Truck accidents are serious due to the extensive damage they can cause. Compared to other vehicles on Texas highways, trucks are larger and heavier, which can result in serious injuries and significant property damage.
Without a doubt, accident injuries and fatalities have become a growing concern on Texas roadways. Accident statistics are on the rise, with 124 deaths caused by commercial truck accidents this year.
Another concern for a truck accident is whether the driver has insurance – as uninsured motorists are more common than you think. According to data from the Insurance Research Council (IRC), 13% of drivers in the United States didn’t have insurance in 2019. In Texas, 14.1% of motorists didn’t have insurance, which is slightly higher than the national average.
These numbers are alarming, as having insurance is a financial responsibility and mandatory for all Texas drivers in the event they’re involved in an accident. In fact, many truck drivers violate insurance law by letting their policies lapse.
If you’re involved in a truck accident and the driver doesn’t have insurance, here are 5 things you should know.
1. Check to See If You Have Uninsured Motorist Coverage.
Uninsured motorist coverage is a clause that stipulates that your insurance should pay for damages caused by the negligent driver. However, if you’re at fault in the accident, your insurance company may not provide this coverage.
2. Verify That You Have Personal Injury Protection Coverage.
For claims solely involving property damage caused by an uninsured truck driver, you may file an uninsured motorist property damage claim (UMPD).
3. File a Complaint with the Texas Department of Public Safety.
The Texas Department of Public Safety can help you recover damages resulting from the collision. If the negligent and uninsured party is a Texas resident, the driver’s license and vehicle registration may be suspended. On the other hand, if the negligent party doesn’t have insurance and is a non-resident, his/her driving privileges in Texas may be suspended.
4. File a Claim Form with the Texas Department of Public Safety.
If you’re involved in a truck accident and the other party doesn’t have insurance, we recommend filing a claim with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) in order to make an official complaint.
Some of the requirements to file a claim include:
- You can file a claim as long as the collision occurred within a period of one year and ten months, and before the DPS has acted against the uninsured individual.
- The truck accident must have occurred on a public roadway, not on private property.
- You must provide an accident report of the truck accident that proves the negligent driver didn’t have insurance.
5. Document the Damages.
If you have the opportunity to collect photos and testimonials, this material can be beneficial when filing your claim. For catastrophic injuries, you should send copies of itemized medical bills regardless of whether they have been paid or not.
Finally, if you have lost wages as a result of the truck accident, you must submit a statement from your employer indicating the total hours and wages lost.
Can an Uninsured Truck Driver Be Sued?
You may be wondering if it’s possible to sue an uninsured truck driver. The answer is yes. If an uninsured truck driver caused an accident and you were affected, you can hire a truck accident lawyer and sue him for damages.
If you were injured in an uninsured truck accident, we’re ready to fight for your rights at the Law Offices of George Salinas.
What’s Next after Suing an Uninsured Truck Driver?
In reality, an uninsured truck accident case can take several months to settle. After settling, there are several items to keep in mind:
- The Department of Public Safety will send a letter to the uninsured driver, listing the total amount of damages. Upon receipt of this notice, the uninsured driver has twenty days to respond.
- If you and the uninsured trucker reach an agreement, you must send a copy of it to the DPS using form SR-19. You and the driver must sign the agreement in the presence of a public notary or two witnesses.
- If the uninsured party fails to comply with these requirements, the Department may suspend the driver’s license and vehicle registration if the party is a Texas resident. If the uninsured party is a non-resident, the Department may suspend his/her driving privileges in Texas.
- You may negotiate a payment installment agreement with the uninsured trucker. If you want restitution, the case must be filed within two years of the accident.
Hiring an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help
At the Law Offices of George Salinas, we’ll help you build your truck accident claim, negotiate a settlement, and get the best possible compensation. Don’t be intimidated: we’ll fight for your rights and ensure that the negligence of uninsured truck drivers doesn’t hurt you and your family.
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