What Are the Auto Insurance Laws in Texas?
Drivers in Texas must have minimum liability insurance to fairly compensate anyone they injure in a car crash. They must have the following minimum amounts of liability insurance:
- $30,000 per individual for bodily injury
- $60,000 per accident for bodily injury
- $25,000 for property damage
Recovering compensation from a driver who doesn’t have liability insurance can prove to be challenging. However, you can consult a San Antonio personal injury lawyer to evaluate your legal options in pursuing the compensation you deserve for the damages and injuries you sustain.
Can I Sue an Uninsured Driver Who Hits Me in Texas?
If you regularly drive in San Antonio, the likelihood that you will be hit by an uninsured driver at some time in your life is high. Many motorists in the United States are uninsured, which raises the question of what to do if a driver without auto insurance is responsible for your injuries and damages in an accident.
If you’re wondering if you can sue an uninsured driver who hits you in Texas, a San Antonio auto accident lawyer can tell you it’s possible. However, there is a strong possibility that the driver will be judgment-proof. Your lawyer can also evaluate your case and advise on your options.
What Does It Mean to be Judgment Proof?
When a person is judgment-proof, they have insufficient assets that the law can allow to be seized to pay a judgment. The law that affects a person’s ability to collect a judgment against an individual is the Texas Property Code section 41.0001-42.0002. The statute stipulates that a judgment creditor cannot seize a person’s Homestead.
The assets include the following:
- Home furnishings
- An urban or rural home
- A burial lot
- Certain jewelry
- Farming or ranching vehicles and equipment
- Other personal property
Most people who can’t afford liability insurance as required by law don’t own property over and above the listed items. Therefore, it’s easy to shield their assets from collection unless they have additional properties not protected by the Texas Homestead Act.
Recovering compensation can be complex, but all hope is not lost. An experienced uninsured motorist lawyer in San Antonio, FL, can help you evaluate other means to recover compensation.
How Can I Make an Uninsured Driver Pay for My Damages?
One way to recover your damages from an uninsured motorist in Texas is to complain to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). If the negligent driver is a resident of Texas, their driver’s license and vehicle registration can be suspended. The DPS can suspend the driver’s driving privileges in Texas if they’re non-residents.
Requirements to Make a Claim with the DPS
You must meet the following requirements to make a claim with the DPS against an uninsured motorist:
- The collision must have happened less than one year and ten months ago
- The accident must have been on a public highway, not on private property
- You must have made a report to the police regarding the collision, showing the driver didn’t have insurance
- The officer’s report must clearly show the other driver was not at fault
- The damages you file a claim for must total at least $1,000.
Ensure you document the damages, submit a copy of the office’s report and Form SR 106, and pay the necessary fees to process the claim. The DPS will send a letter to the uninsured driver indicating the total damages. The driver can agree to an acceptable plan of payment, which can be made in installments. You both must sign the agreement and send a copy to the DPS.
What if the DPS Determines I Can’t Recover Compensation from the Uninsured Motorist?
You may be unable to recover compensation from the uninsured driver through a DPS claim for various reasons. For example, the DPS may find no reasonable probability of judgment against the driver. That means the driver has no assets that can be seized to cover your damages.
Your San Antonio auto accident attorney can help you recover compensation for the damages through other means. In this case, a viable option would be to seek compensation from your insurance company.
File an Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage Claim
If you have uninsured motorist coverage under your auto insurance, it can cover you if you get injured in a collision caused by a motorist without insurance. Underinsured motorist coverage kicks in when you’re injured by someone whose liability coverage isn’t sufficient to compensate you for the losses you incur.
You can begin the compensation process by filing a first-party insurance claim with your provider. The process can be complex and involving, given the number of complicated notice issues, credit issues, the statute of limitations, and other requirements for filing uninsured and underinsured motorist claims. A skilled uninsured motorist attorney in San Antonio can help you.
Discover Your Options With an Experienced San Antonio Personal Injury Attorney
Collecting damages from a motorist without auto liability insurance can be complex. The Texas Homestead Act shields them from having their assets seized and sold to compensate for the loss. However, a skilled San Antonio auto accident lawyer can advise you about other options to help you pay for your medical bills and property damage.
At the Law Office of Matthew S. Norris, we provide legal assistance through the steps of personal injury cases. Texas is an “at-fault” state and requires negligent drivers to pay for the damages they cause. Don’t remain stranded if the other party has no insurance. Call us at (210) 549-7633, and let us evaluate your case for a favorable outcome.