Is Texas An At-Fault Or No-Fault State?
Texas is an at-fault state when it comes to car accident claims. That means a driver who causes a collision is responsible for the damages.
The Difference Between At-Fault and No-Fault States
In at-fault states, like Texas, financial responsibility for a car accident is placed on the party who caused it. Therefore, you can file an accident claim directly with the at-fault party’s auto insurance company. However, their insurer has the discretion to approve or deny your claim. First, there will be an investigation by the insurer to determine which party was at fault. If their policyholder is to blame, they will likely offer you a settlement. However, if they claim that you were at fault, your claim can be denied. In this situation, your only options are to file a lawsuit and fight their decision in court or turn to your own insurer if you have collision coverage. Collision coverage allows you to file a claim with your auto insurance company regardless of fault.
In a no-fault state, drivers file an accident claim with their auto insurance company regardless of who caused the collision. A driver’s insurance policy will cover their collision costs up to the policy limits. There are only a limited number of circumstances in which an accident victim can pursue compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company or file a lawsuit.
What If I Was Partly At Fault for an Accident in Texas?
Texas’s modified comparative negligence law will determine how much compensation you can recover if you were partially to blame for your car accident. Under this law, a percentage of fault is assigned to each driver, which reduces compensation accordingly. For example, if you are awarded $100,000 and found 30 percent at fault, you will receive 70 percent of your award or $70,000. However, if you are found 51 percent or more to blame, you cannot recover any compensation.
Understanding Texas’s Car Insurance Requirements
Texas drivers are required by law to carry minimum amounts of auto coverage called liability insurance. Those amounts are as follows:
- $30,000 bodily injury or death per person
- $60,000 bodily injury or death per accident
- $25,000 property damage per accident
Liability insurance only covers the damage or harm you cause in an accident. It does not pay for the policyholder’s property damage or injuries. However, as previously mentioned, other optional car insurance forms are available, such as collision coverage, which will pay for your damages regardless of who was at fault.
Proving Fault in Texas
To prove another party is at-fault for a car accident in Texas requires evidence that their negligence was responsible. That involves demonstrating the following four elements of negligence:
- Duty of Care: The at-fault driver owed you a duty of care (e.g., obey traffic laws)
- Breach of Duty: The at-fault driver breached their duty of care (e.g., running a red light)
- Causation: The at-fault driver is directly responsible for your injuries (e.g., the injuries you suffered are linked to the car accident caused by the at-fault driver)
- Damages: You suffered financial and other losses due to the accident.
If you or someone you love has suffered a severe injury in a car accident, a Waco car accident attorney can help ensure fault falls on the appropriate party, and you recover the compensation you deserve.