Dallas County again leads the cringe-worthy list of where your chance of being hit by a noninsured driver is the greatest. More people here — over 16% — don’t even carry the most basic liability insurance, according to our state officials.
But as a Fort Worth personal injury lawyer, I think that the number of uninsured drivers in the Metroplex is even higher.
Or almost as bad, people have insurance, but with a bottom of the barrel company which routinely delays and denies claims — if you can even get the adjuster to respond.
I was delighted today to make one of them pay my client the full $30,000.00 limits. But it took a lawsuit for this to happen.
Over the last 34 years, I’ve represented hundreds of people who were hit by a noninsured or thinly covered driver.
If no other insured driver, company or governmental entity is responsible, and my client has not purchased uninsured motorist coverage (or the at-fault party has substantial assets that can be collected, which is rarely the case), that person must absorb the damages for his vehicle damage, medical bills, and lost wages himself.
Why do we have so many uninsured drivers in the DFW area? Analysts point to two problems: rising insurance rates and budgetary constraints. The 50 largest auto companies just announced that they are raising their rates an average of 11% for the coming year. We alredy have the highest rates in the U. S. Many people decide to just take their chances at not getting caught. But many companies charge as little as $40 a month for liability coverage, and with fines starting at $350 for the first offense, $1,000 for the second violation, and jail for multiple violations, let alone the exposure for payments for property damage and being sued, this probably isn’t a smart move. I encourage everybody to shop around for the best rates. Here’s a good link to help you do that.
What Are Our Officials Doing To Fix This Problem?
Not enough, obviously. State legislators, led by Sen. Wendy Davis, attempted to pass a law to make the Department of Motor Vehicles suspend registrations for drivers who didn’t have liability insurance and prevent carriers from selling policies that were good for one month. A well-known loophole allows driver to only purchase insurance for one month and get a card good for the entire year, or to cancel coverage after they get their vehicles inspected.
The bills were killed and never even made to committee hearings.
At least police have a new data base, Texas Sure, that they can access when they pull people over or after a wreck has occurred. It contains insurance data on all Texas drivers. The program is sending out 25,000 notices each week asking drivers to prove coverage.
Also, several cities, including Dallas, require uninsured vehicles to be towed from the scene of a wreck and impounded until insurance is purchased. Of course by then, it’s too late.
What Can We Do?
We have to fix this problem. As the head of the Insurance Council of Texas said, “Just one wreck with an uninsured motorist, and it can turn your life around. We still have too many uninsured motorists.
I say “sue the bastards.” Keep them from driving for free while the rest of us pay for car insurance. Take away their auto registrations and driver’s license until they comply with state law. We can help you understand what your legal rights and remedies are if you are in this unfortunate situation.
I just settled a man’s case last week for his policy’s full uninsured limits and he was delighted. It was gratifying to read these kind words from him on the leading Avvo lawyer rating service:
My wife and I were in a horrible accident a year ago. Bill was retained as our Lawyer and during the past 13 months has worked diligently for our fair treatment. The whole ordeal after the wreck was one mountain to climb over another but the Berenson Law firm has been the one positive we could count on. We thank Bill and his staff for our legal services but also for the treatment on a personal basis far beyond what was expected.
Thank you so much, Daniel and Sarah (names were changed to protect their privacy). That means a lot, knowing that you were so pleased with your results, as I work hard to make sure that all of my clients are happy. More reviews can be found here, in case you have been injured in a collision and are shopping around for the best attorney for your case. I’m proud to have become an Eagle Scout when I was only 13 and live by those values, as old-fashioned as they may be. Our mottos were was “do your best” and “be prepared.”