Is Texas a No-Fault State for Car Accidents? – A Closer Look at State Laws
The laws governing car accidents vary across the United States, from one jurisdiction to another. When it comes to insurance claims, there's no exception. Regulations are different around the country.
Most states set these regulations based on two major types of insurance law. As a result, both groups implement at-fault or no-fault systems. In a few states, citizens can choose between both options.
Understanding the system that a state uses is essential for people who plan to file a claim and pursue compensation for injuries and losses resulting from a car accident.
In some states, drivers must file a claim with their own insurance company following a car crash. However, in other states, they should do it with the other driver's insurer.
What should Texas drivers do? How's the car insurance system in this state? How to file a product liability claim? Here's everything people need to know.
Is Texas a No-Fault State When It Comes to Car Accidents?
Texas isn't a no-fault state. Instead, it implements an at-fault system, which means that the person who causes the car accident should pay for damages and losses.
As an at-fault state, Texas has set up car insurance laws that allow injured victims to take legal action against responsible parties to hold them accountable for their actions.
If a car crash occurs but the at-fault driver doesn't have enough coverage to pay for victims' expenses, injured parties can file a car accident lawsuit to recover the difference.
Payments for damages and losses that victims experience are often made through insurance agencies. An at-fault state typically defines a required minimum coverage amount.
Required Minimum Coverage Amount in Texas
In Texas, the required minimum coverage amount may fall into one of the following categories:
The coverage amount for each injured individual
The coverage amount by accident
The coverage amount for damage to property for each accident
Under Texas law, the minimum liability limits are known as 30/60/25 coverage because they must meet the following requirements:
At least $30,000 for each injured person
Up to $60,000 for each accident
$25,000 for property damage relative to each accident
However, these limits define the minimum amounts for car insurance coverage. When an accident occurs, this sum might not cover all damages or recovery expenses due to the case's unique circumstances.
No-fault States vs. At-Fault States
What makes Texas different from other states? Currently, 12 states have no-fault insurance laws, but what's the difference?
Essentially, the main difference lies in how injured parties should file claims. In a no-fault state, victims must recover accident-related expenses and losses through their own insurance companies.
No-fault systems don't require injured parties to prove who was at fault for the accident in order to receive compensation for damages and losses. However, there are limits to victims' ability to bring a lawsuit against the liable driver for the car crash.
In most no-fault states, drivers are required to own personal injury protection (PIP insurance). This is the type of insurance coverage that allows injured parties to approach their insurers to recover compensation for an accident.
Drivers living in Texas, an at-fault state, must own PIP coverage, but they're allowed to decline this coverage through a waiver. However, citizens who turn down their PIP will not have protection if they suffer an accident that results in serious injuries and huge medical bills.
Essentially, PIP coverage only deals with personal injuries according to each insurance company's policy. However, drivers can purchase other types of insurance to cover property damage.
These are the types of insurance that drivers can get besides Personal Injury Protection (PIP):
Most states, including Texas, require drivers to carry liability insurance, which pays for victims' expenses related to physical injuries and property losses. It's the most common type of insurance coverage.
This is a type of auto insurance that covers damage to a policyholder's vehicle in the event of a collision with another car or object, regardless of who is at fault.
Uninsured and Under-insured Motorist Coverage
It provides coverage to those involved in an accident with someone who is uninsured or under-insured and therefore unable to pay for damages or injuries.
This type of car insurance focuses on damages caused to a policyholder's vehicle by different events, including accidents, theft, vandalism, fire, or natural disasters.
Medical Payments Coverage
It covers medical expenses for the driver and their passengers if there's an accident. There's no need to prove liability.
This car insurance option covers the difference between what a policyholder owes on their car loan or lease and the vehicle's actual cash value in the event of a total loss.
How to Prove Fault in a Texas Car Accident
In Texas, comparative negligence is key to proving fault for a car accident. In other words, each driver's degree of fault is considered when determining who is responsible for the crash.
To prove fault, a victim often needs to provide evidence, which may include witness statements, police reports, and photos of the accident scene.
Evidence that Victims Can Use to Prove Fault in a Texas Car Accident
In order to prove fault in a car accident case in Texas, victims and their legal teams should collect the following types of evidence.
Photos of the accident scene
Cell phone records
Vehicle maintenance records
What Damages Can Victims Recover After a Car Accident in Texas?
In Texas, car accident victims may be able to recover different damages, including current medical bills or future medical expenses, property damage, lost wages or earning capacity, pain and suffering, and other losses related to the accident.
The amount of damages that can be recovered depends on the specific circumstances of the case. However, a car accident lawyer in Houston TX can help victims understand the tort liability system in Texas and pursue fair compensation for damages.
Some of the most common types of damages that victims may be able to recover include the following:
Medical bills and related expenses: Victims may be able to recover current and future medical expenses, including treatment, hospitalization, surgery, medication, physical therapy, and other related costs.
Lost wages or earning capacity: If a victim is unable to work due to injuries sustained in a car accident, they may be able to recover compensation for lost wages and other income.
Property damage: Victims may be able to recover the cost of repairing or replacing their vehicle or other property that was damaged in the accident.
Pain and suffering: It includes physical pain, emotional suffering, and mental anguish caused by the accident.
Disability or disfigurement: If a victim suffers a disability or disfigurement as a result of the car accident, they may be able to recover compensation to account for the lasting impact on their life and earning capacity.
Loss of consortium: When a victim's injuries prevent them from maintaining a normal relationship with their spouse, they may be able to recover damages for loss of consortium. This is also possible through wrongful death cases.
Punitive damages: In some cases, victims may be able to recover punitive damages if the at-fault driver acted recklessly.
Should Car Accident Victims Call an Attorney After a Crash in Texas?
Car accident victims in Texas may benefit from speaking with an attorney after a crash, especially if they have suffered serious injuries or if the accident was caused by another driver's negligence.
An attorney can help injured people understand their legal rights and options and can assist with pursuing a claim for damages. Also, they can guide victims through the complex legal process and will work hard to achieve a favorable settlement or verdict in a car accident case.
What an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer Can Do to Help Victims in Texas
Overall, this is what an experienced car accident lawyer can do to help victims fight for their rights in an at-fault state like Texas.
Conduct a thorough investigation of the car crash
Gather evidence to support the victim's claim
Communicate with insurance companies on the victim's behalf
Negotiate a fair settlement with the at-fault driver's insurance company
File a lawsuit and represent the victim in court, if necessary
Provide guidance and support throughout the legal process, including explaining partial fault liability if it applies to their cases
Contact Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys Today!
Car accident victims have the legal right to take legal action against at-fault parties and seek compensation for the losses and damages they sustained. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can help with situations like, car accident without insurance not at fault.
Understanding how the at-fault system works in Texas can be challenging. However, it's key to winning a case. Fortunately, victims can find guidance and support at Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys.
Our law firm has an experienced team of attorneys ready to help car accident victims fight for their rights. Contact us today for assistance with car accident insurance claims and more!