Texas At-Fault Car Accident Laws
Texas is an at-fault state for motor vehicle accidents. This means that if you are involved in an accident in the Sugar Land area, the driver who was at least 50% at fault will be held legally responsible. The insurance company of the driver at-fault will be responsible for paying out the claim. You do not have to first file a claim with your insurance policy. This is helpful because you do not have to pay a deductible or risk paying higher premiums.
Often there is more than one cause of an accident. If both drivers played some role in the accident, it can affect the claim. Texas has “comparative fault” liability. Although only a driver more than 50% at fault will be held responsible, if both drivers contributed to the accident, the injured party’s compensation might be reduced.
The amount your recovery is reduced depends on the level of fault of each party. For example, if the first driver is 90% liable for the accident and the second driver is 10% responsible, the first driver would recover nothing because they were more than 50% liable. The second driver would only be able to recover 90% of their damages. So, if the total damages were $100,000, the second driver would only be entitled to recover $90,000.
What is the Difference Between Fault and the No-Fault States?
Every state has its own auto insurance laws. There are two main categories of car accident laws: fault and no fault. Unlike fault states, such as Texas, in no-fault states, proof of fault is unnecessary. Each party covers its own costs.
In no-fault states, drivers must carry a minimum insurance policy to cover their own injuries and property damage. An injured party must first file a claim through their own insurance company. It does not matter who caused the accident. The injury party will typically only be able to sue the party that caused the accident if the damages exceed their own insurance policy limits. Usually, this only happens if the individual suffered severe injuries and accumulated significant medical expenses. In Texas, the at fault driver is responsible and can be sued for damages.
How Do You Prove Fault in a Texas Motor Vehicle Accident?
If you are the victim of a motor vehicle accident, you are responsible for proving that the other driver involved was responsible for the crash. You have to prove fault regardless of whether you are settling with an insurance company or filing a lawsuit. Some examples of fault include failing to maintain a safe distance, speeding, driving under the influence, and running stop signs. Examples of evidence that can be used to prove fault include:
• Photographs and videos of the accident scene,
• Accident reconstruction reports,
• Police reports,
• Witness testimony,
• Expert opinions (i.e., auto industry experts),
• Cell phone records, and
• Medical records.
Proving fault can often be challenging, especially when multiple vehicles are involved. You should contact a knowledgeable attorney, like Adam Capetillo, to ensure that your claim is successful. They will investigate your claim and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. If necessary, they will file a personal injury lawsuit. Having a qualified Sugar Land attorney on your side can make a huge difference and ensure you receive the maximum compensation you are entitled to.
What if the At-Fault Driver is Uninsured?
Texas requires all drivers to purchase motor vehicle insurance. The minimum coverage required is $30,000 in bodily injury coverage per person, up to $60,000 per accident, and $25,000 in property damage coverage. Usually, all payments are made through insurance agencies. If the at-fault driver does not have insurance, you can file a claim with your own insurance company.
Sometimes, damages exceed the at-fault driver’s insurance amount. In this situation, the injured party may be able to sue the driver for negligence to collect the difference.
What Damages Can You Recover for Car Accident Injuries in Texas?
The compensation you will be entitled to after your accident will depend on the unique facts of your accident and the severity of your damages. Commonly recovered damages include:
• Past and future medical bills,
• Lost wages,
• Emotional distress,
• Loss of enjoyment of life,
• Diminished earning capacity, and
• Property damage.
Your Sugar Land Personal Injury Attorney
Adam Capetillo is an experienced Sugar Land attorney passionate about protecting the rights of his clients. If you have been injured in a car accident, we encourage you to call our office today at (346) 444-1299 to schedule a free consultation.