How Does Uninsured Motorist Coverage Work?
Written By: Attorney Matthew Swanger
CALL THE CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS AT (800) 863-5312 TODAY
There is nothing scarier than being in a car accident and finding out that the other driver does not have car insurance. How do you pay for your medical treatment and injuries? What if your car needs repairing? How are you going to pay your bills? According to the Department of Insurance, 20% of the drivers on the road do not have valid car insurance, even though Texas requires all drivers to have valid car insurance.
The good news is that you may still be able to recover for your injuries, even though the other driver does not have insurance. At Zinda Law Group, we investigate and litigate hundreds of cases where the at-fault drivers do not have car insurance. Our experienced litigators understand how to find coverage and seek compensation for you. Rather than filing a claim against the other driver’s insurance, we may pursue the benefits under your insurance policy. Most individuals have “uninsured motorist” (UM) coverage. Uninsured motorist covers you and your passengers when you are in a car crash with someone who does not have insurance.
WHAT IS AN “UNINSURED MOTORIST?”
An “uninsured motorist” is simply a driver who does not have car insurance. An “uninsured motorist” policy can potentially also cover situations where:
- The driver who crashed into you drove away (hit and run);
- The other driver’s insurance policy lapses;
- The other driver is denied insurance coverage; or
- The other driver’s insurance company becomes insolvent.
If we are unsure if the other driver has insurance, we will also ask for proof of no insurance. This allows us to confirm all possible avenues of recovery for you.
DO I HAVE UNINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE?
If you have car insurance, then you likely have uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage comes standard with most insurance policies in Texas. Unless you signed a document “rejecting” the coverage, then it will be a part of your policy. The reason is that under Texas law, you have the coverage unless you signed a document and specifically “rejected” coverage. If you have the coverage, then it can range from $30,000 to $1 million. Most people do not realize what their policy covers. If you have been in a wreck with an uninsured driver, a car accident attorney may help figure out what coverage you have.
WHO IS COVERED UNDER MY UNINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE?
Determining who is covered is largely dependent on what your specific policy says. However, in most instances, your policy will also cover family members and spouses. Passengers in your vehicle at the time of the accident might also be covered. Normally, the uninsured motorist coverage follows the “vehicle,” which means that anyone in your vehicle may be covered under your policy. Be careful, though, for “excluded” individuals. Sometimes, a policy will specifically exclude a person from coverage under the policy. If you want to be sure, we can help you determine who is covered under your policy.
OUR PROCESS – INVESTIGATE AND FIND COVERAGE
Identify All Insurance Policies
When working on a claim for uninsured motorist benefits, the first thing we do is determine insurance coverage. Is there some distant policy covering the other driver? Do you have coverage? Are there any other insurance policies that will cover this crash? These are all questions that we would investigate and answer for you at the outset of your case. In order for you to make a claim later, we must give proper notice to your insurance company. This will allow us to confirm the coverage and figure out what type of coverage you have.
Investigate the Crash
Once we find relevant policies and confirm the coverage, we investigate the crash itself. We typically investigate how the crash happened, who was involved, and any other issues that may come up in the future. This allows us to see the entire wreck from your perspective, as well as the other driver’s.
While we investigate, you may continue to heal from your injuries. If we confirm insurance coverage, we are able to continue working on the case. If there is no insurance coverage, then there is very little we are able to do.
Making a Claim for Uninsured Motorist Benefits
After we complete our investigation and you have completed your medical treatment, we generally make a claim for the uninsured motorist benefits. The purpose of the claim is to recover the cost of your medical expenses, physical harm, emotional suffering, and everything else you had to go through. The process of making a claim includes explaining to the insurance company how the crash happened, why the other driver is at-fault, what the other driver did wrong, your medical treatment, and an explanation of your injuries.
When the insurance company has all of the documentation they need to evaluate your case, they usually respond to us within three to five weeks with a settlement offer. After we receive an offer, our attorneys may help explain whether we should file a lawsuit or whether we should continue to negotiate. This process can be very case-specific.
Learn More: How to Negotiate with an Insurance Company
CAN I STILL FILE A LAWSUIT?
In most cases, you can still file a lawsuit. Typically, you would sue the driver that crashed into you. However, after an accident with an uninsured motorist, we already know the other driver does not have any insurance coverage. This means suing the other driver will likely get you nothing. Rather than suing the other driver, you would usually file a lawsuit against your own insurance company to force them to pay you the benefits under your policy. This process can be confusing, but our experienced attorneys may be able to help you through the entire process.
CALL THE CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS AT ZINDA LAW GROUP
If you have been involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist, please call us at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation. We may walk you through the entire process and investigate whether the other driver has coverage. You don’t owe us anything unless we are able to win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
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