Who Pays For Auto Accidents In Texas?
Answers you can trust from a Fort Worth attorney
In Texas, car accidents are a big deal. The financial cost can add up fast, between medical expenses, lost wages, property damage and other effects on your life. While you’re trying to focus on your recovery, finding a way to pay those bills can be overwhelming.
Coby L. Wooten, Attorney At Law, P.C. understands the complexities of Texas’ car insurance system. If you’ve been injured in an accident, find out what you can do to recover the compensation you rightfully deserve. You can read more below or simply contact us right now.
Understanding Texas’ Fault Insurance System
Like most states, Texas is considered a “fault” state for car accidents. That means the driver who is at fault for a wreck is responsible for compensating people injured in the accident. In circumstances where multiple drivers are partially at fault for the accident, each driver needs to pay compensation in proportion to his or her percentage of fault – this is called comparative negligence.
Texas uses a modified comparative negligence system with a 51 percent criteria for recovery. This means if you are at least 51 percent responsible for the accident, you cannot recover compensation for your injuries. If you are partially at fault but less than 51 percent, you can recover compensation, but your award will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
How to pursue compensation after an accident
In general, there are three ways for an individual injured in a Texas car accident to claim compensation. Depending on the circumstances and the terms of your policy, you may need to:
- File a first-party claim with your own insurance carrier, who may then pursue a second-party claim with another insurance company.
- File a third-party claim directly with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
- File a lawsuit in civil court against the at-fault driver.
While most car accident compensation is paid by the at-fault driver, there are some circumstances in which another party, such as a vehicle manufacturer, also bears responsibility. In those cases, you can file a claim with the relevant liability insurance carrier, or file a lawsuit. An attorney can help you understand your options for pursuing compensation.
Car insurance policies in Texas
Every state sets its own minimum requirements for car insurance. In Texas, drivers are required to carry 30/60/25 insurance – that is, up to $30,000 for injury to any single person in an accident, $60,000 total for all injuries sustained in an accident, and $25,000 for property damage.
However, many car accidents cause damage in excess of those minimum requirements. If you have a traumatic injury, the minimum liability coverage may be exceeded after the first day of treatment. If the driver who caused your injuries does not have enough liability insurance to cover the cost of your injuries, we say that the motorist is underinsured. And there are some drivers in Texas who break the law and drive without any insurance at all – these are uninsured motorists.
We strongly recommend carrying uninsured and underinsured motorist protection (UM/UIM) on your policy. This allows you to file a claim with your own insurance company for compensation if you are injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver. If you don’t have this insurance, you still may have other legal options. In either case, your first step should be to consult an attorney to review your policy and find out how you can get the compensation you need.
How an experienced Texas accident lawyer can help
Pursuing compensation after an auto accident is difficult. Even if you’re dealing with your own insurance carrier, which is ostensibly on your side, they have a strong profit motive to pay you as little as possible. And if you’re dealing with another motorist’s insurance carrier, watch out. Their goal is to protect their client and their bottom line, not to fairly compensate you.
You need an experienced car accident lawyer on your side, fighting for the compensation you need to rebuild your life. That’s why we strongly recommend you contact us right away, before you speak to the insurance company. Call 866-408-0940 for your free consultation.