Content of the material
- What Is the Difference Between No-Fault vs. Fault States?
- Michael Francis
- Is Texas a No-Fault State?
- What If You Are Partially At Fault?
- Comparative Fault Rules in Texas
- How Can FVF Help?
- Minimum Insurance Requirements in Texas
- What happens if damages exceed the at-fault driver’s insurance amount?
- Proving Liability in Texas Car Accidents
- Some Insurance Companies Try to Avoid Paying Fairly
- Possible Damages
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage in Texas
- Is Texas a “no-fault” state?
- A San Antonio Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You Prove Fault in an Accident
What Is the Difference Between No-Fault vs. Fault States?
How does a no-fault vs. fault system impact a car accident claim?
In no-fault states, regardless of who was responsible for the accident, you go through your own insurance company to receive compensation for medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and other losses.
Texas is not a no-fault state. That means that if the other driver is responsible for the car accident, you must go through their insurance company in order to obtain compensation for your damages.
Michael Francis is the founding partner of the Francis Firm and Flynn & Francis, LLP and has spent more than twenty-five years litigating personal injury and commercial litigation cases throughout the state of Texas and across the country. He is Board Certified in Personal Injury by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
Michael focuses his legal practice on personal injury and business litigation cases, with a particular emphasis on trucking, motor vehicle and complex commercial litigation matters. Michael has more than twenty-five years of experience litigating cases throughout the State of Texas, against many of the largest corporations and insurance companies. He has secured verdicts and settlements for clients in excess of $20,000,000.
Is Texas a No-Fault State?
No, Texas is not a no-fault state. It uses a tort-based insurance system, meaning the driver at fault for the collision will be financially responsible for damages. Every driver in Texas lawfully must carry car insurance. Most drivers use their car insurance policies to pay for victims’ damages rather than paying out of pocket. After a vehicle collision, injured victims will seek financial benefits through the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. A negligent driver’s bodily injury and property damage liability insurance will pay for victims’ losses. Unlike a no-fault state, Texas always allows car accident victims to file lawsuits against others in pursuit of financial compensation. You do not have to meet an injury threshold to bear the right to file a lawsuit against another driver for speeding, drinking and driving, texting while driving, or another act of negligence or recklessness in Texas. You will, however, have to prove the other driver’s fault for your accident before his or her insurance company will pay for your damages. In a no-fault state, you do not need to prove fault. Your own insurer will reimburse your losses without requiring proof of anyone else’s negligence. This is not the case in Texas if you file a third-party insurance claim. In a hybrid fault state, it is usually up to drivers whether they wish to purchase fault or no-fault car insurance policies.
What If You Are Partially At Fault?
There can be degrees of fault for a car accident. Sometimes, one driver is totally at fault for the crash. In other cases, you could be found to share some level of fault for the incident.
Texas is a modified comparative fault state, which means percentages of fault are assigned to vehicle operators based on the circumstances of the crash. If you share fault for an accident, it affects your claim for compensation because your share of fault reduces the amount of compensation to which you are entitled.
For example, if you are assessed to have been 10% at fault for the accident and the other driver is assigned 90% of the fault, your compensation would be reduced by 10%. The other driver’s bodily injury liability insurance limits are $100,000 and a jury awards you $100,000 in damages. You would receive $90,000 because your award would be reduced by your 10% share of the fault.
If you are found to be 51% or more at fault, you are not eligible to recover damages from the other driver under Texas law.
Comparative Fault Rules in Texas
What if you and the other driver are both at fault for the accident? Don’t worry, you can still file a claim and potentially receive compensation. Texas has modified comparative fault rules that allow a claimant to recover damages as long as she was 50% or less at fault for the collision. The courts will determine the percentage of fault by investigating the crash. The courts will then reduce the claimant’s compensation by a percentage that matches the claimant’s amount of fault.
For example, the courts deem the claimant 10% at fault for having a broken tail light, but the defendant 90% at fault for following too closely in a rear-end collision case. The total award amount was $50,000. The claimant would take home $45,000, or the total award minus her 10% of fault (the equivalent of $5,000). Texas’ fault rules are “modified” because they cut off the ability to receive compensation at 50%. Pure comparative fault states let claimants take home compensation at any percentage of fault below 100%.
How Can FVF Help?
If you have suffered injuries in a car accident we will work with you to explore your options and discuss the legal process for negotiating a settlement and filing suit. FVF wants victims of car accidents to be equipped with the knowledge they need to make decisions about what is best for them, regardless of pressure from insurance companies. Contact our car accident lawyers for a free consultation about your case.
Minimum Insurance Requirements in Texas
In at-fault states, drivers are expected to carry a minimum amount of insurance. This is referred to as the requisite minimum coverage amount.
