas, try to obtain insurance coverage as soon as possible. Under Texas law, drivers must carry certain amounts of liability insurance so they can adequately take financial responsibility in the event of a car accident. Make sure you have the following minimum amounts of insurance coverage to compensate for property damage, medical expenses, and other associated costs.
- $60,000 for total bodily injury liability per accident you cause, if two or more people suffer an accident
- $25,000 for property damage per accident you cause
- $30,000 for bodily injury liability per person per accident you cause
Penalties for not carrying car insurance in Texas vary based on the number of your previous incidents. The first time that law enforcement catches you driving without insurance, you could be fined between $175 and $350 plus a $250 surcharge to your driver’s license fee for the next three years. For subsequent incidents, you can receive a fine between $350 and $1000 plus the surcharge on your driver’s license fee. If you continue to drive without insurance, you could risk law enforcement revoking your license and impounding your vehicle.
What Should You Do After a Car Accident?
If you are involved in a car accident in Texas and you do not have insurance, don’t panic. If you were not at fault for the accident, you can still claim compensation. However, you must prepare yourself to face penalties for driving without insurance. In addition, you will need to work diligently to build an airtight case proving the other driver’s liability.
Immediately after the accident, call 911 to have an officer respond to the scene and draft a report. Seek medical attention quickly to document the extent of your injuries. Take pictures of the vehicles, the scene, and any traffic signs in the area. Most importantly, contact an attorney as soon as possible following your accident. He or she will be able to assist you through the litigation process and help you build the strongest case possible.