Wichita Falls drivers are required to have and maintain a minimum liability car insurance coverage. Liability car insurance coverage provides protection for others if they are injured in a car accident that you cause. If it is determined that you are legally liable for the car wreck, your liability insurance coverage will compensate the victims for their injuries and other damages up to the amount of coverage you hold.
Another type of car insurance that is not required, but is certainly beneficial, and in many cases, really comes in handy, is Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage. UM coverage provides protection for you if you are every injured in a car accident where the other driver doesn’t have any liability coverage or doesn’t have enough coverage to cover all your bills.
It's an unfortunate fact that many Wichita Falls drivers, and more broadly Texas and Oklahoma drivers, blatantly ignore the minimum liability insurance requirements. Whatever their reasoning is, whether it’s having a suspended driver’s license or just simply not wanting to pay for coverage, they are leaving everyone else on the road at a much greater risk. These requirements are in place for a reason. By not having liability insurance, the victim of the accident has no way to recover from the accident UNLESS the victim has UM coverage. That’s why UM is so important. You can’t control other people. The only thing you have control over is yourself, and the best thing you could do for yourself is to go make sure you have adequate UM coverage on your car insurance policy, and if you don’t, get it right away.
What is Adequate UM Coverage for Wichita Falls Drivers?
From our decades of experience handling car accident cases in Wichita Falls and throughout Texas and Oklahoma, the honest answer is as much as you can possibly afford. UM coverage is actually relatively inexpensive, and the benefits greatly outweigh the costs. It is well-worth the expense and you will be grateful you have it if you are ever in a serious accident caused by a reckless driver. UM comes in handy not only when the other person doesn’t have insurance, but it also comes in handy when the other person has insurance, but just doesn’t have quite enough to cover all of your expenses. UM will also pay you for any lost wages if you are forced to miss work because of your injuries. UM can also be utilized in hit-and-run accidents and if you are a passenger who is injured in someone else’s vehicle. A cool feature of UM is that it follows you wherever you are.
If you are ever involved in an accident that was caused by a driver who doesn’t have insurance, there are 6 steps you must take in order to protect your claim and your legal rights.
6 Critical Steps to Take for an Accident Caused by an Uninsured Motorist in Wichita Falls
1. Call 911 and report the accident
Calling 911 and report the accident. Whenever you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, they may flee the scene. Even if the other driver flees the scene, it is still important to call 911. By calling 911, you are able to have the police officer come and document the accident, which will be important in pursuing your personal injury claim, and you are also able to request medical services if you are badly injured. Be sure to file a police report anytime you are involved in an accident as having this document as evidence could go along way in securing your recovery.
2. Obtain the other driver’s information
Anytime you are involved in an accident, it’s important that you collect the other driver’s information such as their name, address, phone number, and driver’s license number. In some instances, the at-fault driver may refuse to give you this information, but rather than confronting the driver, simply contact 911 and let the police officers handle it from there. If they decide to flee the scene before an officer can arrive, try to take a photo of their license plate number, and write down the make, model, and color of the vehicle.
3. Collect evidence
Evidence will include everything from the police report, photos of the accident scene, and witness statements, to your medical records. Collecting evidence can begin right away with taking pictures of the accident scene, the damages to both of the vehicles, the location, the weather conditions, relevant traffic signs/signals, and any skid marks or debris.
The police officer who investigates the accident should collect information and statements from bystanders who witnessed the accident, but it is also important for you to collect that information for yourself because some witnesses may leave the scene before police officers can arrive. Collect the name and contact information for anyone who witnessed the accident.
4. Seek medical treatment and document your damages
Never delay seeking medical treatment. After accidents, many symptoms seem to have a late onset because it isn’t until a while after the accident that the adrenaline wares off and you begin to actually feel the full extent of your injuries. It’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible, to report all your symptoms, and to inform your medical provider that you were in a motor vehicle accident.
Documenting your injuries is part of the evidence that will be used for your injury claim. Any delays or gaps in medical treatment may be used by the insurance adjusters to minimize your claim arguing that if you were truly injured, you would have sought immediate and consistent medical care.
5. Inform your insurance company of the accident
As discussed at the beginning of this blog, UM is your insurance, so in order to get started, you will have to contact your insurance provider and report the claim.
6. Contact a Wichita Falls car accident lawyer for a free consultation
It is certainly not a given that you will receive adequate compensation, so never assume that you will just because you are dealing with your own insurance. Often times, clients are shocked when their own insurance company undervalues their UM claim. They may attempt to put some blame on you or claim that you do not have sufficient evidence to claim the other driver caused the accident.
Providing that the other driver caused the accident can be complicated, but if you have followed these 6 steps, you should be on the right track. An experience car accident attorney has the knowledge, skills, and resources to prove who was at fault, deal with those tricky insurance companies, and secure you the compensation you deserve.
Contact a Wichita Falls Car Accident Lawyer to Discuss Your Uninsured Motorist Accident Claim
Booker Law represents victims of car accidents in Wichita Falls and elsewhere in Texas and Oklahoma. Our team has the training, time, and resources to deal with the complexities that go along with these types of claims, and we have helped countless clients with situations just like this.