How Is Fault Determined in a Car Accident in Texas?
Receiving compensation for injuries stemming from a car accident in Texas can be a lengthy and costly ordeal. Texas is a “fault state,” which means that insurance companies must determine “fault” in a car accident before they will provide coverage. Thus, a person who is injured in a car accident that was caused by another driver can file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company to be compensated for injuries and/or property damage.
In “no-fault” states, a driver does not have to prove fault and can submit a claim to his or her own insurance company. Their insurance will provide coverage regardless of who was legally responsible for the crash. If you were never fully compensated for injuries and/or property damage from an at fault driver or insurance company, talk to an attorney today. A Dallas personal injury lawyer at The Queenan Law Firm, P.C. can help you receive compensation for medical bills, property damage, and other costs that you are owed. Call for a free consultation today.
Required Minimum Insurance Coverage in Texas
All Texas drivers are required to purchase automobile insurance under the state’s financial responsibility law. The minimum amount of insurance coverage that all drivers must carry is $30,000 per person for bodily injury, $60,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $25,000 for property damage. This will cover injuries to another driver after a car accident. If the minimum amount of insurance does not fully compensate the injured driver’s injuries and/or property damage, that person has the option to sue to collect the difference.
Due to the high cost of medical bills and rising automobile prices, minimum insurance coverage could mean thousands of dollars not covered by insurance. It is important to retain the services of a skilled Dallas car accident lawyer so that you can receive an honest assessment of your potential for financial recovery. If your injuries are more severe than the at-fault driver’s insurance can cover, the only way to get your damages compensated may be to sue in court.
Personal Injury Claims for Uncompensated Damages
If you take the at-fault driver to court, you must prove that they were responsible for the accident. Four elements must be present for a judge to find the accused “negligent” and financially responsible for the crash:
- The accused driver owed you a duty of care;
- The accused driver breached this duty;
- The accused driver’s breach of duty caused your injury; and
- You suffered damages.
You must prove that you suffered actual damages the court can compensate as a result of the accident. Damages can be in the form of lost wages, medical bills, property damage, inability to work, etc.
The tools and evidence used to establish fault come in many forms. Some of these include:
- Police reports
- Cell phone records of the drivers
- Written statements transcribed at the scene of the accident
- Photographs and videos taken immediately after the crash
- Witness statements
Proportional Comparative Fault Rule for Texas Car Accidents
In some cases, an injured driver is also at fault, to some extent, for the damages. When this occurs, Texas follows the “proportional comparative fault rule”. This means that a party who is 51% or more at fault for an accident cannot recover damages from the other party. Additionally, a party who is 50% or less at fault for an accident can recover damages but it will be reduced by percentage of fault.
Sometimes fault is easy to determine, because the accident occurred in such a way that one party’s fault is obvious. One of these accidents is a rear-end collisions where an injured party’s vehicle is hit from behind. Driving rules state that drivers must maintain a safe distance between themselves and the cars in front of them. The driver in front may have to stop suddenly, and it is more obviously the rear driver’s fault. There may be other circumstances that make the case less obvious, so these automatic fault rules only apply in specific circumstances. For instance, if the driver in front was in reverse and backed into the driver behind them, the situation and fault rules are quite different.
Car Accident Attorney in Dallas, TX
If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident in the Dallas area, talk to a car accident attorney right away. The Dallas car accident lawyers at The Queenan Law Firm, P.C. represent injured car accident victims and help them get compensation for their injuries. Call (817) 476-1797 today for your free consultation with our experienced car accident lawyers.