Texas uninsured motorist laws assume that if an unidentified motorist causes an accident and flees the scene that the vehicle is uninsured. However, Texas uninsured motorist claims arising out of auto accidents in which the at fault vehicle flees the scene without being identified require at a minimum that there be contact with the at fault vehicle. Insurance companies argue that requiring contact is the only way to separate the case of an unidentified vehicle which causes an accident and flees the scene from the situation where a driver simply loses control of their vehicle and causes a one car accident. I have jokingly told my clients that if they are going to get run off the road that they shouldn’t go without a fight else their uninsured motorist insurance carrier will accuse them of causing a one car accident.
Admittedly, the excuse of many drivers in East Texas who simply lose control of their vehicle and run off the road seems to be either “a deer ran across the road in front of me and I swerved to miss it and lost control” or “someone ran me off the road and didn’t stop and I didn’t get their license plate”. If you get run off the road in Texas you’re going to have to either identify the other vehicle or have physical damage to your vehicle from contact with the other vehicle or you are not going to be able to assert an uninsured motorist claim.
This contact doctrine has been expanded in recent years to preclude claims caused by cargo falling from another vehicle which did not stop and remains unidentified. If a refrigerator falls off of a delivery truck mangling you and totaling your vehicle you are out of luck on your uninsured motorist claim unless you can identify the other vehicle. This result seems unfair if the goal of the contact doctrine is to eliminate fraudulent allegations about phantom vehicles causing accidents and only makes sense when viewed in light of the insurance industry’s overall goal of sounding reasonable while finding ways to deny your claim.
For more information contact a Tyler Auto Accident Attorney today.