The amount is often broken down into:
- The coverage amount for each injured person
- The coverage amount per accident
- The coverage amount for property damage per accident
Texas law requires all drivers to have a certain amount of insurance. The current minimum liability limits in the state of Texas are listed as 30/60/25 coverage, which means:
- $30,000 in bodily injury insurance (per person)
- $60,000 per accident
- $25,000 in property damage repairs
Auto insurance helps protect both drivers in the event of a crash. It pays for damages experienced by one driver and it prevents the other from having to pay for damages out of pocket. If you drive without the required amounts of insurance in Texas, you may be subject to fines, penalties, and even license revocation.
What happens if damages exceed the at-fault driver’s insurance amount?
If damages exceed the coverage amount of an at-fault driver’s insurance, injured parties have the right to sue the at-fault driver to collect the difference.
Proving Liability in Texas Car Accidents
Since Texas follows a fault-based system for pursuing compensation following a car accident, establishing evidence of negligence is imperative, whether you are attempting to settle with the insurance company directly or filing a lawsuit against the party themselves.
You will have an easier time securing compensation if you are able to establish quality evidence that the other party breached their legal duties, and thus, caused you harm and financial losses. The best way to go about finding ample evidence is to get in contact with a seasoned car accident Houston attorney.
The following types of evidence can be used to support your claim and a quality attorney can help you to secure the following proof:
- Evidence from the scene of the accident
- Eye-witness testimonies
- Police and accident reports
- Medical receipts
- Property damage receipts
Our team collaborates with accident reconstructionists, medical professionals, private investigators, and other legal professionals to help determine the cause of the accident as well as to secure evidence.
Seeking help from an experienced legal team is the best way to prove your case.
Some Insurance Companies Try to Avoid Paying Fairly
It’s very common for insurance agencies to attempt to evade paying car accident survivors fairly for their experiences. Many of these companies use bad faith tactics to prevent you from receiving the compensation that you deserve.
Some examples of these include:
- Denying claims without offering a reason
- Undervaluing a claim on purpose
- Failing to communicate promptly
- Taking a very long time to resolve a claim
- Failing to properly investigate a claim
If your claim is successful, you may be able to recover compensation for the following:
- Medical expense, including immediate expenses and future expenses if you need ongoing treatment
- Lost wages, including immediate loss of income due to your injuries and future wages if your injuries compromise your ability to earn in the future
- Compensation for pain and suffering, anxiety, emotional distress, and trauma caused by the crash
- In the event of a loved one’s death caused by the incident, certain beneficiaries may recover compensation for medical, funeral, and burial expenses, loss of companionship, or loss of income and support
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage in Texas
Texas does not require drivers to buy , but it does require insurance companies to offer this kind of coverage, which can provide additional protection if you’re in an accident with someone who has no car insurance, or whose coverage won’t pay for your medical bills and other losses. In Texas, all uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is subject to a $250 deductible, which you must pay before the insurance company will pick up the remaining bills up to coverage limits.
Is Texas a “no-fault” state?
No, Texas is an at-fault state. What that means is that if you are involved in an accident caused by another party, that individual is typically responsible for compensating you for your injuries and any property damages they caused. This is generally paid out through their insurance.
Victims of car accidents need to file a claim in order to be compensated by the responsible party’s insurer. Unfortunately, dealing with another party’s insurance company can prove to be difficult. Insurance companies often use “bad faith” tactics in order to prevent you from securing the compensation you are owed. These types of actions can include but are not limited to:
- Denying your claim without providing you a reason.
- Purposely undervaluing your claim.
- Failing to communicate promptly.
- Taking an exorbitant amount of time to resolve your claim.
- Failing to properly investigate your claim.
However, if negligence played some role in your car accident, you should be compensated. In an accident, liability insurance should cover the following damages:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Property damage
In Texas, driver liability coverage pertains to coverage for each injured person, coverage per accident, and coverage for property damage related to the accident. There is a required minimum coverage which follows the 30/60/25 rule, which stipulates:
- $30,000 bodily injury liability for each injured person;
- $60,000 bodily injury liability per accident;
- $25,000 for property damage liability per accident.
The 30/60/25 coverage is the minimum required, which means that if the injuries and property damage sustained exceed the amount of coverage the at-fault party has, then you may need to pursue a lawsuit to recover the difference.
As per the Modified Comparative Negligence law in Texas, an individual facing injuries or other damages may not seek compensation from the other party if they are more than 51 percent responsible for the accident which brought them said damages.
A San Antonio Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You Prove Fault in an Accident
Is Texas a no-fault state? No, it’s not — meaning that you will have to prove liability in order to receive compensation for your injuries. You don’t want to have to handle this process alone. An experienced San Antonio car accident lawyer can help you investigate your accident, gather evidence, and build a case in your favor. Contact Brylak Law to learn more about our services.