Texas law mandates drivers pay for damage resulting from any Texas accident they cause. Most people do this with liability auto insurance. The basic required coverage by state statute is 30/60/25 – or $30,000 for each injured person, maximum of $60,000 per accident and $25,000 in property damage per accident.
Of course, anyone who has ever been seriously injured in a car accident can tell you such minimums are inadequate – even if you collect the minimum $2,500 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage your own auto insurer is required to offer you. The situation is further exacerbated by the fact that not only do many motorists only carry the minimum level of coverage, some don’t carry any at all. The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles reports 20 percent of drivers in this state are not insured.
The effects of this are far reaching. Recently, local NBC affiliate KXAN in Austin investigated how this problem has affected one local family who suffered injuries when they were struck by a driver who was allegedly drunk and driving without auto insurance. She was arrested at the scene for DWI.
The family was reportedly traveling on Interstate 35 – mother, father and young son – when they were rear-ended by a motorist who was allegedly impaired and lacked auto insurance. The force of the impact was so severe, the father ended up in the intensive care unit with fluid-filled lungs and a slipped spinal disc. Mother and son also reportedly suffered injuries, though not as severe.
But when the family filed a claim to compel the auto insurer to cover the growing medical expenses, the family learned the driver had no insurance. The owner of the vehicle had allowed the coverage to lapse six days earlier. It was reportedly later revealed the owner of the vehicle, boyfriend of the driver, has been cited four times previously for failure to maintain auto insurance.
Now, the victims are grappling with thousands in medical bills. They have filed a personal injury lawsuit against both the driver and the vehicle owner. However, without insurance, it may prove tough to collect any damages awarded.
This is why our injury lawyers are ardent proponents of uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. These are types of coverage that can be purchased to protect yourself against drivers who:
- Aren’t insured at all.
- Commit a hit-and-run (and are not identified).
- Have insurance, but don’t have enough to fully cover the damages.
These types of coverage will kick in to provide an additional layer of protection when you encounter a negligent driver who irresponsibly fails to secure insurance or lacks enough to cover your losses.
Nationally, there were approximately 35,000 car accident fatalities in 2015, which marked a 7.2 percent increase -the biggest we’ve seen in almost 50 years. Specifically in Texas, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ( NHTSA) reports, there were 3,516 people who died last year in auto accidents. Tens of thousands more suffered injuries.
Our San Antonio injury attorneys are committed to fighting for the maximum compensation available to our clients. When drivers protect themselves with UM/UIM coverage, it provides an additional legal avenue.
Contact our experienced San Antonio personal injury lawyers at (210) 308-8811.
Family left to pay $1,000s in bills after hit by drunk, uninsured driver, Sept. 21, 2016, By Leslie Rangel, KXAN
More Blog Entries:
Woman Killed in Auto Accident After Colliding With Guardrail, July 8, 2016, San Antonio Personal Injury Lawyer Blog