Uninsured Driver Accidents
A car accident may be one of the most traumatic experiences of your life. The reality of permanent injuries, disability, or the death of loved ones is all too real in car accidents. On top of this, there are situations where an accident may destroy your socioeconomic status beyond repair. Such a case occurs when you are severely injured or disabled after a collision with an uninsured motorist. Uninsured driver accidents leave you broken and empty-handed. When you are the victim of a hit and run driver, you at least stand a chance of tracking down your perpetrator and receiving compensation.
Don’t take the randomness of life for granted. These accidents can happen to anyone, no matter how safe your vehicle may be or how defensively you drive to hedge against accidents. All drivers are required to carry insurance in Texas to cover medical expenses and property damage in the event of a collision. The drivers who don’t carry insurance are often people who cannot afford the rates, have lapsed on insurance due to job loss, or are anarchists who have no regard for the law. You may be forced to file suit against them in the event of an accident. However, collecting the money from people of low socioeconomic status may be impossible.
It is unfortunate that our criminal justice system is not set up to recompense the victims of these crimes. In an ideal world, the perpetrator would be forced to come up with the money and work things off to make everything right. Sadly, they are simply fined and stigmatized with a criminal record that makes solvency and obtaining collections for the victim even harder.
The most effective manner of hedging yourself against such a tragedy comes in the form of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. You pay a higher insurance premium each month to protect yourself against the risk of a life-changing accident. This insurance makes sense for everyone because the Texas minimum bodily injury coverage is capped at $30,000 per driver and $60,000 per accident with an additional $25,000 to compensate damage to property. If you are the victim of a more serious accident, where you would really need the coverage, the majority of state drivers will be underinsured. It is difficult to reclaim monetary damages, (even if a jury awards millions of dollars in your favor,) when you are dealing with ordinary working-class individuals.
What Do I Have to Prove in Order to Receive Compensation?
Proving negligence is essential to filing a claim for compensation from a car accident. When the other driver fails to act with an ordinary standard of care, the law holds them responsible for your injuries. The standard of care is often contractual. When you obtain a driver’s license, you sign your name and enter into what is known as an adhesion contract. You are strictly liable for any failure to follow the rules and regulations of the road. Therefore, when another driver turns the wrong way, speeds, runs a red light, or fails to properly upkeep motor vehicle equipment, they are automatically in breach of the contract and must face the consequences.
In the case of an uninsured motorist, they have breached the contract and become personally liable for failing to carry insurance. There is also a criminal penalty of revoked driving privileges, higher future insurance rates, fines, and possible corrective imprisonment. Because the uninsured motorist has already been found at fault for these infractions, any subjectivity in the facts will most likely be construed firmly against them. There are occasions when the driver of the vehicle is solvent and the insurance merely lapsed because they drove before the renewal date began. This ambiguity can cause drivers problems who have a rigid work schedule and cannot wait a couple days for the new or renewed coverage start date.
The insurance companies hedge against these damages by working with police to alert them when insurance lapses. In order to protect drivers from uninsured motorists; in some jurisdictions, the insurance companies may provide the local police with a list of recently lapsed or terminated insurance plans. Because the contract has terminated between the insurance company and the insured, this may no longer be confidential information under the terms and conditions. In this manner, the police may be able to serve a greater need of the community by closely inspecting vehicles that may be driving the roads without coverage. This also reduces the likelihood of the insurance companies being forced to pay out large awards on uninsured motorist claims.
Types of Damages Available in Car Accidents
When vehicles smash into homes or stationary objects, the extent of damage may be limited to property. This happens many times to homes that are at a sharp bend in the road or that are near intersections. The drivers may be sleeping at the wheel and think the GPS wants them to turn at what appears to be a large open driveway. Other drivers may simply be distracted when approaching a sharp bend and fail to make adequate adjustments. In most of these cases, the obviousness of the negligence is proven by the fact that competent and alert motorists have no problem navigating the route.
In other cases, where a vehicle additionally causes bodily injury in stationary or moving objects, a greater number of theories come into play. The victims of these accidents may collect damages for wrongful death of a loved one, disability, lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, diminished quality of life, and any other material losses.
In a nutshell, these damages will include anything collateral to the accident. All medical bills, past, present, and future may be calculated. The long-term cost of disability often goes hand in hand with lost wages and medical bills. Quality of life issues are anything short of a disability that diminish the quality of athleticism or joy of living you once felt.
Loss of consortium is a separate claim filed by grieving widows and family. This often occurs when the spouse has lost the intimate qualities of their relationship with the victim, or a family has lost supplemental household earnings. Wrongful death claims are often filed by the family or spouse on behalf of the deceased victim’s estate. These claims often cover funeral expenses, pain and suffering of the family, and potential lost income of the deceased.
Preparing Your Case
These are not the types of cases that you can file yourself in small claims court. They rely upon accurate calculations and the expert testimony of accident reconstruction experts to establish fault in many cases. They also rely upon expert medical testimony to calculate the costs of future medical bills and to explain to the jury the extent of your injuries from the crash. It is vital that you do not speak with insurance adjusters. Their job is to diminish or eliminate liability on your claims.
If you are involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver. It is important that you have someone take extensive photos of the accident scene. Record any video of the person and perpetrator’s vehicle if possible. Contact the police immediately if the driver fails to provide you with insurance information, or you suspect it may be invalid or falsified.
Only an experienced car accident attorney has the resources and skills to win your case. Working on a contingency basis is the status quo for these types of cases. You pay nothing unless the attorney wins. We work hard to present your case objectively and clearly. In many cases, we are able to force a settlement from the door by demonstrating the magnitude of the injuries and expounding the factors favoring negligence. Juries tend to empathize with victims and in a communal spirit will seek to balance out their burdens unless it can be demonstrated that they were to blame.