Is Texas a No-Fault State for Car Accidents?
Posted in Motor Vehicle Accidents on December 9, 2020
In the United States, state insurance laws dictate how to handle car accident claims. Some states follow a fault-based system where the driver responsible for the accident must pay for the victims’ damages. Other states follow a no-fault system, where each individual driver must purchase personal injury protection insurance in case of a collision, regardless of fault.
Texas is not a no-fault state. Like most places in the U.S., Texas follows a fault insurance system.
Texas Liability Laws
Since Texas is a fault insurance state, drivers must have the ability to pay for the damages of their victims. This may include medical bills, property damage, vehicle repairs, and other costs these victims may sustain.
To uphold this financial responsibility, all motorists need to hold the following minimum amounts of car insurance. Drivers can choose to purchase higher amounts than the minimum limits if they choose.
- $30,000 in bodily injury liability per person per accident
- $60,000 in total bodily injury liability per accident
- $25,000 for property damage per accident
If you suffer injuries in an accident that someone else caused, you have three options to pursue compensation for your injuries. You can file an insurance claim against the at-fault driver, or you can file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. If you have the appropriate coverage, you can also file a claim under your own insurance policy.
Proving Negligence in an Accident
To receive compensation from a Texas driver, you will first need to prove that he or she is responsible for your accident and the resulting injuries. This means you will need to establish the at-fault driver’s negligence by proving four key elements.
- The driver owed you a duty to follow traffic laws and operate his or her vehicle safely.
- The driver breached his or her duty of care in some way.
- The driver’s breach of duty directly caused your accident.
- You suffered damages in the accident you can claim through your lawsuit.
All drivers have a duty to follow the law and drive safely for the road conditions. A breach of duty can occur as a result of multiple actions, including speeding, running a red light, or drinking and driving. Your attorney can help you gather the evidence you need to establish causation and prove your damages, such as medical records, expert testimony, witness statements, surveillance footage, and photographs. A car accident attorney in McAllen can help you prove negligence in your car accident case.
Texas Modified Comparative Negligence Laws
In some car accidents, a single driver is not solely responsible for the accident. Sometimes, multiple drivers share liability. If the court believes you may share responsibility for the accident, Texas’s modified comparative negligence laws will apply.
This rule will decrease the amount of compensation you receive by the percentage of liability you share. If you are 51% or more responsible for the crash, the court will prevent you from receiving any compensation.
For example, if you are in an accident with a drunk driver but the court discovers you ran a red light, it may assign 40% of the liability to you. If you ask for a $30,000 settlement, you will only receive $18,000. If you are 52% responsible for the accident, you will receive $0.
Protecting your right to compensation is vital after a car accident. You need these funds to pay for your medical bills, lost wages, vehicle repairs, and a host of physical, emotional, and financial losses. To ensure that the court or insurance company hears your side of the story, contact a car accident attorney as soon as possible to represent your claim.