Whether you were an uninsured person or got hurt in an accident with an uninsured driver, you might be panicking right now. If you get into a car accident without insurance, the consequences will vary depending on whether you were the uninsured person and if anyone got injured or killed in the collision.
Also, if the uninsured person caused the accident, they could face several legal ramifications because they are at fault.
Driving Without Car Insurance in Texas Can Cost You
It is a violation of Texas law to own or drive a car without liability insurance. If you get into a collision and the officer discovers that you do not have the required car insurance, you might find yourself without a car to drive. These are some of the possible legal and financial consequences of getting caught without car insurance at the time of an accident:
- The officer could write you a ticket for violating our state’s financial responsibility law that mandates car insurance for people who own or drive vehicles.
- The police could impound your car and have it towed away. You would have to find another way to get home that day. You would not be able to get your car back until you pay a fee and show proof that you now have car insurance.
- If this is not your first time getting caught without car insurance, Texas might suspend your driver’s license. You will likely have to pay an administrative fee to reinstate your license.
- When you try to buy automobile liability insurance, you could discover that the insurance company will charge you considerably higher premiums than it would if you had not gotten a ticket for failure to carry insurance.
In summary, it is usually far less expensive to maintain at least the minimum amount of coverage Texas law requires than to drive uninsured.
Mandatory Automobile Insurance Coverage in Texas
Texas’ Office of Public Insurance Counsel says people who own or drive cars in the state must carry at least the minimum amount of liability insurance. This coverage pays for the bodily injury to others and property damage if you cause a car accident. The minimum required coverage is “30/60/25.” This means coverage in the amounts of:
- $30,000 per injured person
- Up to $60,000 total per accident for all bodily injuries regardless of the number of people hurt in the collision
- $25,000 per accident for the total property damage to other vehicles.
Considering healthcare costs and the cost of auto repair or new vehicles, a person who causes anything more than a fender-bender will likely have to pay out of pocket for the bodily injuries and property damage that their minimum auto insurance does not cover.
Having “bare bones” coverage does not let the insured person escape financial responsibility for the losses they caused. If a person carries insufficient insurance, they still must pay for the accident’s damages.
Damages the At-Fault Party May Have to Pay with or Without Insurance
Driving without car insurance is not a “get out of jail free” card. An uninsured at-fault driver is still legally responsible for the harm they caused. The amount of money the at-fault driver could owe will depend on the case.
Possible Ways to Get Your Car Accident Losses Paid
If you got hurt in an accident that an uninsured driver caused, you may have other options for getting at least some of your losses paid from other sources. For example:
- Your uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage on your automobile policy. Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage provides financial resources to help pay your losses if the at-fault driver carries no insurance or does not carry enough insurance to pay your damages.
- Your medical payments coverage or personal injury protection (PIP) on your policy. You might have coverage on your personal injury protection (PIP) auto insurance policy that can pay your medical bills.
- The at-fault driver’s “umbrella” liability insurance coverage. If the defendant did not carry automobile liability insurance but owned a general liability policy, that insurance might pay some of your losses. “Umbrella” coverage is usually an add-on to a homeowners insurance policy.
- If the at-fault driver was operating a company vehicle without insurance coverage, you might have a claim against their employer for your damages. Some businesses self-insure rather than spend money on vehicle insurance. Regardless, the employer could be responsible.
- The defendant’s personal assets. If you go to court and get a judgment against the uninsured driver who caused the accident, you have a right to enforce that judgment by going after their personal assets.
- Wage garnishment. Another option after getting a judgment is to file a wage garnishment against the defendant. The employer would have to send you a portion of the wages the defendant earns until they satisfy the judgment.
A personal injury lawyer might be able to find additional sources of funds that could pay your accident damages. The outcome will depend on your situation.
Call Us Today if You Got Into a Car Accident Without Insurance
Trujillo & Sanchez, P.C., can help you navigate a complicated situation after getting into a car accident with a driver who has no insurance. We encourage you to contact us right away. Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003 generally gives you two years to seek legal action for a personal injury from the accident date. You could lose the right to recover compensation for your losses if the deadline expires. Call us today for a free consultation.