Two types of states exist in terms of car accident insurance claims: fault and no-fault, with some hybrids. It is important to know which type of state you live in, so you know how to claim compensation for your injuries after a crash. Whether you live in a fault or no-fault state determines if you file a claim with your insurance company or the other driver’s. Texas is a fault, or tort-based, state. Under this traditional system, the person who will pay for damages in a car accident is the party that caused the crash. Texas is not a no-fault state.
Texas Liability Laws
The law requires every driver in Texas to carry minimum amounts of insurance. These amounts are at least $30,000 in bodily injury insurance per person, $60,000 per accident, and $25,000 in property damage repairs. Automobile insurance protects both drivers financially. It protects the at-fault driver from having to pay for repairs out of pocket and protects the not-at-fault driver from having to pay for his or her own damages. Driving without the required amounts of insurance in Texas can lead to fines, penalties, and the loss of the driver’s license.
After a car accident in Texas, all involved drivers must determine fault. This can be simple or difficult depending on the circumstances of the accident. Once you understand who caused the accident, you can file an insurance claim with that driver’s insurance company. You will call the insurer in question and report your accident, damages and injuries. The company may ask for documentation such as medical bills and repair shop estimates. Then, you or your car accident attorney may negotiate a fair settlement amount for your damages.
Texas’ fault laws are the opposite of no-fault laws. In a no-fault car insurance state, injured parties will file damage claims with their own insurance companies, regardless of who caused the crash. It will not be necessary to determine or prove fault to obtain compensation in a no-fault state. The drawback of no-fault insurance, however, is that it limits your ability to bring a lawsuit against the at-fault party. Your car insurance premium may also go up after a no-fault claim, despite you not having caused the car accident.
Proving Fault for a Car Accident in Texas
To obtain compensation for your damages in a fault state such as Texas, you may need to prove that the other driver caused or significantly contributed to your car accident. You may need proof of liability if the at-fault driver’s insurance company tries to refute fault. A thorough investigation of your crash with help from an attorney can help you collect evidence that may help prove fault, liability, and damages.
- Photographs and video footage
- Eyewitness stories
- Cellphone records
- Police reports
- Injury documentation
- Crash reconstruction
- Expert opinions
Hiring a lawyer can help you with the insurance claims process in Texas. You can undergo medical treatments and think about the future – life after financial recovery – while your car accident attorney takes care of difficult legal processes such as proving fault. Your lawyer can also fight to recover a fair amount of compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance provider on your behalf. Otherwise, the provider may try to convince you to settle for less than your case, injuries and damages are truly worth.
Comparative Fault and Car Accident Claims
Not all auto accidents are black and white when it comes to fault. Some involve shared fault between both drivers. If the other driver tries to allege your comparative fault or negligence, this could reduce your award. Texas’ comparative negligence laws state that a driver with partial fault may still receive compensation, but an amount reduced by his or her percentage of fault. Contact a lawyer if the at-fault driver’s insurance company uses a comparative negligence defense. Your lawyer can help you fight for maximum compensation under Texas’ fault-based insurance laws.