Texas At-Fault Accident Laws
Every state has different laws regarding how it will deal with car accident claims and insurance liability. Most systems fall into two classes: “at-fault” and “no-fault.” The law in the state where you live will determine who is responsible for paying for an automobile accident – you or the other driver. Learn from our personal injury lawyers how Texas’s at-fault car accident law works to know what to expect from your car insurance claims process.
What Is an At-Fault Car Accident Law?
All but 12 states use an at-fault law to determine car accident liability. In an at-fault car insurance state, the driver or party at fault for causing the collision is who must pay. This is typically the driver who broke a traffic law, such as texting and driving or running a red light. In a no-fault state, on the other hand, both drivers seek financial damages from their own car insurance policies, regardless of fault. Both types of insurance systems have pros and cons.
In a fault state, one drawback is that an injured accident victim must prove fault before recovering financial benefits from a third-party insurance claim. A benefit, however, is that more compensation is generally available with a third-party car accident lawsuit. While it is easier to obtain insurance benefits in a no-fault state, the value of the settlement is often lower and the policyholder’s insurance premium will increase whether or not the driver was at fault.
How Much Car Insurance Is Required in Texas?
Texas’s car insurance requirements tie directly into its at-fault laws. All drivers in Texas are required to show proof of financial responsibility in the form of at least $30,000 in bodily injury liability insurance per person, $60,000 in bodily injury insurance per accident and $25,000 in property damage insurance. Having this car insurance available demonstrates that the driver can afford to pay for someone else’s losses if he or she causes a car accident.
How Do You Prove Fault for a Car Accident in Texas?
Once you determine who is at fault for your car accident, you or your lawyer will need to prove that what you are claiming is more likely to be true than not true. You will need to present clear and convincing evidence that shows that your car accident would not have happened but for the negligence of the other driver. Evidence that you may be able to use to support your claim includes:
- A police report
- Video footage
- Eyewitness accounts of the accident
- Car accident reconstruction
- Expert testimony
- Medical records
- Vehicle repair bills
- Proof of other losses
If you successfully prove fault in your car accident case or injury lawsuit in Texas, the other driver’s car insurance company will be responsible for paying out your claim with a reasonable settlement. If the other driver doesn’t have insurance or you get injured in a hit-and-run accident, you may need to seek compensation from your own insurance provider, instead. You would need first-party insurance coverage on your policy in this scenario, such as uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance, collision coverage or comprehensive insurance.
Comparative Negligence in a Texas Car Accident Case
Texas has a comparative negligence law that will apply to a case where both parties share fault for a car accident. If you are found to be partially responsible for the car accident that injured you, this does not automatically take away your right to recover financial compensation in Texas. It will, however, reduce your compensatory award by an amount equivalent to your percentage of fault.
For example, if the courts allocate 10 percent of the fault for a car accident to you, it would reduce a $50,000 reward by 10 percent to $45,000. If you are found to be more than 50 percent at fault, however, you will be unable to recover any financial compensation from the other driver’s insurer. This can make it important to hire an Austin car accident attorney if you believe you contributed to your car accident.
For professional assistance navigating Texas’s at-fault laws during a car accident claim, contact Loewy Law Firm to request a free consultation.