What if the scariest day of your life just kept getting scarier?
This is what happens to many Texas drivers when they get hit by another car. Obviously, getting hit by another driver is scary, and dealing with everything afterward can be a real headache, especially if you don’t have good car insurance. But if you don’t have any insurance at all when another driver hits you, it can be very frightening because you don’t know what legal consequences you may face and whether it’s possible to get justice for what happened to you.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to take control of these unexpected accidents. Keep reading to discover exactly what to do when you don’t have insurance in Texas and get hit by a car!
Texas Is an At-Fault State
The first thing you need to understand is that Texas is a “fault state” for drivers. That means that whoever causes an accident is liable for paying for the damage they cause. Even if you don’t have insurance when you are struck by another driver, it doesn’t change the fact that the other driver is expected to pay for the damage that you and your car may have experienced.
Ideally, the other driver will work with you after the accident to make things right. As long as they have insurance of their own, then that driver’s liability coverage helps to reduce the out-of-pocket costs for that driver.
If the other driver doesn’t cooperate, or you don’t think the settlement offered by their insurance company is fair, you may have to sue either the driver or the insurance carrier. And while few drivers ever want to go to court, it’s important to begin documenting evidence that you may need.
Document Everything as Soon as Possible
It may sound a little paranoid, but after a car accident, it’s good to assume that you might potentially have to take the other driver to court over their unsafe driving. That’s why, after making sure that you and everyone else is okay, the first thing you need to do is begin documenting everything related to the accident.
This means writing down the name and insurance info of the other driver (they will need your info, too) and the name and contact info of anyone nearby who witnessed the accident. If the police are involved in the accident, write down the names and badge numbers of the officers involved, and don’t forget to request a copy of the accident report from the police department later.
Finally, take extensive pictures of your vehicle (particularly the damage), the other vehicle, and the other vehicle’s license plate (this may be harder if the accident occurred at night). If you do end up having to take anyone to court, these images can help prove how bad the accident was when it’s your word versus theirs. Once you have insurance of your own, the images and documentation can help your insurance company process the claim.
How Much the At-Fault Texan Driver Should Pay
It can sometimes be tricky to determine how much you think the other driver should have to pay. At a minimum, they need to pay for damage to your vehicle and any medical bills you incurred after the accident. Be sure to keep records of your medical bills and records of how much it cost to fix your car.
If you ended up missing any work because of the accident, then it’s fair for the other driver to pay for your lost wages. Beyond that, you can also sue for things like pain and suffering on top of everything else, but you may need a good attorney to get the full amount you are asking for.
Why You May Need a Good Attorney in the Lone Star State
If you don’t have insurance and get struck by another driver in Texas, then you may want to start searching for attorneys who specialize in automobile claims. That’s because, in some cases, your own lack of insurance can turn this into something of an uphill legal battle.
For example, the other driver’s insurance company may take advantage of your own lack of coverage and try to get you to accidentally admit to being at fault. Or, if they ask you to record an official statement, they may ask misleading questions that will ultimately harm your case.
When you have a good lawyer, they can help avoid falling into these traps. Most of all, though, a lawyer can help you negotiate and get as much money as you deserve. Considering that most car accident cases are settled out of court, it’s important to be able to negotiate a fair settlement amount.
Can You Get in Trouble for Driving Without Insurance in TX?
Now, here comes the bad news. While it’s true that you can take the other driver to court even if you don’t have insurance, driving in Texas without insurance has its own penalties. The more often you are caught doing it, the worse those penalties will be.
For example, first offenders must pay a fee that ranges from $175 to $350. On the second offense, the fee ranges from $350 to $1,000, and your vehicle could be impounded for up to 180 days, resulting in plenty of extra fees.
Even if it’s only your first offense, you can expect your insurance costs to go up. You may have to file an SR-22 with the state for a period of three years, as well, which can significantly increase your insurance costs.
Get the Best Texas Car Insurance Today!
Now you know what happens when you don’t have insurance in Texas and get hit by a car. But what if great car insurance was more affordable than you ever imagined?
Here at Baja Auto Insurance, we make it easy for you to request a car insurance quote online. Or if you’d prefer, you can always come into one of our local offices and chat with us. Finally, if you’re too busy for all of that, just pick up the phone and give us a call at 800-401-6870.