Car Accidents with Uninsured & Underinsured Drivers in Wichita Falls
Anytime you are in an accident, it can be terrifying and there can be very serious consequences including long-term, life-altering injuries and sometimes even death. The stress that comes along with accidents usually come not only in dealing with your injuries but in the form of figuring out how to pay for your expensive medical care. Unfortunately, some victims in Wichita Falls car accidents, they are hit by other drivers that have no insurance, and in other cases, don’t have enough insurance to cover all their medical bills, leaving them completely responsible for all the costs associated with their wreck. Finding out that the person who caused your accident doesn’t have insurance (“uninsured”) or doesn’t have enough insurance (“underinsured”) to pay for your injuries and treatment only increases the stress you experience from an already extremely stressful situation.
Uninsured motorists are all too common in Wichita Falls. A study was conducted in 2021 by the Insurance Information Institute which showed that in the United States in 2019 approximately one in eight drivers were uninsured. Fortunately, however, you may still have a method to recover compensation for your injuries in the event you are involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.
What Insurance is Require for Drivers in Texas and Oklahoma?
All drivers are required to carry certain amounts of automobile liability coverage according to their state’s laws. Texas and Oklahoma are both at-fault states, which means that the negligent driver is held responsible for compensating the victim for their injuries and damages sustained by the accident. There is an exception, however, that your compensation can be depleted according to the amount of fault you are for the accident. So, if your total damages are $100,000 and you are found to be 25% responsible for the accident, your compensation could be reduced to $75,000.
Car Insurance Required by Texas Law
These insurance coverages are required in Texas:
- $30,000 per person for personal injuries
- $60,000 per accident for personal injuries
- $25,000 per accident for property damage
Car Insurance Required by Oklahoma Law
These insurance coverages are required in Oklahoma:
- $25,000 per person for personal injuries
- $50,000 per accident for personal injuries
- $25,000 per accident for property damage
An important thing to note is that neither Texas nor Oklahoma requires what is called Uninsured/Underinsured (UM/UIM) Motorist Coverage. UM/UIM is an optional insurance coverage that you can choose to add onto your policy (for relatively small increases in your premium) that will pay for your medical bills and any lost wages in the event you are in an accident caused by someone who doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance to cover all your bills. We believe everyoe should have UM/UIM coverage. It’s relatively inexpensive and provides you with a lot of extra protection on the road, especially knowing that one in eight drivers do not have any insurance coverage at all.
How to Use Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage After an Accident in Wichita Falls
Whenever you are in an accident, you want to identify all insurance policies that are available for you to recover from, including all insurance policies that you have as well as all the insurance policies that the other party has. Once you’ve identified all the policies, you can evaluate which ones may be applicable for your particular situation and begin to pursue them.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured motorist coverage pays for your injuries if the at-fault driver doesn’t have any insurance. If you are in an accident and injured by an uninsured motorist in Wichita Falls, you may be able to recover from your uninsured motorist coverage up to your policy limits.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Underinsured motorist coverage pays for your injuries if the at-fault driver had insurance but doesn’t have quite enough to fully compensate you for all your medical bills and expenses. If you are in an accident and injured by an underinsured motorist in Wichita Falls, you may be able to recover from your underinsured motorist coverage up to your policy limits.
Buy As Much Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist Coverage as You Can
Although neither of these coverages are required in Texas or Oklahoma, it’s a smart decision for you to purchase as much of these two coverages as you can afford because the minimum might not be sufficient if you are in an accident and suffer injuries that require long-term treatment and force you to take time off work.
You may be wondering why you are on the hook when someone else caused the accident. When someone else causes your accident and doesn’t have sufficient insurance to cover your damages, they are still responsible for compensating you. However, it may be impractical to obtain compensation from them because they may not have any financial resources to recover from. Unfortunately, this is common in these types of cases. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you in pursing these types of personal injury claims.
It's in these types of situations that your uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage kicks in and becomes a lifesaver. If you have these coverages, you can file a claim and your own insurance company will provide you the compensation for your damages. However, and unfortunately, sometimes you may still have to fight your insurance to get the compensation you deserve. If this is the case, you should retain an experienced personal injury lawyer who can ensure your rights are protect and can negotiate and maximize your settlement for you.
Other Compensation When the At-Fault Driver is Uninsured or Underinsured
In order to ensure you receive all the compensation you deserve you should pursue claims against all potential sources. Below are some potential sources of compensation:
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage – Only in Texas
- Medical Payments (MedPay) Coverage – Texas and Oklahoma
- Collision Coverage that pays for the repair or replacement of your vehicle
- Health Insurance
Contact Our Wichita Falls Car Accident Lawyer for Help with an Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist Claim
Pursuing injury claims from uninsured and underinsured motorists can be complicated. If they are not handled correctly, you could risk your right to compensation. As with all car accident claims, as well as all other personal injury claims, you only have one chance to do things right, so you should do everything possible to maximize your chances of recovery.
Our Wichita Falls car accident lawyer helps clients who have been involved in car accident and have suffered serious injuries. We also represent the family members of those who have sadly been killed in accidents. If you or someone you know has been injured or kills in an accident in Wichita Falls, our Wichita Falls car accident lawyer is here to help you. We recognize that each case is unique, and we are dedicated to providing our clients with the specialized attention their case deserves.
To get more information on personal injury claims, download our free book, The Traveler’s Guide to the Universe of Personal Injury. You can also contact our firm to schedule a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation by calling us at 940-569-4000 or filling out our contact form. We will give you an honest evaluation of your situation and we are here to offer you assistance and guidance even if you decide not to hire us.