Texas is an at-fault or tort state. This is considered the “traditional” legal system framework and means the person who caused the accident must pay damages to the other party.
The auto laws in Texas allow the injured party (parties) to hold the at-fault parties accountable for the damages caused. If the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance coverage to cover the cost of the damages, it is possible to file a car accident lawsuit to recover the rest.
If you are involved in a car accident in Texas, it is recommended that you work with an experienced car accident attorney. They can help you understand how the state’s auto laws will impact your case and your ability to collect the compensation you deserve.
Understanding Fault in Texas Car Accidents
Texas is not a no-fault state. Instead, it operates under a “fault” or “at-fault” system regarding car accidents.
As mentioned above, this means that the person legally at fault for the accident is also responsible for the damages. To understand what this means for you, a Texas driver or a car accident claimant, you must learn more about the state’s laws.
How Fault Is Determined in Texas
In a Texas car accident, fault is determined by who was negligent or careless in their driving behavior. The process involves investigating the accident scene, reviewing police reports, analyzing any relevant traffic laws that were broken, and often considering eyewitness testimony.
This process can be complex. It is recommended that you have an experienced Texas car accident lawyer representing your interests. They can ensure the needed evidence is acquired to help prove liability.
The Role of Insurance in an At-Fault State
Since Texas is an at-fault state, drivers are required to carry liability insurance. This insurance covers the costs of the other party’s injuries and property damage if you are found to be at fault for an accident.
- $30,000 for bodily injury per person
- $60,000 for bodily injury per accident
- $25,000 for property damage per accident
These amounts can be quickly exceeded in serious accidents, so some drivers opt for more comprehensive coverage.
How Does Being an At-Fault State Affect Your Car Accident Claim?
Being in an at-fault state like Texas means that you, as the injured party, have the right to seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. You can file a car accident claim with your insurance, the at-fault driver’s insurance or pursue a lawsuit to obtain compensation for your losses.
The Process of Filing a Car Accident Claim in Texas
To start your car accident claim in Texas, you must report the accident to your insurance company. Even if you’re not at fault, your insurance company can guide you through filing a claim with the other party’s insurance.
Here’s a general outline of the steps involved:
- Report the accident to the police immediately.
- Seek medical attention for any injuries.
- Collect evidence, such as photos of the scene, witness information, and a copy of the police report.
- Contact your insurance company to report the accident.
- Consider consulting with a car accident attorney to help manage your claim.
- Dealing with Insurance Adjusters
After an accident, you’ll likely be contacted by an insurance adjuster. Remember, the goal of the insurance company is to pay out as little as possible. Therefore, it’s usually in your best interest to speak with an attorney before making any statements or accepting any settlements from an insurance company.
Comparative Fault in Texas
Texas follows a modified comparative fault rule, which means that your compensation may be reduced by an amount equal to your percentage of fault in the accident. However, if you are found to be more than 50% at fault, you cannot collect any compensation.
How Comparative Fault Affects Your Car Accident Claim
You were involved in a Texas car accident where the other driver ran a red light, but you were speeding. If the court finds you 20% at fault for the accident due to speeding, and your damages amount to $10,000, you would only be able to collect $8,000.
The Importance of Legal Representation
Given the complexities of car accident claims and the Texas at-fault system, having skilled legal representation can be a significant advantage. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the claims process, gather evidence, and advocate on your behalf to ensure that your rights are protected.
When to Hire a Car Accident Attorney
Consider hiring an attorney if:
- You’ve suffered significant injuries, or there has been a fatality.
- The fault for the car accident is contested.
- You’re feeling pressured by the insurance company to accept a quick settlement.
- The insurance company has denied your claim or is not offering a fair settlement.
Your Rights in Texas: An At-Fault State for Car Accidents
No one expects to be involved in a car accident, but if you find yourself in this unfortunate situation in Texas, knowing the state’s at-fault laws is imperative for your car accident claim. Remember, each case is unique, and the law has complex rules and procedures.
Navigating a Texas car accident claim can be daunting, especially while you’re recovering from your injuries. Because of this, it is best to hire an experienced attorney to help you recover the compensation you deserve. At the Burkett Law Firm, we can help you with each step of the legal process. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation.